I can never decide if the fantasy romance I want to read is incredibly rare or just really difficult to find. What I’m looking for is a secondary world fantasy + steamy adult romance. And because I stumble across some really great ones every once in awhile, I’m inclined to believe that it’s more a problem of finding them than that they just don’t exist at all.
Why are they so hard to find?
One problem is that fantasy romance is marketed in the same category as paranormal romance at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When you plug in fantasy romance into a booksellers search engine, you pull hundreds of pages of PNR. A cursory look at favorite fantasy romance lists on goodreads shows mostly PNR as well. I did find an Epic Fantasy Romance list (One!) that’s specifically non-pnr here. http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/36509.Epic_Fantasy_Romance
But that’s just one list. Fantasy Romance is such a small fish and when you put it in the same tank as a monster like PNR you’re just asking for it to be swallowed.
Since the search engines don't work, that leaves word of mouth which can also be problematic. There are a lot of fantasy blogs (who won’t touch romance), some PNR-friendly blogs (who will occasionally feature SFFR). There are several SFR blogs too. But I’m not aware of any sites that specifically review Fantasy Romance. If you've seen any, please let me know!
So what do I do?
I feel bad for saying this, but I often find the most satisfying fantasy romances by searching through the fantasy section. Fantasy has a long tradition of strong romantic subplots and you can find plenty of satisfying romances within the fantasy genre. It’s actually a lot easier to search for fantasy and then scan the lists for fantasy romance than it is to search specifically for fantasy romance and find it. It's not the best process, I know. I miss out on all the romance categorized books which are actually a lot closer to what I’m really looking for. They’re just such a bitch to find.
Do you read Fantasy Romance? If so, how do you find it?