So, I’m reading a Nora Roberts romance.  First one I’ve ever read.  BORN IN FIRE.  It’s a perfect book!

By which I mean, perfect for my purposes:  I can read a few pages and then put it down without a twinge to work on my own current project.  It just isn’t at all compelling, and I have concluded that this is because nothing at all is happening in the book.  Other than the romance, I mean.

By which you can conclude, accurately, that I’m not used to romances.

Here’s the plot of BORN IN FIRE:  Girl meets boy, romantic sparks fly, and then Maggie finds herself weaving the cryptic prophecies of an ancient Atlantean seer into her glass sculptures, while Rogan begins to see eerie movements out of the corners of his eyes in the shadows of his art gallery . . . except, no.  This is a straight romance.  No prophecies, no Atlantean seer, no eerie shadows, nothing.  No heraldic creatures, either.  Not even any werewolves!

I think I have been trained by other genres to expect . . . well, more.  I feel like shaking the book and demanding, “But where’s the PLOT?”  In mysteries you get a dead body, in thrillers you race against the clock to Save The Day, and while anything goes in horror/fantasy/SF, you would be safe to expect Maggie and Rogan to be faced with SOME kind of problem besides working out their (yawn) personal relationship.

This is kind of a revelation for me.  I guess, because mysteries and fantasies almost always involve romance subplots, I sort of thought that romances also included REAL plots as well as a romance SUBPLOT.  Who knew the romance could be, like, the whole thing?

I can now say with absolute assurance that, though I might someday write a mystery, I’ll never write a romance.  But, on the other hand . . . how useful to discover a whole WORLD of books out there that I can actually read while working on a book of my own!

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