I think there is a point in most women's lives where they have read trashy romance novels. For me, it was my junior and senior years in high school and my freshmen year of college. I had a friend in high school who actually had to hide such books in her underwear drawer. Her mother would've flipped out. We pretty much read them because of the trashy romance novel sex scenes. Except for the Guardian Angel. He read Harlequin Romances; I'm not sure why.And then.And then I read one too many where the heroine was raped by the "romantic" lead. Admittedly these were books published in the late 70s and early 80s (used bookstores sold them cheap). There was one called The Pirate's Doxy (or something like that). Poor Miss Virgin gets mistaken for a prostitute when she is really a seamstress, gets taken aboard a ship because the captain needs a hooker to get over his ex. He rapes Miss Virgin, believing that she was playacting. He's really sorry, and they fall in love. SAY WHAT?It's amazing how that can just turn your stomach. You can no doubt see why I stopped reading trashy romance novels. The fact that I minored in history also undoubtedly had something to do with it. Who wants to read a trashy romance about Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon (or Anne Boleyn) when you know how the relationship ends? Except, I didn't really stop reading them. I just call it urban fantasy, and the heroine can turn into werewolf (or a demon or whatever), so it has fantastic elements, though sometimes less sex scenes. The women tend to kick butt, however. I also re-read [b:Outlander|10964|Outlander (Outlander, #1)|Diana Gabaldon|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PXCSX5AKL._SL75_.jpg|2489796] this summer.There has to be something about romance books that speak to women (and at least one male). Maybe it is the sex scenes, especially with the younger readers. Maybe it is the prefect guy, the romantic lead, though I doubt this last considering how many rapes seem to occur. I understand the whole "rape fantasy" psyche idea, but that is different than describing a real rape, isn't it? Even in UF you can see this rape fantasy being overplayed and never really examined, for instance, in the later Anita Blake novels, though who is the victim and who is the rapist is sometimes unclear. Maybe these types of rape-romance books are written by men for men. (This would also explain Lifetime, the channel of women in trouble needing rescuing).Maybe women dig romance books because such books are our version of James Bond. This theory would also apply to soap operas. Think about it. Is James Bond really that realistic? Can he really drink and shot straight? Would all those women really want him (and remember he wasn't always played by Connery or Craig)? Would a bad guy really reveal his plan before trying to kill Bond, and walk out without making sure the super-spy is dead? All those women and no STDs or screaming babies? Maybe romance books are a female version of Bond. Here is, the books say, a man who is tamed by the love of a good women. He becomes more understanding and sympathetic as the love story progresses. He's really good in bed. He pleasures her, not the other way around. They are the perfect match, at first sexually and then mentally and emotionally. In romance books, at least in some, the woman does change the man; she does have some power to do this. Even in the Doxy book I cited above, the rapist became "nicer", more "emotional". She changes him by simply being who she is. Sovereignty, the Wife of Bath says, is what women want, maybe romance books offer a picture of that. It's true that there are books that play with the standard cliches of romantic fiction. Outlander, for instance, inverts the standard virgin and experienced roles, as well the ages, which is why I still like it. While The Wolf and the Dove doesn't do this exactly, I still have my copy. I liked this book because there is no character rape. There is a near rape, and how this is not a rape is absolutely wonderfully explained. (It sounds weird, but if you read the book, you'll see). The would be rapist is not the romantic lead, but the villain. There really is romance in the book and not simply sex. I suppose to even call this book a trashy romance novel is doing it a slight injustice. It is a romance novel, a woman's story. And for whatever reason, something women like. If you are thinking of reading a romance book, this is a good one. It doesn’t insult women and is charming told. The female character is also strong emotionally, as is her mother. Woodiwiss deals with the theme of the conquered and the conqueror very well. The book is something of an examination of these roles, and, therefore, not a typical romance.