As romance readers, we know a secret that many other people don’t—romance novels are more than just fluff. Now, with coronavirus making the future more uncertain than usual, they’re the perfect escape from the real world. After all, we may not always know what’s ahead in our own lives, but we can be sure that in a romance novel, it all works out for the best.
According to Jodi McAlister, a lecturer in writing, literature and culture at Australia’s Deakin University, people have historically turned to romance novels in times of crisis. They brought people so much comfort during World War II that romance publisher Mills & Boon successfully argued that they should keep their paper rations, as the books kept up morale for women working in the factories.
McAlister also noted that romance books were the only genre to see improved sales during the 2008 global financial crisis. “Not even pornography can claim that,” she said.