Romance and Me: Romance Novels Are Truly Modern Fairy Tales?

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on April 6, 2011 @ 2:33 pm 10 comments

Hey Everyone!

Welcome back to another Romance and Me post! 🙂 Before diving in today’s topic I would like to thank you all for sharing with me your story, I loved to read how you discovered the romance genre and who or which book was your introduction to it 🙂

Now today I would like to speak to you about something I believe all of us romantic ones love deep in our hearts. What you ask? Well sure it can be the much anticipated HEA (=happily ever after ending), the emotional love declaration scene, the irresistible and kindhearted hero, but in my opinion it all boils down to one thing:


When you think about it it’s obvious: fairy tales were our introduction to romance and love (didn’t you just love listening to bedtime stories about princesses and knights in shining armour? or watching those wonderful Disney movies?). I have read somewhere (sorry can’t remember where and neither who said it) that romance novels are fairy tales for grown ups, and I had an Aha! (=enlightenment) moment. Because isn’t it completely true? Let’s just see a quick and short comparison list, shall we?

Fairy tales have usually a sympathetic, kind and beautiful heroine most romance novels do to too – CHECK – then there is the dashing, brave, courageous and irresistible hero again check /though in romances he is also described as sexy as hell – CHECK

then prince meets princess imperative in romances too to have your H/H meet – CHECK

love blossoms again in romances it can be varied: love blossoms through sexy flirting, teasing banter, angry shouting matches and of course steamy sex scenes, but it always happens – CHECK conflict tears the lovers apart while it used to be an evil stepmother, jealous pretender, dragon stealing the princess, curses, witches and other difficulties in romance novels these tend to be more ordinary problems: fear of commitment or generally misunderstandings – CHECK the H/H resolve the difficulty, vanquish the villain and seal the victory with a kiss in romance novels the H/H usually resolve their misunderstanding by talking it out or declaring their feelings for each other, and the kiss usually leads to some sweet lovin’ too… ;-p – CHECK and spend their life living happily ever after loving each other but the end remains the same: they live together happily and very much in love with each other! – CHECK

So let me know, did you love fairy tales when you were little?
Which one was your favourite and why?

ps. I just had an idea, let’s play! Nowadays fairy tale retellings are the hype, so why not revisit some old favourites in a more modern or steamier setting? Can you suggest some? You could even give a few sentence recommendation that I might share in the next post 🙂 You can send it to me via e-mail: stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com or via Twitter, you can find me at @Stella_ExLibris  Thank you!

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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  • Blodeuedd April 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I was a strange child, sure I liked those fairytales, I remember listening to the real deal where Cinderella's stepsisters cut of their toes. But what I loved was mythology, tragedies and such. I wasn't a fan of wimpy heroines

  • Bea April 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I liked fairy tales but I loved mythology more. The supernatural element added a lot and there were even some strong females (though there were plenty of whiny, delicate "woe is me" ones too)

    I agree with you that romances are an offshoot though I'd never verbalized it that way before. I love all the modern takes on fairy tales and myths that we are getting these days. They keep the stories fresh and thriving. 🙂

  • Sheree April 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I've always thought of romances as fairy tales (but I only started reading romances in the last couple of years): once upon a time in Regency England (for historicals) or once upon a time in an alternate world not unlike our own (for paranormals) or even once upon a time in Texas/New York City/small town somewhere (for contemps). Okay, that last one was a bit of a stretch which is probably why I read mostly historicals and paranormals.

    I didn't like fairy tales when I was young; mostly they taught me that to be pretty meant all sorts of bad things will happen to you. Who needed that lesson as a child? Being a city kid was paranoia-inducing enough.

  • heidenkind April 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I had The Little Mermaid memorized when I was little. No joke. I could recite the entire thing from start to finish; I'm sure I drove my parents nuts.

    I watched it again recently and spent the whole thing thinking, "Oh, so that's where that idea came from!"

