April 7, 2009 1 Comment
“What is a Romance Novel”, was the topic, for my informative speech to my classmates, last year. (I loved speech class because; 1. they listened, 2. no interrupting, 3. the questions showed they paid attention.) It was fun to watch their expressions change from smug to surprised, as I showed the many faces of romance categories, through covers. Jaws dropped when I shared the revenue numbers, and publishers income percentage, from these mid list novels.
A romance novel is defined as: A compelling story, includes a dramatic romantic relationship, and has an uplifting ending. For example: The movie, “Die Hard” with Bruce Willis, has a classic romantic plot from the hero’s point of view. His objective is to repair his relationship with his wife. All the other stuff is the conflict that he has to overcome before he and his wife can leave, arm-in-arm, to celebrate.
The relationship game of a romance is different from other sporting competitions because of the focus on emotions. There’s strategy, physical contact, and well matched opponents, but both hero and heroine have to win, in the end, with the uplifting emotional – aw!
My favorite historical romance author, is also a friend. I read few historicals, but always hers. I know it will be a delightful romp through Regency England with all the sights, smells, textures and pageantry – and the occasional reminder – of a chamber pot.
Confessions of A Little Black Gown by Elizabeth Boyle is set in 1814, amid wardrobe trunks and carriages, at a huge country estate, with an army of servants and delectable banquets. Tally is the irrepressible minx, Larken the mysterious stranger, and the game begins for the reader, to see how these two will achieve that wonder of love together. This is how it will end, or the author has broken the trust, with the reader.
What Elizabeth does so well, with her style and voice, is engage the reader so closely into a delicate reveal of who these two are – in this romantic journey – and how they impact each other through the many layers of transformation, separately and together. Once the reader is emotionally invested in Tally and Larken’s flaws and dreams, the story and drama broadens with the clarity these two have, of this fragile thing called life, in their time.
There’s a war, sinister forces close in the shadows, and a conundrum between loyalty to king and country or a former friend. Plagues and death in childbirth are common, which enhances the desire for a passion filled life, as long as you live, because it might be really short.
The awareness to savor the fun of play, is as important a message today, as Tally and Larken learn it in Regency England. As the story ends, some of the players lost, some are dead, one is fleeing for his life, spies, war, death and shadows are still lurking, but Tally and Larken enjoy a romantic tryst in the sunlight. Aw!
For other reviews that discuss the story, check out Amazon.com.