3 Reasons to Read Romance Novels

His name was Dave Richman. Correction: FBI special agent Dave Richman. He was a Christian and, God love him, British. It was love at first page.

We dated for all seven books in the O’Malley Series then kind of stopped talking.

But I’ve got to say, dear person reading, you never forget your first love.

Romance authors Dee Henderson, Melissa Tagg, Dani Pettrey, and Dina Sleiman offered me their perspectives on how reading romance can benefit your love life. I couldn’t not share.

Dee Henderson, the creator of Dave Richman, says, “Fiction can have an impact in people’s lives by showing what life should be and could be like. People need more role models and fiction can be part of that answer.”

Three reasons to read romance stand-out to author Melissa Tagg:

  1. Deepens understanding of love and relationships.
  2. Characters teach valuable lessons.
  3. Romances are hopeful.

Let’s take deeper look at each of these reasons.

Romance novels deepen understanding of love and relationships.

“A romance book is designed to tell you something about love–its ability to endure, forgive, go the extra mile, care about someone, put someone else first.” says Dee Henderson.

Henderson’s characters may range from late 20s to early 40s, but she claims young readers can benefit and relate from her novels. “Fiction can present an image of who a guy can be and show what it is like to have a guy treat a lady with respect, tenderness, and care.”

That’s what Christian romance provides for readers: a vision of how they want their love story to be and a motivation to start transforming into the woman they want to become.

51EKR206VoL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Characters teach valuable lessons.

Novels provide an education by allowing readers to live vicariously through the characters. “Seeing characters make mistakes teaches us what to avoid. But even more, seeing them learn and grow from their mistakes helps us do the same,” says contemporary romance novelist Melissa Tagg.

Tagg recalls her fictional crush, Dr. Neil MacNeill from Catherine Marshall’s Christy. “Reading that book and loving that character made me appreciate men who appreciate strong women. Unlike other characters in Christy, the doctor sees Christy’s strength and spunk as a good thing. He argues with her and treats her as an equal.”

Now that she writes her own books, Tagg works hard to build that same strength and confidence into her heroines. “They aren’t wishy-washy characters who are just biding their time waiting to fall in love. They have dreams and goals and determination.”

Romances are hopeful.

In entertainment guys are often depicted as dimwits and commitment-phobes. These portrayals emasculate men. While men are driven down, women are uplifted as sophisticated aggressors. Secular romance heroes are portrayed as selfish and lustful. Though Christian romance heroes are fixer-uppers, they treat women with respect and exude humility and sacrifice.

Two-time recipient of the Hero of the Year award, Pettrey spoke of the similarities of her heart-winning heroes. “Cole McKenna and Landon Grainger are chivalrous. They are protectors, sacrificers for others, willing to risk their lives for what is right and for those they love. They are loyal, hardworking and by the end of both stories rely hardily on the Lord and seek His wisdom.”

On the flipside Sleiman focuses on the heroine, saying, “Here is the message that I hope young women take from each of my heroines. Be strong and courageous. Follow the passions and desires God has placed in your heart. Blossom fully into the freedom and identity Christ has supplied for you. And if a handsome knight should happen to come alongside you, headed in the same direction, and you should happen to fall in love…then join together and become partners in your quest. Support each other’s dreams and goals, and together you can conquer the world!”

Guys have come and gone since Dave Richman.

It’s funny. All along I thought Dee Henderson was building up my standards for guys throughout the O’Malley Series. But now that I’m in college, I see she also built up standards for me. Because if I want a hero like Dave, then I have to be a heroine.

So, keep reading. And should you, by chance, come across a well-dressed Brit, thank him for me.

What romance novel has impacted you the most?

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My name is Nichole—Nichole Parks. Not to be confused with Nicholas Sparks. Nicky boy handles the drama. And me? I take on the trauma. Dark humor is my specialty.

9 thoughts on “3 Reasons to Read Romance Novels

  1. “All along I thought Dee Henderson was building up my standards for guys throughout the O’Malley Series. But now that I’m in college, I see she also built up standards for me. Because if I want a hero like Dave, then I have to be a heroine.”

    I love this, Nichole! You know, I’ve heard some people look down on romance books because they say they build in women unrealistic expectations toward men–which is an altogether different topic that I have, I’ll admit, ranted on many a time–but I agree with you. What a good romance book does isn’t create an unrealistic hero no man could ever aspire to…but show female readers what strong, smart women look like. And sometimes it shows us what broken women look like as they heal and grow, which is just as valuable.

    Thanks a bunch for including me in this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely, Melissa. I can’t stand being judged for reading romance. Doesn’t everybody like a good happily ever after? I do. Reading Christian romance is nothing to be ashamed of. I thought a blog post about how women are better off for reading romance might give more of a rational to our ranting. 🙂

      Thank you so much for participating in the interview.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Finally! Something about Christian romance that doesn’t make you feel like you’re a weak person or a horrible sinner. I too have thought about the benefits of reading Christian romance but was always too afraid to voice them for fear I’d be shot down. It’s nice to see someone who agrees.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A desire for romance is nothing to be ashamed of. The belief and enjoyment in a happily ever afters is a wonderful and powerful thing.

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on faithdp24 and commented:
    I appreciate Nicole’s thinking so much. She is right on target! I know Dee Henderson’s writings well; appreciate her style. Her books are among my favorites ever written! Dani Petrey’s books are on my shelf; but thus far I haven’t had the pleasure of reading them. But soon that is going to change. 🙂 Melissa Tagg is a new author to me; but one day hopefully that will also change. God blesses us all through these godly authors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t say which character has impacted me the most through the years though. Maybe Clark in the first Love Comes Softly book I read, hmmmmm…. how many years ago, could have been the first? He was so patient with Marty. Love came… softly.
    Or even Ned in Nancy Drew… He was always coming to the rescue.
    But I can certainly say, I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I love reading about men who are chivalrous, have strong values, know how to treat a woman like a lady, and have a deep faith in God!
    I have read some Dee Henderson and Yes! Her characters are amazing.
    Dani is one of my favorite authors!! Her latest novel with Reef and Kirra praying together just makes my proud of that man!
    I have not had the privilege yet of reading Melissa, but will be looking forward to the opportunity!

    Thank you for this post! I will be sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, chivalrous heroes are definitely a perk. 🙂 While I do heart Dave Richman, authors like Melissa Tagg, Dani Pettrey, and Becky Wade keep me hopping from “favorite” hero to new “favorite” hero nowadays.

      Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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