  • LSUReader April 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I’ll leave the creative retelling for the real authors out there! I enjoyed your column, Stella. Growing up, I didn’t read a lot of fairy tales, but I’ve always liked the Disney movies, (even though it’s really freaky how mothers get treated. Think Bambi and Dumbo, or the many movies where there were no mothers. But that’s for another column.)

    I think what I liked most about the Disney heroines was their spunk. Cinderella refused to be dejected about being treated as a servant. Snow White had to leave home, but she happily contributed to a new family. Belle saw the true worth of people, in spite of appearances. Mulan and Nala were fighters. Ariel and Jasmine frankly spoke their minds and took action. These gals had a never-say-die attitude that any of today’s heroines would admire.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) April 7, 2011 at 3:33 am

    @Blodeudd: I loved mythology too! I think I was fairy tale obsessed mostly as a small child, until I was 5-6, then from the time I was about 8 I devoured all books on legends, myths, plays (loved Shakespeare) and opera stories 🙂
    Though in my opinion myths are usually so reminiscent of fairy tales, just a bit more grueseome 😉

    @Bea: somehow the whiny princesses aren't what I remember of the fairy tales of my childhood. Maybe because I already didn't like them at that time, and only made my parents read me stories with an active and strong heroine 🙂

    Modern fairy tale retellings are completely new to me, I'm just reading my very first one 🙂

    @Sheree: Yes, I agree, and once upon a time in Texas sounds like what I say when opening a contemp romance too ;-p lol

    My only problem with fairy tales as a child was that great things always happened to the 3rd brother/sister, he/she was always the kind, most beautiful one while the older siblings were usually cruel and egoist. And since I am the eldest and have 2 little sisters, I found that unjust 😉

    @heidenkind: Yay! A fairy tale soulsister! 😀 I was the same with Cinderella! I watched the Disney movie so many times when I was about 4-5 that my mom got scared when she noticed one time that I was reciting all the lines in time with the movie! So she put away the tape and when I came across it a couple of years ago it was weird watching it, because though about 20 years have gone by, the lines were in my ears and I haven't forgotten them at all! Really amazing 🙂

    (ps. and I always loved the dressfitting scene with the mice :-D)

    @LSUReader: Thank you! 🙂 And yes, I agree with you on both accounts:
    Yes it is astonishing how in most fairy tales there is either a complete lack of family for the H or H (parents died and no siblings) or the parents are portrayed as evil (usually the mother being jealous of her (step)daighter's beauty, etc.) Just like in urban fantasy where the heroine tends to have no family at all, to make the hero/heroine sympathetic and justify the way they are the authors killed off their families.

    And I also loved Disney movies and maybe it was in big part due to the heroines being so independent (Ariel though having a loving family and a good life chose to follow her curiosity and was looking for discovering the world – just like Jasmine) and following what they believed in.

  • Sharon S. April 7, 2011 at 7:57 am

    yes, generally speaking, romance novels are fairy tales for adults. If you look at any story, even as far back as the greek myths or further. They are all about the same things; love, loss, over coming adversity.

    Growing up I was into horror stories. Stephen King all the way. I just recently found romance and I wouldn't even admit to that for a while. I read UF

  • Stella (Ex Libris) April 7, 2011 at 8:48 am

    @ Sharon: WOW! You read horror stories while growing up? That's quite unusual 🙂 Hehe you started with the scary stuff and found your way to the romantic one recently, some friends of mine did the contrary: read romance novels as teenagers and are starting to discover other genres (thriller, fantasy, horror) now 🙂

  • Sheree April 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    @Stella, have you ever read "Howl's Moving Castle" by Diana Wynn Jones? The book starts:
    In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.

    I don't think I'm giving anything away by letting you know that it ends happily for the oldest sister Sophie.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) April 8, 2011 at 6:50 am

    @Sheree: Yay! 🙂 Thank you! Never heard of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones, but if it has (finally!) and oldest sister heroine, then I should definitely check this one out! Thank you for the recommendation! :-)) *hugs*

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