13 December 2014

Romance, Chick Lit & Saga!

Hey everyone,

So I have something slightly different for you all this week, rather than a book review I’ve decided to do a expose style thing on the differences between Romance, Chick Lit & Sagas. 

Now as some of you may know, I don’t really like Chick Lit despite having read quite a lot of in my teenage years, and I have never read a Saga in my life! So to help me with this post I’ve invited two of my closest friends in the world to help. Like any good romance blogger I convinced these two to try the romance genre and since then they have found their own sub-genres to enjoy. So without further ado I’ll let them introduce themselves.

Hi there! So I’m Rachel, I met Lucy at university and as an avid reader myself, we soon became firm friends. I had never intentionally picked up a romance book before meeting Lucy, but I increasingly do so now although I tend lean towards historical Sagas.

Hey, I’m Catherine, like Rachel I met Lucy at university, and as expected with these two enjoy reading. I rarely pick a Romance for the romance, but instead the sub category, with paranormal and regency being my favourites. I have to say that Lucy has opened my eyes to the romance genre, though I still adore my non-romances.

So now everyone is introduced I think it’s time to get on with the topic in hand. Now when I first started exploring the romance genre I would often accidentally pick up a Chick Lit or a Saga thinking it would be a Romance. I know some people will happily switch between Romance, Chick Lit and Saga without any problem, but for me their has always been distinct differences.

Romance:

  


You know I love romance, it is my go to genre, my obsession in life. Reading Romance is potentially the only hobby I have done consistently since the age of thirteen, which is quite an achievement for someone as flighty and fickle-brained as myself!

For me Romance has to have a relationship at the centre, the plot must revolve around the feelings, emotions and experiences between two people. Be this a male and female, male and male, female and female or if we want to be really out their even more than two people. The romance is central to the plot.

I love all the different sub categories that come with Romance, from regency to paranormal to science-fiction. Although certain areas tend to be ignored, I really can’t get into modern Romances which is kind of odd considering I rather like Chick Lit. But then I want different things from a Chick Lit compared to Romances. For me Chick Lits are that happy feel good pick me up after a bad day. While Romances are something I like to snuggle down with on a night or in a relaxing bubble bath by candle light. They are a way of re-affirming my faith in love, that the happy ever after love popularised by Disney is out there. 

Historical Romance in particular is the sub genre that led me to Saga mainly because I liked the description of the time period. I am a stickler for a happy ending which is pretty much guaranteed in a romance. Maybe, however, its the slightly feminist side of me that doesn’t often enjoy a book totally focused on the romance, as the central female character isn’t always perceived as particularly strong willed.

Rach never read anything from the 1980s, you will probably hate it just because of the female character and the male alpha-asshole heroes that were in vogue during that time period.

This isn’t to say however that all romance books have weak female characters as there are often strong heroine figures. Basically unlike Lucy the romance doesn’t have to be the central part of the book. I seem to enjoy reading about characters that grow into better people, whether this be because of a happy relationship developing for the character is not a requirement for me. 


Chick Lit:

   

Chick Lit, Chick Lit, Chick Lit. Arguably the most mainstream of all the book genres in this list, often being made into films, TV shows and frequently entering the charts. It isn’t a genre I read religiously but instead one I dip in and out due to its light-hearted nature. Romance is often a central focus to the story but in contrast to Romance it is almost always entirely from the perspective of the female lead.

The reason I lean towards Saga is due to the struggles and drama present in the plot line, in contrast Chick Lit, in my opinion, often lacks these struggles and trials. Therefore I find myself losing my connection with the central character as I feel less sympathetic. However I still love a good chick flick film!

When I was a younger I did read a lot of Chick Lit, particularly Jill Mansel and Lisa Jewell, however, I went off it because I found that, although the romance was central to the plot it didn’t always have a HEA ending, instead having a HFN or even just having the central female character being happy in herself. In this way it is perhaps similar to Sagas as the focus is less on the romance but instead on the female character.

This genre tends to be contemporary and easy to read, these are the sort of books I’ll reach for when I want a pick me up. You can imagine yourself in the characters place and daydream of better days and of things you want to do and they always leave a smile on my face.

Saga:

    

So Saga, where do I begin? The first book I read that could be categorised in this genre would be Lizzie Lane’s Wartime Brides, the instant I started reading it I was hooked. Like most Saga books the focus wasn’t solely on one character, as the point of view switches between three different women.

For me this is probably one of main differences between Saga, Romance and Chick Lit as the multiple female characters means, that rather then a romantic plot being the focus it is often about female interactions or female struggle. 

It is true that romance, although often part of the novel doesn’t dominate the plot and often is a back burner with the focus being on how the characters overcome the trials and tribulation of their lives. Social class often plays a big part in the plot development often with women from different social circles coming together or clashing.

I like how you can read a book with romance in it without it being the prevalent theme to the story. I enjoy the angst and discovery that takes place with just a peppering of romance to lift the mood or show the characters readjustment to what they have been through.

The majority of Saga books I have read have been set either between the wars, or during  the First or Second World War at a time when the social structure of Britain was starting to crumble. Books set during the socially structured Victorian and Edwardian eras however are also popular periods for Saga books because it enables plot development.

I think for me the reason I have never tried Saga is because you can’t guarantee a HEA. Although it can have a happy ending for the central female character this doesn’t necessarily mean a happy romantic ending. Instead it could be her gaining independence, a reconciliation with her family or of course it could be her ending up with the guy of her dreams.

So those are our thoughts on Romance, Chick Lit and Saga what are yours?

Happy reading everyone and see you next time!