Any Great Romances by Male Authors?

I was blog hopping last night and Cindy and Keishon both blogged about falling into a reading slump. Cindy has a great idea though to overcome that, and I’m already taking that challenge up.I confessed to looking to April with trepidation ‘cos that’s the month we’re supposed to read a book that’s been languishing in my TBR pile for more than 6 months. I’ve pretty much stuck to my reading plan for the TBR Challenge , so of course will try to see this through.

I’ve enjoyed the challenge tremendously thus far, and March is my favourites month as Historical romances are my cup of tea. Now, I’m not so certain about this next book for April, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

April's TBR Challenge: The Princess Bride

I mean, in my reading experience, I’ve yet to come across astoundingly good romances, those that grab you by the heart from the first verse, written by male writers. At the risk of sounding discriminatory, can male authors write great romances?

Don’t get me wrong. Of course there are great male authors such as Michael Crichton, Robin Cook (I love the med thrillers), James Herriott (his vet encounters are highly entertaining) and John Grisham to name a few. But male romance writer? They’re a rare breed.

I mean, I could name so many female romance writers whom I’ll safely read just by reputation knowing that I’ll like at least eight out of ten of their books, but I regret that I can’t say the same for male authors. I don’t think the books by Harold Robbins and Sidney Sheldon can be called romances, but even so I can’t recall the storyline or any of the characters they created.

A couple of posts back while I was responding to Cindy’s questions, I realised most of my faves (books, heroes, heroines, setting and scene) were all found in books written by — you’ve guessed it, female writers!

So, is it any wonder then that I’m looking at Will Goldman’s book with distrust? This is after all the abridged or ‘good parts’ version as Mr Goldman likes to put it, of S. Morgenstern ‘classic tale of true love and high adventure’.

I recall reading that in my teens, skipping heavily the history bits (he made them sooo monotonous, I swear!) and some of the boring narrative, but valiantly stuck on for the storyline. That experience sealed my impression of male authors and romance/ love novel writing.

In later years, I tried reading some books by male authors again … with disastrous results. Harold, Sidney et al wrote good thrillers, and romance is usually the subplot. But something else is missing. Jilly Cooper writes good thrilling, raunchy novels too, and IMO, better than these guys.

Another case in point is Sir Walter Scott. I tried reading Ivanhoe, but didn’t get really far until I stumbled upon a graphic novel version of it which changed my mind. Needless to say, I was bored to tears with Waverly.

So then, with my very limited male author reading experience, here are my questions:
1. What is it that separates female and male romance writers?

2. What is it about female writers that you like? And what about male writers you like?

3. Between a new male and a new female romance writer, which would you most likely try out? Why?

4. Can you recommend a great romance written by a male writer?

Hang on, I just realised that I do have a male author (actually, he’s more a playwright) that I’ve liked consistently. William Shakespeare. He who made me moon over these verses in Romeo and Juliet, and memorised them ‘cos they are so beautiful:

‘But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.’
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

But then, he is one in a million, whereas I could pick out a number of female writers whom I could remember reading because of the unforgettable characters they’ve created. I mean, who could forget Mr Darcy and Lizzie Bennet (Pride & Prejudice), Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester (Jane Eyre), Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley (Emma), Heathcliff and Catherine (Wuthering Heights) , not to mention David de Abyndon and Christiana Fitzwaryn (By Arrangement), Nick Gentry and Lottie (Worth Any Price), Penelope and Colin Bridgerton (Romancing Mr Bridgerton) and of course Derek Craven and Sara Fielding (DOY).

I will add Mystere and Rafe Belloch (Moonlight Becomes Her) to the list as well, but this is by no means the end of my list. I think the list could easily take up a few posts, but you take my meaning, don’t you?

I’ll be looking for some rec.


6 thoughts on “Any Great Romances by Male Authors?

  1. milkncookies says:

    How about Nicholas Sparks? He writes really good love stories esp The Notebook and A Walk To Remember. You’ll definitely cry in the end.

  2. Ummm… “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden? I don’t know if you’d consider that a romance or not. I haven’t seen the movie yet and the book is sitting on my TBR pile.

  3. ag says:

    Hey Cindy,

    I’ve got the video cos I missed the movie. Intend to watch it after reading the book.

    Ooh, I like Much Ado too, and Taming of the Shrew is another classic.

    My grouse with male authors is that they tend to focus on the bigger concepts of romance. Sir Walter Scott’s was very much focused on chivalry, so much as I love fairy tales, it could get a bit tedious.

    You’re right about the mechanics vs emotions difference. I also find male authors more narrative than descriptive. You follow the storyline, and the action is fine, but I have to read a little more to visualise the scene. It’s too much work for my brain!

    After all, the whole idea of reading fiction is to escape. I want the author to describe the scene, I’m interested in the fashion, speech, style and manners of the period.

  4. Have you seen the move Princess Bride? Cult classic.

    I haven’t read the book but I did skip it years ago and I think you will find it a fast read. Not thick on romance as much as just funny stuff.

    I have to admit to not reading romances written by men – unless they have a pen name.

    For me, Much Ado About Nothing is my favorite Shakespeare romance and even then, I want to beat some people up šŸ˜‰

    I’ll have to think more on it but I’m pretty sure I’m all dry when it comes to this topic.

    The difference between male and female writers when it comes to romance. I find the male writer more into the machanics of sex and not so much into the emotion. They are too busy doing other things in the book. I’m thinking Jim Butcher here – only read the first book because I didn’t find any pull with the characters.


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