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© 2018 by John Leslie Butchart

Reworking the Romance Novel

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Is it possible to write an original literary romance without the familiar tropes?

I think it is. Though I didn’t intend to write a romance, my novel Elyana is filled with it, just not in the traditional sense of ROMANCE NOVEL.

Elyana is a beautiful young woman, a magnet for men, but none of her suitors are outright heroes. Each of them — Dodge, the deputy sheriff; Philip, the artsy filmmaker; and Thomas, the handsome botanist — all three have their weaknesses. 

Elyana is the most honest young woman you’ll ever meet. Honest, yet vulnerable. But her love has to be fought for, her affection has to be won by a man who is worthy.

So yes, there is romance, but no mindless passion. Instead, these characters live faulty, very human, mistake-prone lives.

Perhaps Elyana will pull in some fans of romance novels. 

That would be nice, since I read recently that 50% of all novel sales are in the romance category. Rather astounding, wouldn’t you agree. And then we have Hallmark and Lifetime movies with their often cutesy, PG romantic story lines.

So there must be a place for a more literary approach to modern romance, a “bridge novel” that brings romance fans into a more complex world of unique characters, with a totally unpredictable story line to keep them guessing. Will the heroine get her man, and, if she does, will it be lust that makes the relationship work? Or will there be more to the relationship? Some kind of bedrock understanding and connection.

Romantic love is never easy, beyond the first blush, and enduring love requires much more of us than a romp in the hayloft or steamy sex on an exotic beach.

Romance fans, prepare to delve into the complexities of romantic love.

Prepare to fall in love with Elyana.