Summer time and the readin’s easy! For years, Americans have basked in the sun’s glow with “beach reads,” basically an excuse to read romance novels filled with explicit sex scenes in public because the ocean is nearby and waves are kind of sexy (probably from the constant pounding). The Gabbler wanted to dive below the surface of this phenomenon, so we contact Danielle, a 25-year-old romance novel aficionado. We expected to find a nuanced, informed view that dug deeper into the romance genre. What we found instead was a very confused young girl searching for her very own wicked earl.
TG: Hi, Danielle, so nice to meet you. I’m so glad you were able to speak with me today about beach reads. I know your favorite are historical romance novels?
D: Why, yes, milady. I do quite enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the sands with a fine novel.
TG: Ummm, you don’t have to call me that. I mean, I like to think that in my group of friends my role is “The Classy One” but milady might be taking it a bit too far.
D: (Whispering) Oh are you playing the role of the servant who I tell about all of my hidden feelings for the rakish duke?
TG: I’m playing the role of the modern day interviewer who plans to post this interview on her blog? On the internet? In a post-rakish duke society?
D: Boo, that’s no fun. You’re as bad as my ex-boyfriend!
TG: Yeah, exes are the worst. Boys are just dumb. What did this one do?
D: Well he was great at first. He wore period costume and everything. And man could he rip a bodice! Literally, I went through like 10 of those while we were together. He even whispered slightly offensive sweet nothings in my ear in a British accent. He was everything that a wicked Earl posing as a stable boy to hide from his father’s pressure to settle down and stop messing around in brothels who then falls under the spell of a sassy countess who refuses to play by the rules of court life (that’s me) should be. It was magical.
TG: Sounds, um, like he was a really good sport. So what happened?
D: Well one day we were at the Renaissance Fair and a knight’s erstwhile glance lingered too long on my bosom. And then Thomas, my ex, refused to fight him! It was like he didn’t even care that my honor had been completely besmirched by this ruffian who had no respect for the milky white expanse of my heaving chest. It was absurd!
TG: So you wanted him to physically assault a stranger for your honor? Wouldn’t he get arrested?
D: As if anyone would dare arrest the great Earl of Nottingham! As if anyone could lay a hand on his taut, quivering forearms, sculpted by hours of hard labor in the stable. Much less get past his deadly blade.
TG: Thomas knew how to sword fight? That’s pretty impressive.
D: (Whispering) Not really. He worked in IT. I’m pretty sure his forearms were only sculpted because I was his first real girlfriend. If you know what I mean…
D: But, yes, Thomas turned out to be quite the disappointment. But it is the heart that has been broken and turned away from love that is ripest to be plucked through the sheer physical sexiness of a Fabio lookalike, is it not?
TG: Umm, I guess? So back to romance novels. You primarily read historical romance novels, right? What do you like about them so much?
D: The realism. Although they lived in different times, the human heart and strong male body were the same then as they are now.
TG: So you think that the depiction of love in romance novels is pretty accurate?
D: Of course! Love, love is unsheathing your literal sword to fight off highwaymen and rapists and then unsheathing your metaphorical, quivering sword to fight off the loneliness. It’s talking about your enraptured soul and how you are my heart and my sky and it’s a rake breaking down and becoming an honorable man as he explains the deep pain that caused him to look for love in brothels. It’s a woman, beautiful but too sassy for her time who finds a man whose shirt mysteriously goes missing and whose back muscles ripple in the morning sun. Also, it’s not being afraid to use the term “quivering member.”
TG: Have you been able to find this kind of “quivering member” love yet?
D: I thought I had found it with Thomas, but alas! The greatest loves can fall so far so fast!
TG: What about other guys? He can’t be the only one?
D: Well, no. There was Brian, who actually laughed in my face when I told him to unsheathe his sword. Ruffian jerk. And then there was Jake who refused to wear the breeches I provided him. And how could I forget Noah, who had an irrational fear of bodices and refused to get anywhere near me while I was wearing mine?
TG: An irrational fear of bodices? Is that a thing?
D: (Shrug) Apparently his mom’s a big historical romance fan, too and he tried it on when he was little. His brother pulled the stays too tight and he couldn’t get out or breath very well. Historical romance is not for the faint of heart, I’m afraid.
TG: Apparently not. You’ve certainly scared me away. Any final thoughts before we finish up.
D: Only, to my future duke, count, earl, or even prince, I’m waiting for you! A rake you will not forever remain, because one day I will open your heart with my body.
TG: That’s gross. But thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, Danielle. It’s been very illuminating.