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Friday, 23 May 2014

To read Romantic fiction, or not to read Romantic fiction, that is the question -

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous romance,

Or to take arms against a sea of love stories,

And by opposing end them? To read, to sleep-




Sorry, Will.

I'm sure The Bard would not be impressed … but I was cast into the world of Romantic fiction ... Romantic Rural fiction ... Romantic Rural Australian fiction, in fact, when I attended "A Romantic Morning with Cathryn Hein and Rachael Johns" recently at my local library. I'd collected my ticket some weeks before and happily trotted off to morning tea to meet two Australian authors.

I've not read much Romantic fiction of late, but I have read my share.

I remember devouring every volume of the Poldark series by Winston Graham. The sexual tension between Ross Poldark and his Demelza kept me reading and hoping and agonising into many a night. My girl friend and I would alternate in buying the latest issue, then reading and swapping. That's what reading friends do, isn't it?


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I've even ventured into Mills and Boon. How is it possible to live, breathe and read, but not be swallowed by at least one Mills and Boon in a life time? It's a must do for any reader, I think.

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Come on. Fess up. You've read Mills and Boon, haven't you?

As a pubescent teen, I delved heavily in Harold Robbins. How could anyone forget The Carpet Baggers! My mother had NO idea. Thank goodness. Eventually, I did move on to … well … less steamy fiction.

In my past life as an English Head of Department, Year 9 girls would cringe when I would peek over their shoulders to their latest read and say, "Oh, Harold Robbins, I used to read him when I was young too."

And what about Janet Evanovich? Not strictly Romantic fiction, hilariously funny Romantic Comedy perhaps.

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Stephanie's loin-longing-lust for Ranger, her on-again off-again love for Morelli and her blow-up-my-car life had me snickering, but more often laughing out loud, from One for the Money to ... I think I've made it to number 17 in the series so far.

I know there's more to go; I'm having a little break. There's only so much laughing a body can manage.

There are others romantic series that I've consumed book … by book … by book.  

Fifty Shades of Grey … SorryI only managed the first one. Usually, I'm one of those readers who clutches onto a series, or an author, and reads and reads and reads until the spark runs out. Is it just me who does this? But Shades of Grey, well, one was enough.

But, I have not read either of my morning tea authors and, as a newbie in my area, I thought this sounded interesting and intriguing and perhaps a way to meet some locals. Both authors had a new release to promote, of course, but, refreshingly, there was little emphasis on this. We were given an amusing insight into a writer's inspiration and day-to-day work life.



Cathryn and Rachael have a strong friendship and writers' bond formed at a chance meeting at a writing conference. At this little gathering, they bounced off each other and regularly ended each others' sentences. Almost like a happily married couple.

They told of life experiences, like the fire which devastated a local community in the early hours of the morning, and the "this-has-got-to-go-into-a book" response which guiltily jumps out in the middle of the chaos.

They told of the disciplined structure of their day to meet publisher's deadlines.

They told of years of disappointment on the road to being finally published. Even being rejected by Mills and Boon … time and time again. It's not that easy to write Romantic fiction that fits the M&B mould, apparently.

They were funny and captivating and real.


So, if you're seeking something new to read, why not try Romantic Rural Australian fiction?

Why not support Cathryn and Rachael? 

Even though Romantic fiction is not my current genre of choice, I'm going to. They're on my list as I work through the diminishing pile on my bedside table.

I'm not about to take arms against a sea of love stories. Are you?

The "morning tea with" made me think about the most memorable books I've read. I know I'll miss some out … but have you read:

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent?

Shantaram by George David Roberts?

The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks?

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver?

And classics like Catcher in the Rye and Rebecca and Tess of the d'Urbervilles?

And, and, and, and …?

And Salman Rushdie's on my list; I haven't read any of his … yet.

What books are on your most memorable list that I must read?

Oh, and Thomas Harris's Hannibal series. Loved them.

And ...


Thanks for reading my blog post. I'd love to know your opinion, so please leave me a comment below.



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