Sarah Wendell, also popularly known on the internet as Smart Bitch Sarah, is the co-founder of the romance blogsite Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, which is one of several websites I discovered a few years ago, which helped me rediscover my love of romance as a genre. Readers of my book blog will know that I read a LOT of it, and Sarah Wendell, in this book, as well as in her previous novel, Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, explains why it's such a hugely popular genre with women (and men) around the world.
Through interviews with a number of romance novelists, as well as countless readers, in the US and elsewhere, Wendell looks at why romance is such a widely selling genre, and why readers keep coming back to romance, even when it's one of the most maligned genres out there. She points out that most of the readers are not frustrated housewives or single, crazy cat-ladies, and that romance novels, rather than giving you a skewered view of real life romance and relationships, might actually better prepare you better for marriage and partnership than one might think. Women who read romance don't want to be abducted by a kilt-wearing Duke with a mullet, glistening chest and a kilt, but they enjoy reading about him, and when reading romance novels, they get an idea of what works for them in relationships, and what absolutely doesn't. Seeing the heroine keep making stupid relationship mistakes and wanting to reach into the book to slap her, might make one less inclined to make the same mistake.
EIKAL is a very well researched and wittily written book which should be read by anyone who enjoys the romance genre, and even more importantly, by those who are dismissive of it, and its readers, so they can discover that romance is not any trashier than most fantasy, sci-fi, suspense or crime novels out there.