A couple of days ago I pulled out my old dog-eared dictionary and looked up the word romance. It said a romance was a love story. That's all it said. And it got me thinking.
MM romance (or romance of any kind) isn't one size fits all, and that's a good thing. From sweet and soft that makes us go aahhh to, well, anything but, the genre contains something for everybody. Personally, I like my reading matter to be a little hard edged. I enjoy reading about characters who are flawed and a mass of contradictions where admirable qualities are balanced, or even out weighed, by those that are less so. A main character who is arrogant, self-centred, even a little cruel - in other words a bit of a bastard - is one who gets my pulse racing a touch faster. I know I'm not the only one who likes this stuff, either. There are plenty of authors and readers out there who like a darker hued version of MM.
I have an impressive back catalogue of one book (don't worry, I'm working to rectify that). Imperfect is at the darker end of the spectrum. One of the main characters, Josh, is arrogant and cock-sure as well as a cheat (no spoilers, I promise you). He's also good looking, well off and has a high status job (come on, this is MM romance we're talking about here). In other words, he's an alpha male. He's prompted some strong reader reactions. Many hate him. Others, though, are more balanced in their view and at least understand the dilemma he faces. This is not a romance! It's not romantic! some scream. But it is. There's nothing soft and fuzzy about Imperfect, it deals with some difficult issues, but the central story charts the romantic journey of the two main characters, even if at times it is fraught.
As I said at the top of this post, MM romance is not one size fits all. And it shouldn't be because there's room in the genre for every shade, both the light and the dark. But there are some who are afraid of the dark, and I've seen this reflected in some reviews I've read recently. But that's a topic for another post. In the meantime, I'm off to download something dark and dangerous.
A E Ryecart
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