Romantic Fiction

Between the sickly sweet of Nicholas Sparks and the pure raunch of bodice rippers, romance novels have fallen into disrepute. They're considered (in most cases, rightfully so) to be unrealistic, shallow and poorly written. Such representations of the romantic bond between a man and woman lead invariably to expectations that not only will never, but can never be fulfilled. Why fill our minds with such drivel? More to the point, why let our kids fill their minds with such drivel?

Yet men and women fall in love and get married all the time. Or get married and fall in love, as the case may be. Our best literature examines and chronicles the realities of existence—do we make an exception for matters of the heart? Do we cut out all the bad romance novels....and with them, the works of Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott and George MacDonald?

Just because something can be misused doesn't mean we also need to dispense with its good manifestations. Really, anything can be misused, including those things we value most. Hands aren't bad because people kill each other with them. Words aren't bad because people lie. It's the same with literary genres. Because certain "writers" abuse the romance genre doesn't mean we shouldn't read good romance novels, and even (horror of horrors!) enjoy them.

There are few more universal stories than that of a boy and girl in love. As much as we want to keep our children pure (especially in our debauched society), we also want them to see and appreciate the beauty of true romance. We also want them to understand the difficulties love entails, the self-sacrifice and the frustration, the pain as well as the joy. That's why you won't find any books by Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steele here, that celebrate one element of love over others, that honor love as a feeling or impulse, but not as a choice or decision.

For that reason, Jane Austen may be the best romance writer of all time. Nothing terribly exciting happens to any of her characters (just as nothing terribly exciting happens to most of us), there are always obstacles to happiness (no romance is truly easy), and yet each honorable romantic attachment ends where it should—in marriage. You'll find all of Austen's books in this section, and many others like them, books that promote purity and honor and humility over the lust and blind passion that fills the romance novels of today.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

Did you find this review helpful?
Parent Categories
109 Items found Print
Agnes Grey
Penguin Classics
by Anne Bronte
from Penguin Classics
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$12.00
Anne of Green Gables
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Anne of the Island
Anne #3
by L.M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Anne of the Island
Puffin Classics
by L.M. Montgomery
Reissue from Puffin Books
Orphan Stories for
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Anne of Windy Poplars
Anne #4
by L.M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Aunt Jane's Hero
by Elizabeth Prentiss
from Calvary Press
for 7th-10th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$4.00 (2 in stock)
Baron's Gloves
by Louisa May Alcott
from Elm Hill
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Baronet's Song
by George MacDonald
1st THUS from Bethany House
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Beckoning Road
by Caroline Dale Snedeker
from American Home-School Publishing
American Historical Fiction for 7th-12th Grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$15.95
Bess Streeter Aldrich Treasury
by Bess STreeter Aldrich
for 7th-12th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Betsy and the Emperor
by Staton Rabin
from Simon Pulse
for 4th-7th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Betsy Was a Junior / Betsy and Joe
by Maud Hart Lovelace
from William Morrow & Company
for 6th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
Black Rose
by Thomas B. Costain
from Doubleday & Company
for 8th-Adult
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Captain Blood
Penguin Classics
by Rafael Sabatini
from Penguin Classics
Historical Romance for 7th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$16.00
Courtship of Sarah McLean
by Stephen B. Castleberry
First Edition from Castleberry Farms
for 6th-9th grade
in Preparing for Marriage (Location: C02-01E)
$3.85 (1 in stock)
Cranford
by Elizabeth Gaskell
from Collins
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Crisis
from Macmillan
for 10th-12th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$6.50 (1 in stock)
Dear Enemy
Thrushwood Book
by Jean Webster
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Dear Enemy
by Jean Webster
from Yearling
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Dobry
by Monica Shannon
from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
1935 Newbery Medal winner
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal
by Lloyd C. Douglas
from Thomas Allen
for 7th-10th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Dot and the Line
by Norton Juster
from Chronicle Books
for 1st-2nd grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$9.99
Eight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott
from Whitman Publishing Company
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Emily Climbs
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Emily of New Moon
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Emily's Quest
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Emma
Penguin Classics
by Jane Austen
from Penguin Putnam
Romantic Realistic Fiction for 8th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$9.00
Emma
Everyman's Library
by Jane Austen
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Romantic Realistic Fiction for 8th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$18.00 $13.00 (1 in stock)
Emma
by Jane Austen
from Oxford University
Romantic Realistic Fiction for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$7.95 $5.00 (1 in stock)
Emma
by Jane Austen
from Bantam Books
for 8th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Emma
by Jane Austen
from Popular Publishing
Romantic Realistic Fiction for 9th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$4.00 (2 in stock)
Fisherman's Lady
by George MacDonald
from Bethany House
for 8th-12th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Flight into Spring
by Bianca Bradbury
from Bethlehem Books
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 6th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$8.50
Freckles
by Gene Stratton-Porter
from Indiana University Press
Romance for 7th-10th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$20.00
Gabriel and the Hour Book
by Evaleen Stein
from Yesterday's Classics
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
in Yesterday's Classics (Location: A11-02C)
$7.95 $5.00 (1 in stock)
Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for Nursery-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$7.99
Girl of the Limberlost
by Gene Stratton-Porter
from Indiana University Press
Realistic Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$14.95
Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
from Pocket Books
Romance for 9th-12th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$9.99
Good Wives
by Louisa M. Alcott
from Ryerson Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Hadassah (adapted)
by Tommy Tenney, Mark Olsen
from Bethany House
for 8th-12th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Harding's Luck
by Edith Nesbit
from Aegypan
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$12.95
Harvester
by Gene Stratton-Porter
from Indiana University Press
Romance for 7th-10th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$17.95 $12.00 (2 in stock)
High Towers
by Thomas B. Costain
from Doubleday & Company
for 8th-12th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Highlander's Last Song
by George MacDonald
from Bethany House
for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Inheritance
Penguin Classics
by Louisa May Alcott
from Penguin Putnam
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$15.00
Jane Austen Hardcover Collection
Everyman's Library
by Jane Austen
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$120.80
Jane Austen Softcover Collection
Penguin Classics
by Jane Austen
from Penguin Putnam
Romantic Realistic Fiction for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$50.15
Jane Eyre
Puffin Classics
by Charlotte Bronte
from Puffin Books
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 8th-Adult
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$4.99 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Jane Eyre
Everyman's Library
by Charlotte Bronte
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$20.00
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
from Dover Publications
Realistic Romantic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$5.50
123