Coincidence in Romance and Mystery

By Anne K. Kaler

Anne Kaler Head ShotRomances deal with character development while mysteries depend on plot development. The hybrid of the two genres is called romantic suspense which often depends on coincidence to make a satisfying read. However, something vital gets lost when coincidence strays into the realm of the unbelievable ending.

Ann Hood’s recent novel The Book That Matters Most is such a hybrid because it involves so much unlikely coincidence of events. In fact, the book itself combines many tempting devices on its journey to a happy ending. Remember that the romance genre usually ends with the restoration of order to a disordered society and the promise of continued order through a marriage and the possibility of new life. On the other hand, the mystery genre ends with the satisfaction of justice being done to restore order. Mystery often has an innocent pair of young lovers to carry out its eventual hope for order in society.

So where does coincidence come into play? Continue reading “Coincidence in Romance and Mystery”

Mothers and Quilts in Romance Novels

By Anne K. Kaler, PhD

Cinderella is to blame.

The romance genre started with the Cinderella story where the innocence and loneliness of the heroine, as well as her lack of a satisfactory mother or a female support group, hindered her success in life. That meant that the early heroine had to be rescued by the rich nobleman who knew what was best for her.

Still it is not all Cinderella’s fault entirely because she was deprived of a suitable mother-figure to mold her perception of herself.  Mothers, you see, are necessary mentors for the female hero. The irony of this is that Hera, the queen of the Greek Gods, gave her name to the original hero Hercules whose name means “one who does great deeds in the name of Hera.” The word “heroine” is a weakened form of “hero” suggesting something smaller and of less value. Take, for example, the difference between the words “actor” and “actress”, “waiter” and “waitress”, and “poet” and “poetess”. The feminine form of each word suggests lesser ability even though the work accomplished is the same (and for 25% less pay.) Continue reading “Mothers and Quilts in Romance Novels”