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:
- Deepens understanding of love and relationships.
- Characters teach valuable lessons.
- 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.
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?