Tea and Biscuits Discussions: Religion and Romance Novels

November 13, 2017 Loverofromance Tea and Biscuits Discussions 11 Comments

Lately, I have been thinking about this and so I decided to address this issue on why there is a lack of religion or spiritual aspects in romances. Now I grew up in a religious home and I consider myself to be a spiritual person. I also respect that there are many that don’t and that is cool. 🙂 But being spiritual gives me a certain purpose in life and I know many romance readers and bloggers and reviewers that feel that way as well. I guess I was also a bit spoiled when I was growing up. I am LDS, so our church has a huge literature database and bookstores (which is pretty neat) and they do quite a bit of romance fiction as well. I think what I loved about those books is that the characters were so real I felt like they could be my next door neighbors. Now some of these authors write great books and some even write just historical romance fiction that I know many fellow romance readers would really enjoy (so let me know if you are interested).

However, I do feel like seeing any spiritual or religion aspects of a regular romance novel is very rare. I don’t know about any of you, but it lacks some depth for me to read that all of the time. Especially since living in Texas, everyone goes to church, everyone has some religious background of some sort (at least everyone I talked to) and I would love to see this a bit more in romance novels. I mean occasionally we see it, but it’s very generalized, we don’t see how its a part of their every day lives like it religion can be for many people. But on the other side of the spectrum, I also understand why we don’t see it hardly. Most romance novels are neutral when it comes to any religious or spiritual aspects and so it can lack a certain realism for me when reading them. Since in real life I feel like many people are driven or motivated by religion and it does play a strong part in most people lives today and in the history of our world as well. I will say I saw more religious themes in romances in more older style romances such as Mary Reed McCall (of a sort). She wrote medieval style era books, and she has a whole series based on the Templar Knights and there is a strong belief system that she introduces with the characters lives and their motivations. So I was really impressed with how she handled those.  But even those “faith” is pretty strong for many cultures and belief systems, you wonder why you don’t see it in more romance fiction books? Especially when many of them are realistic and we can relate to them so easily. I do believe its all about marketing and that they downplay it in books because of interest purposes. It does make sense, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing more realistic lifestyles of faith and religion in romances. Now I am talking about something different from inspirational romance. Most inspirational romances or Christian romances I don’t always enjoy because I feel like the romance or the love story tends to take a back seat. I do think adding some faith like aspects to characters adds more depth and dimension that our romances sometimes tend to lack. But I also understand why it is the way it is….but I would like to see more of it. For example, Sarah at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, wrote a romance novel that features a Jewish theme and how COOL is that?!! Just something to think about and would love to know your thoughts!!!

 

 

What books have you enjoyed that implemented any faith or religious aspects of the characters in their every day lives?

Do you wish to see this more in romance novels?

  • Ann Lorz

    This post gave me food for thought.

  • I’m not one to look for insertion of religion in romance novels, to be honest. But I get that it’s something some readers do look for. Especially if you’re a person of faith.

  • Interesting topic. I read way back when (lols) that some readers get offended when they see religion pop up in books. I think sometimes some authors can get a bit “preachy” on the subject. I don’t know you, you know? I mean I don’t mind it but I do feel like folks can go a bit overboard at times.

  • I’ve never really noticed it but you’re right, there isn’t much religion mixed into novels *tilts head*

  • I have come across a couple of books that it was a little over board, which made it a little harder for me to enjoy but I guess I really do tend to stay away from them if I know that have a lot of religion in them. Don’t intentionally, but I guess I do.

  • I agree-often when a book contains religion its because it plays a major theme in the story. But, it would be nice to have characters who are religious or spiritual without it being a theme. Just like a part of their life, you know?! Great discussion!

  • I don’t like a lot of religion in the romances I read. Or books in general, honest. I’m not spiritual or religious, so that is definitely a part of it. However, if it is a big part of who a reader is, I totally understand wanting to see that in books. Just like I don’t like a lot of it because it’s not who I man. I don’t think I would say no to a book that had more of a focus on religion, especially if it’s more about who the characters are than trying to convert the reader. If that makes sense.

    I have been curious about Sarah Wendell novella, though. I haven’t read it, but I definitely need to. Also, I’m so glad you are enjoying her podcast. It’s great, right?

  • I think its neat to come across books with a religious character in a romance when they’re just living their faith and one or two or whatever of a cast of character. I think Carolyn Brown does it a little- Catherine Anderson for sure- Sharon Sala a bit.

    I’ve seen a few m/ms with fantastic religious characters, too, like Vanessa North’s Blueberry Boys and ZA Maxfield’s The Pharaoh’s Concubine.

    I remember an isolated military or historical romance or two that do.

    But you’re right, its not very common. I think fear of people not buying the books or, if its not their religion, fear of getting it wrong keep an author from being inclusive with religious characters.

  • I like seeing bits in my books.I don’t mean preachy bits like some can do (with any topic) but when it’s natural for the characters I love seeing it. Hope Ramsay and Carolyn Brown are two that come to mind and both include characters going to church, talking to God (sometimes ranting at first), etc. Brown’s often talk about going to church on Sunday and whatnot. I’ve found it more common in western historicals where they’re dusty little towns, cowboys and such.

  • I actually avoid highly religious books and I honestly haven’t read a lot of romance that has highly religious themes. I am not that religious. I think the only ones I have read is that has a smidgen of religious themes are stories featuring the Knights Templar…

  • Michele H

    I do like reading books with some religious or spiritual themes. I’ve learned so much about different religions that way. I think as long as it fits the story and the character’s lives then it’s fine. It sounds weird but I just read Christina Lauren’s YA novel Autoboyography about a gay teen who moves to a LDS town in Utah and it was quite eye-opening and really interesting to learn about that community.