By: Helena Fairfax
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:
• 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…
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!