Let's Talk Tropes, Rant

Contemporary Romance Chronicles: The Grand Gesture

Unpopular opinion: Grand gestures are bullshit. 

That’s right. You read me. 

I had no idea how much I hated them until I started reading a ton of contemporary romance. Perhaps the historical romance authors I was reading just don’t go for the grand gesture, but that doesn’t sound quite right. Most of the histrom authors I tend to read are prolific, with huge backlists, and backlists usually include some variety. There’s that Sarah MacLean novel in which the duke gets a divorce through an Act of Parliament for his grand gesture. That did make me rage, TBH. Or there was that Shana Galen book where the hero jumped into the Thames with only the clothes on his back to catch a ship to AMERICA even though he had time to plan for a journey. Ruined the book for me. What an idiot. But most grand gestures aren’t like that in histrom. They’re, like, declaring true love in a ballroom or something. Maybe it’s because of the social male-female power dynamics? Maybe because they’re historically removed and I’m less emotionally invested in people acting like idiots? Maybe it’s because these heroes are all emotionally constipated and just expressing feelings is a grand gesture? 

It will remain a mystery. 

Maybe the reason I get so hung up on the grand gesture in contemporary romance is because I expect modern adults to act with some semblance of modern sensibilities and emotional maturity. It’s a big ask, I know. I live in a fantasy world. 

Continue reading “Contemporary Romance Chronicles: The Grand Gesture”
Let's Talk Tropes

What’s the Deal with Christmas Specials?

The Smut Report has long recognized that Christmas romance is almost its own sub-genre. Perhaps a sub-sub-genre? When a number of holiday-centric ARCs started appearing on NetGalley back in August, we decided that we would do a Christmas/holiday promotion between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (In the event that you’re not from the U.S., that’s when Christmas festivities really get into full swing.)

As we were reading all of these Christmas-related books, we noticed a few trends, and we wondered…

What’s the deal with Christmas Specials? Why are they always warm and fuzzy? What is it about Christmas in particular? 

Continue reading “What’s the Deal with Christmas Specials?”