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Month of Love Review: Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell

Submitted by on February 9, 2012 – 7:00 am3 Comments

Author: Sarah Wendell
Book: Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell
Release: October 4, 2011
Genre: Non-Fiction
Reviewer: Noa
Source: Publisher, BEA
Purchase: – Book Depository
Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you with your own happily-ever-after.

Lessons like…

Romance means believing you are worthy of a happy ending

Learning to tell the prince from the frog

Real-life romance is still alive and kicking

No matter how bad it is, at least you haven’t been kidnapped by a Scottish duke (probably)

Hello, my name is Noa and I’m a romance novel reader. I read them on the train, I read them on planes, I read them when I’m happy, I read them when I’m sad, I read them at work… hmm? what? who? ;)

I think by this time everybody on this site knows I love romance novels, I mean, only someone who loves them as much as I do can stress so much about things I don’t like about the genre. I also realize that calling oneself a reader of romance books AKA “bodice rippers”, “trashy books” and “those Fabio covered monstrosities” will have people readjusting their opinion of me and probably deducting at least 50 points from my estimated IQ but I don’t really mind. They’ve never had the luscious experience of reading a Judith Mcnaught or Loretta Chase or Laura Lee Guhrke or georgette Heyer or *place favorite romance author here*. Plus, when people underestimate you – you have the power. Bonbon eating pink princess with low brow reading preferences and minuscule levels of intelligence? That’s me!

So imagine how disappointed I was when Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitch Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) went and destroyed my cover, eviscerated the condescending prejudices of readers of “real literature” everywhere and exposed us romance readers as the educated intelligent and sometimes sophisticated women we really are. *Shakes fist at Sarah* Why? Why?

And as if that wasn’t enough she goes on to prove that romance readers may actually have healthier relationships, have better skills at dealing with conflict and just might have a more…interesting sex life. Does this woman want to kill me?

Ok, now seriously, I love this book. Reading it made me smile and laugh and most of all, it made me want to re-read every single romance I’ve ever read. Through a collection of interviews with authors, real-life reader stories and her own witty, insightful and humorous commentary, Sarah puts together a book of rules and lessons on life, love, relationships and of course: Romance.

Here you will find out why seeing yourself in a romance novel is not a bad thing, you will get a chance to discover what romance book you are (I’m a Historical, Regency with a touch of Erotica), you’ll get a nifty guide to romance heroes (mullets are NOT optional) and you will realize that while there are plenty of things that can be listed in the “wrong with this genre” column there are also so many things that are just so right.

In Everything I know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels Sarah not only vindicates romance book lovers, she celebrates them – this isn’t about us being naive romantics who believe that knight in shining armor might just ride over the hill and take us with him to that magical kingdom beyond the sunset, it’s about how we are capable of understanding that real love may not come with 50,000 acres and a title yet it does have to come with a man who has some of those heroic qualities – humor, the ability to put us first and the knowledge that we are worthy of love.

In its way, this book is an ode (sonnet? limerick?) to the romance reader community – and I think it does us all proud.

Sarah says that just about every romance reader she has met can remember what the first romance they ever read was. Well, I certainly can. It was Kingdom of Dreams by Judith Mcnaught, my mom gave it to me and it has had a special place on my keeper shelf ever since.

Romance novels may just be delicious escapism, but as Sarah confirms – we sure can learn a lot from them.

Noa first fell in love with books when she discovered 100 acre wood and its inhabitants. To this day, the last pages of “The House at Pooh Corner” make her cry. In a good way. From“Calvin and Hobbes” to “The Iliad and the Odyssey” and lets not forget “Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes”. Biographies, mysteries, history books and romances all have a place on her bookshelves. Who needs furniture? This 29 year old singleton’s dream is to invent the zero-calorie chocolate. But until that day arrives, she tries to create sweet confections with whatever chocolate she can find. An MA in conflict studies (need a mediator?) means Noa loves a good debate, especially when she wins. If she were in charge, books would be free for everyone.
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  • That tittle is a mouthful! I downloaded this from Amazon’s kindle deals just the other day and I can’t wait to read it. I wonder what romance book I am? Hmm… this has interesting possibilities!

    My very first ever was Pride and Prejudice which led me to Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I. It’s been all down hill from there. Lol

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  • Doll Noa says:

    Lol! I actually should have written Pride and Prejudice and well, all the Jane Austen’s and even Georgette Heyers – but I always remember Kingdom of Dreams as the first book I read that people around me considered “trashy” … My teacher saw the book and went to talk to my mom who then told the teacher: I gave it to her, any questions?

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  • Mona Leigh says:

    I have so many more years of reading behind me than either of you that I can’t begin to remember the first romance I read. ;-)

    But I agree with Sarah that romance readers are more romantically inclined than non-romance readers. I think because of the authors’ vivid imaginations, we are given to realize that anything is possible in life or in the boudoir. If husbands only knew, they’d all have their wives reading romances.

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