Thursday, February 16, 2023

What about romance?

Posted by: Ruth A Casie

 Is true romance--the wooing, courtship, passion, seduction, 
the little gestures of affection, etc.--dead?

I hope not! My world, my real one, is my family. Each of my children (all grown) are either married or in relationships. They and their partners treat one another respectfully and tenderly. They treat each other to surprises, treats, and acts of kindness.

The outside world around me may be different, but I believe that it’s family values and actions that teach children what is expected and how to behave. For example…

After a day of work and commuting into Manhattan, I cooked dinner. My husband, who commuted with me, did the dishes. Even now that we are both retired… I cook and he does the dishes.

Our son went to Northeaster University in Boston. One Saturday afternoon I got a call from the school. It was a student calling parents of student asking for donations. The young lady on the other end read her script. Out of nowhere she asked about my son. She was given a list of parents to call and when she noticed our name just had to call. I wasn’t sure whether to be pleased or cautious. She said…

“I just had to tell you. He is dating my roommate. We had him over for dinner this week and he wouldn’t let us do the dishes.” Okay. It could be a great ‘pick-up’ line, but here it is, fifteen years later and he still does the dishes after dinner, now for his wife.

To me (and my daughter-in-law), it’s the small acts that demonstrate connection and, in this case, understanding that it’s a partnership.

What do people get wrong about romance?

At a recent gathering I heard words from men who I believed were progressive, educated, understanding. ‘You write soft porn. Where do you get your material?’ One asked if I was happily married. They thought they were being cheeky. They thought they were being brash. They thought they were being funny. When in fact, they weren’t thinking at all. And rather than correct them, teach them, embarrass them, I said nothing. I smiled and ate a tasteless sandwich.

And the position isn’t unique to men. Women, get it wrong. I’m a member of a women’s organization that prides itself with its progressive mindset. They have several book clubs for members. One woman suggested they read my book and was told no one reads those types of books.

In a repressed environment, prior to the 18th century where women had no rights, women wrote stories from their heart, with dreams of independence and freedom. To quote Maya Rodale, “We are writing stories about women who triumph in a world that doesn’t want women to triumph.” It breaks away from the accepted norm of the era which is threatening to those in control and can be linked to the rise in the call for women’s rights.

In 2019 I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers conference. The keynote speaker was Maya Rodale, the author of Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels. Explained. She very succinctly said “we are writing stories about women who triumph in a world that doesn’t want women to triumph.”

In the 18th century in England women authors wrote the first romance novels. They were love stories by women, about women that ended with a happily ever after. They wrote these stories in a world that told women that their lives didn’t matter. Their role was daughter, wife or mother. The professions available to them were servant or wife. They could not own property, have custody of their children or vote.

There were those women who were exceptions, that’s what women do. But the contributions and their lives were minimized in the history books.

You can listen to more of Ms. Rodale’s address here.

Romance stories take you on a journey as a woman of an era of your choice, in a story where she finds fulfilment, and a deserving happily ever after.

If you were suddenly transported back to Victorian England as a member of the aristocracy, would you be thrilled or appalled? Would you be willing to stay there permanently?

I hope a bit of both. Thrilled for the experience and appalled by the narrow-mindedness. Would I stay permanently – only if I found people who would support a forward-thinking woman. Yea, I think I would wind up in a lot of trouble.

The Lady and the Barrister 
Return to the Ladies of Sommer by the Sea Series - Book 1

She swore she’d help him find his soul mate.
Will she realize he has met his match?

Lady Anna Ravencroft shines brightly as a much-admired organizer and hostess. In her mind it is the one thing at which she succeeds. Inwardly she is shy, retiring… a wallflower. With two failed seasons that ended in disaster she has accepted marriage might not be in her future.

Lord Fraser Castleton, a London barrister is shocked when he inherits a title and estate from his mother’s great aunt and becomes the 8th Duke of Willbury. He returns to Sommer-by-the-Sea to take up permanent residence. He crosses paths with his longtime friend, Lady Anna. He confides that he is the target of every mother with an unmarried daughter. She commiserates with him. Every eligible gentleman sees the Ravencroft purse rather than her. Together they decide to find a mate for each other. Anna presents him with a list of several eligible women. Castleton is receptive, but not enthusiastic. He gives her the same reaction with the subsequent two lists. Will she realize he has already found his match?

Reginald Younge who doesn’t always play by the rules wants to be the next Member of Parliament for his borough. His political backer will support him if Younge can finance the campaign himself. He suggests Younge find a wealthy wife to support his political plans. Marrying a Ravencroft would all but guarantee not only his backer’s continued support but provide the steady stream of money needed to claim his place amongst the gentry. He calls on Lady Anna for assistance with a campaign event and has an ulterior motive.

Two men vie for Lady Anna. Who will she choose? The smooth politician or the down-to-earth barrister turned duke?

Currently on pre-order -

Releases April 11, 2023

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