Friday, October 11, 2013

Romance Is Just For Dreamers

Congratulations to "Leona", the winner in Helena's giveaway.  Thank you to all who participated!

Romance is just for dreamers

‘Romance is just for dreamers.’ That’s the world-weary statement made by Kurt, the hero of my novel The Antique Love.

When I first created Kurt, I listened to what he had to say to me (yes, really!  I spend a lot of time talking to my characters) and what Kurt said about romance made me ask myself:  Just what is romance, then?  You might say it’s a bit late in the day for a romance author to be asking herself this – but it’s an interesting question, and when I delved deeper I found the answer isn’t straightforward.

Here’s the definition given by the online Oxford Dictionary:

Romance is…
•  a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love;
•  love, especially when sentimental or idealised;
•  a love affair, especially one that is not very serious or long-lasting;
•  a book or film dealing with love in a sentimental or idealised way;
•  a genre of fiction dealing with love in a sentimental or idealised way

Sentimental and idealised!  It’s no wonder Kurt thinks romance is for dreamers.  But is that really the true definition of romance?

Well, I don’t think so, and here’s where me and the Oxford Dictionary have to have words.  (Okay, the dictionary knows more words than I do but I’m a writer and I’m going to give it my best shot.)

Sure, romance can be idealised.  There’s the classic “holiday romance”, for example, where you think that guy you met on the beach is definitely The One.  You spend a few passionate nights under the tropical skies, drinking cocktails and whispering into his stubble how much you adore him.  Then he comes to visit you in your flat at home and spends all day playing video games, letting you buy all the food and clean up after him.  That’s when you know that what you had was short-lived and idealised.  The “romance” has gone.

My definition of romance is more than that.  To me, romance is an expression of genuine love.  It’s not just about buying flowers and chocolate (although that’s nice, too).  Romance is when you’re lying in bed with a terrible head cold, and your partner gives up his lunch break to drive all the way home from work and back, just to check up on how you’re feeling.  Romance is when your partner goes to Paris on business, and brings you back a bottle of tomato ketchup – because it’s a special brand, and he knows it’s the only brand you like, and they don’t sell it in your home town any more.  Romance is when you’re really dying to buy that pair of shoes but you know your partner wanted to go to a football match, so you use the money to buy him tickets instead.

To me, romance isn’t about idealised love, it’s about making a gesture that shows you care deeply for someone else.  It’s about making sacrifices and going out of your way to make another person happy.  Although my hero Kurt protests that he’s not romantic, at the end of the novel he makes a magnificent gesture that proves he is a romantic according to my definition – and despite what he says to the contrary!

Here is the blurb to The Antique Love:  One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas. Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book. Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump. His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers. Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be. Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions. Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into. The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…

Amazon US / Amazon UK  / Barnes and Noble / Kobo  / MuseItUp Publishing and all major etailers


What’s your definition of romance? Do you agree with the Oxford Dictionary definition?  And what’s the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to you?  

If you have any thoughts or any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you.  One lucky commenter will win an ebook of The Antique Love - and the chance to discover just how romantic my hero really is!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 11th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Enjoyable post Helena. I like the mystery..the point where two souls inexplicably merge. Best luck!

    1. Hi Rose, you're right, the mystery is a wonderful thing. And sometimes the most unlikely souls - people you would never imagine falling in love - do just that. Thanks for your lovely comment

  2. I love your definition of romance, Helena. And I am truly blessed to be married to a romantic!

    1. Thanks for your great comment, Heather. It's lovely your husband is romantic. I think a lot of men are romantic, at heart - although many of them pretend not to be! :) Thanks for coming by!

  3. Hey, Helena. I think your dead on about what's romantic. It's those thoughtful little gestures--DH brings me coffee every morning. In the early years of our marriage, he'd show up with flowers for absolutely no reason. It was the coolest thing. He's supported me in everything I've ever wanted to do. Never saying: In don't think you can/should do that. I've always made him Spiced Tea, because that's what he prefers in the mornings. I don't drink it, too sweet! :)
    I'll be sharing this, Helena. And both your books are excellent examples of romance!

  4. Hi Marsha, thanks so much for coming by. Your husband sounds wonderful. His loving support of you is a perfect example of romance. I really enjoyed your comment - you gave a great picture of two people looking out for one another. Thanks for your lovely example!

  5. Great post - It is the little things. That's what it's all about. I'm one of the fortunate ones!
    Heather G - Natasha's Dream

    1. Hi Heather, you're right - it's the little, daily gestures of love that are often the most romantic. I'm glad you're lucky in your romantic partner! Thanks for coming by!

  6. Romance, to me its shown in the everyday things that my husband shows me a touch when im near him, he accepts me for me and loves me as i am, he encourages me to do anything i set my mind to, and he is there to catch me if i fall. i know that no matter what he will be there for me as i will be for him.

    1. Hi Angela, that's a beautiful comment. You've summed up real love: accepting a person for who they are, and offering them support when they need it. It sounds like you have a loving marriage. Best wishes to you, and thanks for your lovely comment

  7. I enjoyed your post, Helena. I'm with you rather than the dictionary, and also with Rose. It's all about the little things, they show love in many facets. There is a great mystery involved in two souls merging and 'knowing' this is the one for me, like seeing an old friend after a long absence and recognizing the light in their eyes... my husband always brings me feathers, crystals, sticks and stones. He knows me! I buy him old-fashioned sweets and make him his favorite meals.

    1. Hi Gemma, your little gifts to each other sound so romantic. I was touched. Such thoughtful gestures - that's romance! Thanks for your comment - I loved it!

  8. Helena, your definition of romance is right on. My late husband was a big romantic at heart. My oldest granddaughter, age 32, said, "Gram, you and Gramps were my inspiration. You were always holding hands or stealing a quick kiss." I was truly blessed in the 44 yrs we had together.

    I won a newspaper contest for the Best Valentine's Day, about how thoughtful he was. I still have the article. It is the little things that add up.


    1. Hi Leona, what an absolutely wonderful story. Your story - and a lot of the comments- show that men are often far more romantic than we give them credit for. And how amazing to win the Best Velentine's Day contest! I loved your comment. You are truly blessed to have so many loving memories. Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Hi Helena,
    Count me in with those who don't share the dictionary definitions of romance. And with the lucky girls who's been married to a romantic for 39 years now! To me, true romance (in real life or in books) is when you know that when that first flush wears off the love and commitment will go on. Whatever is important to your mate; whatever makes your partner happy--that is what you want to do, what you want to spend your life doing. And when you both feel that way--you've hit the romance jackpot!

    Your book sounds wonderful! Love the premise and the setting. Can't wait to pick it up!

  10. Hi Lizbeth, you're so right! True romance endures, long after the first excitement of a love affair wears off. It's heartwarming to know people have found such an enduring love in their lives. Best wishes to you and your husband of many years, and thanks so much for coming by and sharing your story!

  11. Doing something nice for someone else; think everyone has a different definition

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  12. My hubby's most romantic "regular" gesture is knowing my favorite authors and getting almost giddy... yes, giddy... when he finds a newly released print book to bring home to me before I can buy it myself.

    The most romantic ever ... we live in the country and were sitting on our deck one starry night. The nearby campground had a band start playing that was loud enough we could hear the music clearly. When the third song started he held out his hand and asked me to dance. For the next several minutes we danced under the stars. It was truly romantic.

    Romance, to me, is when your partner cares enough to make the little things important, when they strive to put a smile on your face and pull the stars from the sky and put them in your heart.

    Julie O
    jo1063jo at gmail dot com


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