Wednesday, February 14, 2018

I have been #LoveShamed and I wear my scarlet "L" heart proudly

Not slut shamed but love shamed. Let me explain how one is shamed by love. Not surprisingly I read reviews on books. Often I read them to see insight by others in a story I enjoyed.  As of late I've noticed a - distasteful to me -  habit of bloggers and reviewers using the word 'insta-love' like it's a swear word. It has suddenly taken on a life of negativity in our romance book world. Yes, romance books.  


As I am reading these reviews, I am struck with a song now playing in my head because I happen to like - no wait - LOVE what these individuals refer to as 'insta-love' trope. 

After reading not one, but many reviews using this term in the negative for again - romance books- I feel on the defense. I am now feeling like the roommate taking the walk of shame after a one-night stand hookup. 

One thing you do need to know about me is this: I am a walking, talking insta-love story. I dated my husband for six days, he proposed on the seventh, we married six months later and have been so blissfully for 30 years.  So you understand my confusion as to why this is a 'bad' thing. I turned to the Brain Trust to discuss. 

Happily I can report they are equally baffled. We discussed rationally about what could be defined as insta-love versus not. Like all good books, there is not a prescribed cookie cutter for this to fit. We've all read romance where the main characters timeline moves three days well into 50% of the book. And equally, we've read books that the timeline moves three weeks or months at 15% of the book. It can't be based on percentage read. So is it when they declare monogamy.  When the first 'I like you' or *gasp* 'I love you'?  Because these poor reviewers have got to hating it when all of us declare our love of Wesley as he states VERY early on...

If there is a queen of insta-love for me, I will have to say it is the talented and lovely Katy Regnery. I have read everything she has written. If anyone falls into the type-cast, I guess her Blueberry Lane novels would. But then again, there is history for the character's relationships for some books, a connection of attraction in others and even a frenmies theme in Kiss Me Kate. However, just because I don't enjoy emotional retching reading - I am a two on the angst preference meter - doesn't mean that all the stories I read are the now hated insta-love. Example: Never Let You Go. Before I rest my argument, let me discuss the two books that got my feathers ruffled. 

Bentley by Melanie Moreland

Alright, in full disclaimer, huge fan and have been for many moons before I became head cheerleader.  I loved this story to pieces. Biggest appeal was the natural connection and progression of the main characters.  And yet, a few reviewers scoffed at the story for being insta-love. I'm not sure what book they read, but obviously not the same one as I or For The Love of Fictional Worlds did. Because this blogger explains it best, I'll let them explain what I think these other reviewers missed:
"Do you have any idea what it is like to read about a good adult relationship is supposed to be like? I get it, no readers actually want something fun and exciting to get away from their reality – BUT I HAVE A RELATIONSHIP LIKE BENTLEY & EMMY; and I know that no matter what, two people who have enough sense to understand that drama doesn’t make relationship fun, it’s how the two people interact with each other and THAT’s EXACTLY HOW THE AUTHOR SHOWED THE RELATIONSHIP IN THIS BOOK!"
Yeah, that's not insta-love folks.

The Baby Maker by Lili Valente

Once again, a huge FAN.  More silent for her than others. But she is definitely a go-to when I plan on being entertained.  And again reviews with the dirty word of insta-love.

That's me  >>  SMH

Avoiding being spoilery, first off, they have an enemy stance that has been developed prior to the story's onset. The author does a stellar job of introducing the history without bogging down the pace. So yes, they are instantly in love. And more to the point, if you are attempting to plant the seeds of human kind, well, you are going to form an attachment if you spend every evening together.  Sorry, these are also mature characters so they aren't going to fall into the hate-sex or manipulation of a younger, less experienced with life characters.  It's not a bad thing to develop a friendship and fall easily into a committed type relationship. 

So what do I ask of my fellow bloggers and reviewers? 

Use your words. Stop using 'insta-love' like a swear word and defining as something to be left out of romance if declarations are made before 91%. If you don't like the story, explain why the relationship lacked appeal or characters didn't connect with you. We expect our romance writers to give us vivid descriptions. Do them a favor: write a constructive review.  And please for goodness sake, we are reading romance. Whether they fall in love page 2 or page 222, let's celebrate the joy of it. 



Melanie Moreland said...

Awesome post my friend! Well stated. Thank you for saying it!

Hannah said...

This makes me want to stand up and applaud!

Beth Cranford said...

I couldn't have said this more perfectly.

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