I read for an escape. I love fantasy, and even when I read non-paranormal romance, I am looking for a certain degree of magic. Some sense of being somewhere else or doing extraordinary things.Regency romance, no matter how poorly written, is somewhere else, sometime else. Stories (set past, present, or future) with a bit of suspense or a paranormal element, allow me to follow the characters on an adventure.I don’t like to pick on genres or even sub-genres, but far too often, straight-up contemporary romance doesn’t give me anything. It’s not deep, it’s not magical, it’s not exciting, and it doesn’t even give me a glimpse into a different time or place.
Except, every once in a while, it does.
I’ve reviewed one of Catherine Anderson’s contemporaries, which takes me out west to Oregon (with wonderful details that bring the place to life, even though I’ve never been there), and into the lives of cowboys (again, with wonderful details, especially about caring for horses). She gives me wounded people who(almost magically), find healing through love. I bring her up first because more than anything else, great characters bring stories to life and overcome any genre bias.
Jennifer Cruisie, on the other hand, gets me with humor. She goes for outlandish situations, even taking ordinary situations and making them outrageous. I don’t get lost in her stories the same way I do with Anderson’s, but when I’m in the mood for a laugh, she fits the bill.
The point is, if I’m giving a positive review of a straight-up contemporary romance, then it’s well above average. I’m soft on paranormal, allowing the magic to obscure my view of any real flaws, but I don’t have that problem with contemporaries.