Cover image for Romance fiction : a guide to the genre
Romance fiction : a guide to the genre
Ramsdell, Kristin, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 435 pages ; 26 cm.
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: What romance do I read next? 1997.

Includes indexes.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3448.L67 R36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Ramsdell's book responds to the tremendous growth in and diversification of romance fiction over the past decade and to the demand for a thorough guide to the literature. After a fascinating overview of the genre as a whole (e.g., definition, history, reasons for appeal), the author discusses each of its major subgenres, listing and describing the titles in each and offering tips for readers' advisory and collection development. A revision of Happily Ever After: A Guide to Reading Interests in Romance Fiction, this book has been entirely updated and rewritten. It includes new sections on Alternative Reality Romance (e.g., time travel, angels, vampires), Ethnic/Multicultural Romance, and Developing the Collection-with a suggested core collection list. Substantial additions have been made to the Research Aids section, and major revisions have been made to the historical and contemporary romance sections. A list of recommended titles for YAs appears in an appendix. A must buy for librarians inv

Author Notes

KRISTIN RAMSDELL is Librarian, California State University, Hayward. A frequent speaker and panelist on the subject of romance fiction, she writes a quarterly romance review column for Library Journal. In 1996 she was named Librarian of the Year by the Romance Writers of America.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

A revision of Happily Ever After: A Guide to Reading Interests in Romance Fiction (Libraries Unlimited, 1987). This updated edition includes the new sections "Alternative Reality Romance" and "Ethnic/Multicultural Romance," as well as a suggested core collection list.

Library Journal Review

The primary focus of this work-Ramsdell's third guide on the subject, albeit the second with this exact title-is to provide an annotated guide to the many subgenres of romance fiction, with an emphasis on recent popular and/or prolific authors. Ramsdell (librarian emerita, California State Univ., East Bay) begins with an introduction to romance fiction, its history, and its appeal. In Part 2, she covers the literature by genre (e.g., contemporary, mysteries, historical, regency, alternative reality, LGBT, inspirational, ethnic/multicultural, and erotic), with very practical guidance on "Advising the Reader" and on building a library's collection in that specific genre. The heart of the book is made up of the brief descriptions of the authors and the annotations of titles in these various subcategories. YA books are not included, with a few exceptions (e.g., Stephenie Meyers of Twilight fame). The third section, "Research Aids," includes periodical sources, awards, publishers, and societies. Throughout, Ramsdell cites books that are currently available in print (most also in e-format), but she does not consider e-only titles. There is a wonderful appendix featuring a sample core collection. VERDICT Essential for public librarians overseeing fiction collections, especially when they are without subscriptions to fiction-advisory sources. The go-to book for guidance. Previous editions should be retained. Highly recommended. [Kristin Ramsdell is LJ's Romance columnist.-Ed.]-J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Ramsdell mentions early and often in this clearly written, up-to-date tome that romance readers are often embarrassed about reading the genre. For this reason, it's important that they not be patronized and that librarians know the literature. The introductory chapters define the genre, offer a brief history, and discuss reader's advisory and collection development. Subsequent chapters discuss subgenres such as romantic mysteries, historical romances, sagas, and gay and lesbian romance, with annotated examples of each. There are also chapters on research aids including periodicals, online sources, organizations, and listservs. An appendix includes a selected bibliography of young adult titles and series.-Marlyn K. Roberts, Codman Square Library, Dorchester, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Ramsdell focuses on romantic literature currently available, updating her first edition, Happily Ever After (1987). The volume is well organized and easy to use. Part 1, an introduction to romance, includes chapters that define and give a brief history of romance fiction, describe the appeal of romance, advise the reader, and help build collections. Part 2 contains information on gay and lesbian, inspirational, and ethnic/multicultural romances, and on mysteries and sagas. Each chapter defines the subgenre, provides its history, and accounts for its appeal. A brief bibliography lists additional readings, as does each chapter. Part 3, appropriately titled "Research Aids," provides information about, e.g., criticism, dissertations and theses, popular press articles, biographical and bibliographical information, useful Internet sites, periodicals and review sources, miscellaneous romance reference sources, authorship aids, societies and organizations, commercial online sources, awards, collections, and publishers. Three appendixes list core collections by subgenre; style, plot pattern, or theme for selected romance writers; and a young adult bibliography. Mussell and Tu^D non take a very different approach, choosing authors who represent the editors' own interests or whom they believed "would have something interesting to say about their own work." This work is not comprehensive but includes a variety of historical and contemporary romance writers. An eight-page introduction summarizes the history of romance literature. A brief biography, a bibliography, and a list of awards are provided for each of the 30 authors included. Entries include essays of one to eight pages written by the authors, dwelling on influences on their work, the contributions they believed they made to the genre, and the relation of their work to feminism and the women's movement. Among the authors included are Jo Beverly, Justine Dare Davis, Kathleen Eagle, Susan Johnson, Mary Jo Putney, and Nora Roberts. The volume ends with a long bibliography citing 20th-century popular romances, which also includes scholarly articles, books, speeches, ERIC documents, dissertations, theses, and magazine and newspaper articles that focus on issues and trends rather than specific authors. Both titles are valuable additions to the field. Ramsdell's book is intended primarily for librarians (especially those not familiar with romance literature), although it may also interest researchers and students of popular culture or women's studies. Mussell and Tu^D non provide interesting insights into the minds of the authors. Both books are reasonably priced and would be welcome in collections of romance literature. L. A. Morrow-Ruetten Governors State University