After blogging last week about caregiver heroines, I realized that whether they work for me or not really boils down to the message coming through the book.

“Do the right thing and happiness will result” is one I can get behind. In real life, sometimes bad things happen to good people but it’s still an idea to live by. But sometimes it comes through “Neglect yourself and someone will rescue you”–a bit dodgier as a principle.

But really, when I’m deep in a good book, I’m not thinking about messages at all, I’m just annoyed if I’m interrupted and then I wonder why those demanding children want dinner again, after all I fed them yesterday… 🙂

When I’m writing my own stories, I try to ignore any messages that come through because I don’t want them to seem forced. While I wouldn’t go so far as to agree with Mark Twain that “persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished”, I hope no one notices any at least until she’s finished the book.

Maybe messages come out wrong when the reader is too obviously smacked over the head with them. But romance as a genre gets dissed for unrealistic messages. Naysayers interpret “Love has healing powers” as “If you love him enough, an abusive man will change”. I don’t know which (if any) specific books cause them to make that leap.

Do you think about messages when you read/write? If messages get twisted, do you think it’s through clumsy writing or perhaps readers’ prejudices?

Which messages in romance novels resonate most for you? Least?


About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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