Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
Wisconsin state Rep. Roger Rivard is trying to defend himself for repeating his father’s advice to him when he was younger, that “some girls rape easy.”
Rivard, a Republican, had made the initial remarks in December to a local newspaper, when discussing a case where a 17-year-old high school student was charged with sexual assault by an underage girl. He said that his father had warned him that even if you think the sex is consensual, ”Some girls rape easy.”
The remarks have resurfaced during Rivard’s reelection campaign, and so he explained himself to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel thusly:
“He told the Journal Sentinel that his father had advised him not to have premarital sex, and he took that seriously.
‘He also told me one thing, “If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,”‘ Rivard said. ‘Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, “Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.” All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, “Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,” he said, “they rape so easy.”
‘What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, “If you’re going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.” So the way he said it was, “Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.”‘
‘So it’s been kind of taken out of context.’”
He later said in a statement: ”Sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood and my comments have the potential to be misunderstood as well. Rape is a horrible act of violence. Sexual assault unfortunately often goes unreported to police. I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously.”
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Jillian Rayfield.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.