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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

April 20, 2024

R is for Romance #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter R

For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the genre/category and an example or two. I would love to know your thoughts on the genre/category and if you have any reading suggestions. Be sure to check out all of my A to Z posts.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

Romance novels are probably the most popular books and account for the largest segment of global book sales. It is pretty obvious what the romance genre is, but there is sometimes confusion between romance and women's fiction. Since I will discuss women's fiction for W, I'll stick to the characteristics of romance in this post.

Romance novels focus on the romantic relationship between two people (though there are polyamorous romance novels). The romance genre runs the gamut from sweet (no sex) to steamy (detailed sex). A steamy romance novel is not to be confused with erotica where there is not as much focus on the relationship. 

You can find elements of romance in other genres like romantic suspense and romantic fantasy just as romance novels can incorporate elements of other genres like historical romance and paranormal romance. 

Romance novels often follow the typical story arc of the two characters meet (this could be in a funny, or "meet-cute", way or it could be a more serious or everyday means), some obstacle stands in the way of them being together (could be internal, uncertain of how the other feels or feeling unworthy, or external, interfering parents, former significant other, job prospects, etc.), and finally the obstacle is overcome and they live happily ever after. If the primary thrust of the plot isn't the romantic relationship then it isn't a romance story.   

Romance novels can be traced back to ancient Greece. Walter Scott's novels are often considered historical romance. The popularity of the romance genre got a bump in the early 20th century when people (particularly women) were more literate, had more free time, and books became more readily available. The genre really started gathering steam in the 1970s with the publication of mass market romances. By the 1980s the genre was firmly established as a popular genre and authors began to push limits and blur the lines of the genre.

I don't read a lot of romance novels but I do like romantic comedies and sweet romances during Christmas and occasionally as a beach read (though I prefer women's fiction as my summer reading). I'm recommending one of my favorite Christmas romance novels.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

book cover of Christmas romance novel The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love―but Ivy didn't bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it's a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit―beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish it's from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy's quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Buy The Santa Suit at Amazon

Read my review (it includes the reviews of 3 other holiday romances so if this one doesn't catch your eye, my other favorite A Magical New York Christmas by Anita Hughes is on the list).

Do you read romance novels? What are some of your favorite romances? 

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. I don't think I have a single favorite romance, they're jut too predictable for me. If I read them it's usually by accident.

  2. Just wanted to mention that after I said I don't read too many romances, after reading your review, I had to come back and let you know that the book you reviewed has been niggling at my brain. Finding in the pocket of a Santa suit a note from a little girl wanting to find her dad, well, I know it's going to be a tearjerker. And I need to read it. So thank you. For now it's on my TBR list.

  3. I enjoy romantasy, where there's a romance subplot to the main story. I've added "The Santa Suit" to my TBR.

    Ronel visiting for R: My Languishing TBR: R