Does Every Story Need a Romance?

Welcome to Romaticuary! A series of blog posts I’m doing in honor of Valentine’s Day and this is my first post in the series. It’s not quite what you would expect from a blog post centered around Valentine’s Day but here it is anyway. Enjoy!

The Question

Lately, I’ve found myself asking the questions: do I need to have a romance in the book I’m reading and does a romance get me more invested in the characters? A few years ago I read primarily YA and as a result, pretty much every single book had some sort of romance in it. Even now that my reading tastes have changed. I still find that the majority of the books I read do have a romance in it. But are romances something essential to a novel? Do I need a romance in order to feel satisfied with the book? Lately, it seems romances only catch my attention when it is not particularly well done. The romances  I remember are the ones that left me annoyed and unsatisfied. Especially, when that romance is in a story I otherwise loved. So I had to ask myself would I have enjoyed the novel just as much if it hadn’t had the romance in it?

My Thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good romance on occasion. I will, in fact, pick up the occasional romance novel. But to answer the question: does every story need a romance. My answer is no. The fact is that I find books that contain no romance strangely refreshing. Especially when that book is in the fantasy genre. I have been finding lately many of the romances in novels seem to just be an afterthought. That it’s just something the author threw in to pacify readers or to check it off their “what every novel needs list.” And because the romance felt like just an afterthought, I would have enjoyed the book just as well if the romance had been left out altogether. But maybe its just the books that I’ve been reading.

What do you think? Does every story need a romance?

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