Wine!mance

By Morgan Lott

To help you make a selection from the Whoa!mance Library we have provided tasting notes for each text. Since we don’t want you to die of thirst as you are reading or - even worse - choose water to drink while reading, we have provided recommendations for tipples that will TIP the scale on your reading experience from okay to OKAY!

A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Mineral. Rain. Semi-sweet.
Pairs well with: A rose. Obviously.

Rose used to be cool. Now it’s just like...I mean you see the picture.

Rose used to be cool. Now it’s just like...I mean you see the picture.

Beast by Judith Ivory
Dark. Vaguely perfume-y.  Angry.
Pairs well with: Cab Sav licked off a very expensive floor.

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
Smoke on the tip of the nose. Dark chocolate. Tart at the end.
Pairs well with: Fino Sherry (said out loud in an English accent).

Your aunt posted this on your mom’s wall. She is just the most. I thought it would be appropriate in this blog post.

Your aunt posted this on your mom’s wall. She is just the most. I thought it would be appropriate in this blog post.

Priest by Sierra Simone
Clove. Floral. Dank on the back of the palette.
Pairs well with: Manischewitz.

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Pine Needle. Vanilla. Metallic...oh my God is that blood?!?!
Pairs well with: A Very ‘90s Zinfandel.

 
 

Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
What? Who? Huh? How now?
Pairs well with: Lambrussco.

Pictured above: Kathleen Woodiwiss and her son. She clearly deserved a    ‘brusc-y   .

Pictured above: Kathleen Woodiwiss and her son. She clearly deserved a ‘brusc-y.

Improper Arrangements by Juliana Ross
Sunshine. Clover. Olive oil.
Pairs well with: A Gamay.

No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes
Crisp. Clean. Dry.
Pairs well with: Chardonnay. The bottle you and your step-mom reach for at Thanksgiving.

She isn’t your real mom, and she never will be.

She isn’t your real mom, and she never will be.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Warm. Sessionable. Bit of spice on the end.
Pairs well with: A widely-loved red blend for less than $20 because you aren’t pretentious.

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden
Combustible gas. “Town”. Sparkling.
Pairs well with: Prosecco.

Gaywyck by Vincent Varga
Fog. Ocean. Antiques.
Pairs well with: Pinot Noir.

 
 

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins
Dry, in a good way. Spice. Leather.
Pairs well with: A Rioja.

A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsay
Sticky. Challenging. Tropical.
Pairs well with: A store-bought Pina Colada mix, served a la cereal.

Perhaps you will begin the day on a Sun-Blazed Beach with your Colada in a glass. But by the time you reach a star-lit cove, cereal bowl fer sure.

Perhaps you will begin the day on a Sun-Blazed Beach with your Colada in a glass. But by the time you reach a star-lit cove, cereal bowl fer sure.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
Straight-forward. Bold. Goes down easy.
Pairs well with: Malbec

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase
Fresh water. Incense. Ink. Guilelessness.
Pairs well with: Petite Sirah

Paradise by Judith McNaught
Capitalism. Fois gras, mispronounced. Sidewalk snow.
Pairs well with: A very ‘80s White Zin.

 
 

Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland
Gun powder. Patriotism. Theatre?!
Pairs well with: Whatever is in your dad’s cooler.

Wild Orchid by Karen Robards
Suburban. Pink. Hot.
Pairs well with: A moscato on ice.

Go ahead. Drink your wine like nobody is watching. ;)

Go ahead. Drink your wine like nobody is watching. ;)

All Revved Up by Sylvia Day
Motor oil. Fryer oil. Lip gloss.
Pairs well with: A shot of tequila to try and impress somebody. Then a glass of whatever the house white is when your by yourself later.

The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Imitation vanilla. Dusty doily. Boredom.
Pairs well with: Gruner Veltliner. Shrug.

Suddenly Who by Lisa Kleypas
Raspberries.
Pairs well with: Vagisil.

Making it Last by Ruthie Knox
Snickers. Coca-cola. Desperation.
Pairs well with: Whats on sale at Target.

 
 
Whoa!mance PodcastComment
Why Romance?

By Isabeau Dasho

Romance is serious business. Romance novels make just over 34% of the market share in traditional trade publishing and an increasingly high share of internet sales. One third of traditional paperbacks are romance novels, and the market penetration of these books is immense. Not many books are sold in supermarkets and gas stations. Romance is unique in that way. There’s an argument to be made here that Genre Romances keep the literary lights on in publishing. That without the Romance imprints traditional publishing housing wouldn’t risk money on the next groundbreaking novel.

And while this line of capitalist thinking has its merits and should be reason enough to appreciate Romance and its place in the publishing pantheon—it doesn’t.

Romance, not unlike girl teen culture, is constantly ridiculed and belittled by society at large. There’s an idea that Romance as a genre sets female expectation too high (whatever that means) and is purely escapist. What I find fascinating about the charge of “Escapism” is that so many things fall into that category without the derogatory baggage attached to Romance. Jean Le Carre is nothing if not escapist, ditto Tolkien, Hemmingway, and Franzen. What is fiction if not escape from what we are living or inhabiting? Regardless of whether or not the walls constructed in the novel look like a suburban hellscape or an English country home the point remains to transport us, the reader, somewhere else.  

Escape is the name of the game.

The fact that Romance is unapologetic, that Romance call itself what it is, should be a marker of its power not its inherent failure to be sophisticated or whatever the charge may be.

Romance deserves to be taken on its merits, researched and deconstructed according to its own rules and formulas just like any other literary work or genre. The fact that 80% of its readers are female, should only make this work more important. So few segments of our society are truly made by women for women that the phenomena of the Romance Genre deserves an even more critical lens, not less.

Romance readers are voracious, vocal,  and loyal. At a time when the American Library Association put out a statistic saying that only 33% of Americans will pick up a novel after high school, we should be interrogating what it is about Romance that keeps readers, and grows itself. If we care about literature we should care about Romance. If we care about stories of growth and change we should care about Romance. If we care about eroticism and sensuality in an increasing titillated world we should care about Romance. If we care about deconstructing toxic masculinity and laying bear the limitations of patriarchal hierarchies we should care about Romance.

My interest in Romance -- the good, the bad, and the hilarious -- is that paying attention to a genre so irrevocably tied to women’s pleasure feels radical. Investigating the structure of these novels and what makes them tick, what makes these formulaic stories new and interesting in all their variation, feels like a move toward recuperation. Recovering what it is that makes escapist literature pleasurable and inviting.

Especially as it pertains to women.

I want to talk about Romance because I believe that talking about women’s pleasure is transgressive and powerful. I want to talk about Romance because making space for heroes who have visible feelings is taking a small sledge hammer to the culture of toxic masculinity. I want to talk about Romance because it’s fun to say cock and clit. I want to talk about Romance because its important and deserves to be talked about.

Isabeau DashoComment