Classifying a book by its genre can be both useful and detrimental. If you have a preference for a certain type of book, then this cataloguing easily helps you find it. But it also means that certain types of books are stereotyped. Most of us have read a wonderful romance book, and then recommended it to friends. It only takes them a moment to look at the label on the book stating “Romance” for them to dismiss it.
The same thing happens within a genre. Within the romance genre itself, there are numerous sub-classifications. When I was fairly new to romance, my guilty pleasures were Cinderella-type books with the theme of unjust oppression/typecasting to triumph rewards—very similar to the movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts. Typically, the heroine’s beauty attracted a hero, who then solved her problems. But the longer I have read romance, the more I am drawn to women who solve their own problems, leaving me with a defined preference for Women’s Fiction.
Now, before some of you think “oh, Women’s Fiction,” like your friends think “oh, Romance,” let me tell you why reading this genre can be so empowering.
Romance books validate the quote by Walker Percy —-“We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their faces away,” while women’s fiction books expand on Albert Camus’s quote: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer.”
Women’s Fiction books are the Rocky Balboa books of romance. Typically within the first couple of chapters, the main character has a life changing event. Life knocks her down. And she is sinking fast. She has to learn life’s important lessons, or in the words of Dory, “Just keep swimming.”