The Strange Addiction of Christian Romance Novels

Recently someone told me that she was writing a Christian romance novel, and I immediately cringed and laughed. Because, you know, Christian romance novels.

But then I had a brief, piercing moment of self-awareness and ended up wincing, because I remembered my own sad addiction to that genre. I’m not proud of it, but it rears its ugly head every once and a while and then I have to indulge in some trashy reading in order to keep the monsters satisfied.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the genre, let me save you some wasted time. After reading about five Christian romance novels, you might realize that every single book follows the same formula:

· Enter super sweet Christian girl. She falls into a difficult situation she’s somewhat unprepared for. (But don’t worry she’s a heroine so she will triumph in the end!)

· Enter bad boy, who she promptly falls in wuv with. (But don’t worry, secretly his heart is golden!)

· Insert Bible verses and heroine’s internal struggles against her desires.

· Encounter between bad boy and heroine.

· More Bible verses.

· Encounter between bad boy and heroine.

· More Bibles verses. (But don’t worry, they’re relevant!)

· Encounter between bad boy and heroine.

· Heroine begins praying for conversion of her bad boy crush. (Because missionary dating is a great idea!)

· Drama happens.

· More Bible verses.

· Bad boy converts to Christianity in the most stereotypical way possible. (Yay!)

· Heroine and bad boy get married — the end. (Because, you know there’s no life after marriage. Or at least, it’s not romantic!)

One wonders why the woman is never the non-Christian party. Doesn’t this just feed the Christian stereotype about women’s role as the center of virtue in the home? For the love of Pete, can someone please, please, for once write a book about a slut and a Christian man…

Oh wait. Someone did. It’s titled Redeeming Love, and it’s still bad. I can’t remember why…I just remember it being a weird reflection of the genre in another format.

There’s nothing I hate more than a book that follows a formula. But for some reason, with Christian romance novels, I get stuck in this weird cycle — I get exasperated, throw down the novel, leave it for several months, then come back to the genre, indulge in an embarrassing amount of binge-reading for two weeks, get exasperated, etc. So why, I ask myself, do I even like Christian romances? And why do they continue to sell, sell, sell?

Perhaps its because even though the character’s reconciliation with God is always the most cringy, stereotypical Protestant come-to-Jesus-moment, I always faintly hope that it’s just that easy. Shouldn’t spirituality be that easy?

Or maybe it’s because this is a cleaned-up version of a fairy tale — and every girl dreams of finding the perfect guy and falling perfectly in love. Right? Ugh.

Or maybe it’s because everyone is at heart a romantic and just wants everything to be okay in the end, so this genre is a relief from more disturbing genres.

But LAWD, I hope my reading Christian romance novels isn’t actually a reflection of my poor taste in books.

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Writing a blog for a class…it’s going to be an adventure! Follow me on Twitter @ggracewolf or send me a note: gwolf18@georgefox.edu.

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