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Feminist romance

(22 Posts)
VestalVirgin Mon 31-Oct-16 20:20:10

I do not read romance novels. At all. I only ever read fanfic in the romance genre. Why? Because there's fucking rape culture in every fucking romance novel I try to read. (Okay, to be honest, I have stopped trying a long time ago). And I don't want to spend money on that. And I get the impression that fanfic authors are a tad bit more enlightened. At least those of the fandoms I like.

The only decent lovestories I found outside of Jane Austen were subplots to books of other genres, fantasy, mostly. (Paranormal Romance, on the other hand, is also unreadable, apparently. My last try didn't go so well.)

While this is not a problem to me, personally, it is very sad. The genre will not change as long as people buy the shitty rape culture books, and no one buys the exceptions.

So, please recommend books that a feminist can read all the way through without throwing them through the room.

HermioneWeasley Mon 31-Oct-16 20:25:55

Placemarking to see suggestions!

Felascloak Mon 31-Oct-16 20:29:43

Margaret Atwood. I like the robber bride and the blind assassin. Not sure how romantic they are though.
Do you like fantasy fiction? In which case Robin Hobb, the Liveship Traders especially has some very feminist points I think. But start with Assassins Apprentice trilogy. The series also has the ultimate in gender neutral characters. I recommend Robin Hobb for everything though because they are my favourite grin
I will probably think of some more overnight.
Would be very interested in some recommendations myself actually so great thread

Felascloak Mon 31-Oct-16 20:31:56

Oh oh. Mary Stewart "Thornyhold". Very romantic, no rape culture, kinda feminists.

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 31-Oct-16 20:35:07

I only read fantast stuff but I like the way Joe Abercrombie portrays sex/relationships. Particularly his YA Half A King series.

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 31-Oct-16 20:35:38


TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 31-Oct-16 20:36:15

Ffs fantasy

Felascloak Mon 31-Oct-16 20:38:48

grin tinkly

Felascloak Mon 31-Oct-16 20:41:43

Actresses by Barbara Ewing.
Right I will shut up now grin

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 31-Oct-16 20:52:27

Fela I really love The Name of the Wind. But I think the female characters and the sex /romance bits are the weakest parts.

Felascloak Mon 31-Oct-16 20:57:23

Aw c'mon. Devi kicks butt grin. The felurian bit is cringey though.
I just wish he'd hurry up with the last one. I've read the others so many times and I want to know how it ends.

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 31-Oct-16 21:06:16

I really dislike Denna, I think she's definitely a wrong'un. And Auri is the ultimate manic pixie dream girl. I don't know, maybe Patrick Rothfuss doesn't know many women; his female characters are a bit off.

Apologies for the derail OP.

42RedBalloons Mon 31-Oct-16 21:42:13

If you're up for a bit of feminist vigilantism alongside the romance, Jane Steele by Lyndsay Fay was quite good.

VestalVirgin Mon 31-Oct-16 22:57:03

Thanks for all the recommendations.

Felurian is very cringey. We could have a whole thread about the cringey parts in Rothfuss' writing.

Actually, the romantic subplots of fantasy novels are often good. I quite like the one in Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs. (As I recall, the "girl" that the hero "gets" isn't even pretty. And that's okay!)

But romance that is marketed as romance ... that's often ... meh.

FlemCandango Mon 31-Oct-16 23:14:27

Yes the fantasy / romance genre is polluted with the "fated mates" storyline. whole books series based on rugged male after rugged male suffering with blue balls until the chosen mate submits to their biologically/ supernaturally arranged marriage. It does piss me off that relationships have to be portrayed in that way, what the feck is wrong with getting to know someone, liking them and being attracted without all the forced element, just seems bizarre. And a blatant excuse to make sex scenes bordering on rape but it's ok, because, fate! hmm

Patricia Briggs has written some interesting series, I also like Margaret Atwood and when I was younger Margaret Mahy, there are others, but it is disappointing that fantasy fiction isn't always more enlightened as it should be an opportunity to build a world with empowering romantic stories not sex slavery.

Felascloak Tue 01-Nov-16 19:13:59

Bumping for more ideas

Felascloak Tue 01-Nov-16 20:23:11

Have you read Robin Hobb vestal? What do you think?
Might see if there's any Fitz fanfic actually grin

VestalVirgin Tue 05-Sep-17 22:12:09

I've not gotten around to reading Robin Hobb. With limited money and shelfspace, I am often dependent on libraries, so cannot get all recommended books.
But will try to get something by her!

I just remembered that I immensely liked A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer.
It is a very fun, light read, and a bit written like one of those bodice-ripper romance novels, BUT the whole thing takes place in a matriarchal world, and it is the male protagonist who is kissed without his consent, etc. And the quality of the writing is vastly superior.
Refreshingly different, I 100% recommend it.

jamaisjedors Tue 24-Oct-17 10:01:55

There a romantic sub plot in Naomi Alderman's book, The Power.

Not sure the rest of it could be classed as romantic though!

IsabellaMorgan Sun 29-Oct-17 11:09:01

Romance and feminist tend not to go hand in hand. I read a book recently that a friend said was definitely not romance but the blurb and the cover said otherwise. But as l studied Art History the subject matter did appeal and so I gave it a go. It's set at the start of the 20th century (women's groups are forming, WW1 is looming) about a young girl with few choices who ends up as the model for first Klimt then Schiele. It tells history through her eyes. She's frustrating at times, but that's due to the absence of real choices. Yet when she gets the chance she takes it and makes the right one . It's a novel that makes use of the familiar themes in romance - waiting for Mr Right, longing for love - but the heroine ultimately rejects them. It's called The Artist's Muse by Kerry Postle. Eerily relevant today (1 of the characters reminds me of Harvey Weinstein) and it starts with one of the most misogynistic quotations I've ever come across - enough to stir the most timid of feminists - about how women are soulless, and only have shape and identity when impressed upon by a man!

nowt Sun 29-Oct-17 11:15:36

I liked You Had Me At Hello, by Mhairi McFarlane. The closest I've got to a romance, I don't do it really.

SolemnlyFarts Sun 29-Oct-17 11:18:48

This is where you need fanfiction! Despite its image problem there is plenty of romance stories written by people like yourself - the only problem is finding it. I read lots of Harry Potter, Supernatural is apparently huge as is Star Trek.

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