This is a topic I´m not all too happy to write about because… Well, there are topics you just don´t discuss. Sadly though, I feel the need to get this off my chest.
Back in the day my first boss gave me some valuable piece of advice:
Never talk about religion, politics or money with a customer. Later in life I added the “raising kids” topic to that list because that´s also something people can easily argue over. A simple fact. I´ve lived by the “Never Discuss….” rule ever since.
After a happy shopping spree on Amazon I spotted a beautiful book cover with a great book title. When I saw the author´s name my excitement grew. Mia Sheridan.
One of my favorite romance authors published a new book! `More Than Words` was published June 12th! WOOP!
I didn´t hesitate with reading a few Amazon reviews. This one was what sealed the deal for me.
Wow. First off, I think the review was well constructed and perfectly written. The reviewer, despite her non religious beliefs, rated the book with 4.5 stars, whereas I….
… I wouldn´t have been so generous.
Some may see the review as a spoiler. I see the review as helpful.
I´m an atheist. A happy one, at that. I, too, respect and accept other people´s beliefs and would never judge them publicly for what they think exists or not just as I would never want people to judge me openly for not believing in God.
The reviewer is right: Some people think love and religion go hand in hand. I believe religion should stay far away from love and from romance novels. Unless you´re an author writing epic stories about badass vampires and demons who reveal just how twisted and corrupted the religious world is ( Read Hedoschism by Lindsey Clarke on Wattpad )… you shouldn´t really include religion in a romantic story.
Of course, there are many subjects readers avoid, such as: adultery, erotica in general, rape, M/M, F/F, M/M/F, fetish, etc. But none are as controversial as religion.
I´m fully aware that authors will never reach everyone´s hearts with their writing, no matter what they write about or what topic they include. Opinions vary. Why shouldn´t authors be allowed to include religion in their romance novels, right?
But for me, the happy atheist who wants to read a new Mia Sheridan romance novel, it´s disappointing to find out there´s religion included. I won´t buy the book.
Yes. One single review had the ability to influence my book purchase. GOOD! That´s what reviews are for.
I´m actually grateful for the reviewer´s insight because if I had bought the book without knowing about the “issue” that bothered the reviewer I would have been a very unhappy book blogger.
Because I don´t believe in God. Because religion doesn´t make sense to me. Never has and never will.
Now, you´re probably asking what happens when I accidentally stumble upon a romance novel that has religion included.
Due to my lack of interest on the subject I immediately DNF a romance novel that has religious characters in it.
And I also bet you´re asking why I accept religion in paranormal / fantasy novels and not with romance novels?
The answer is simple: Fantasy or paranormal stories are basically modern-day fairy tales drawn out to extreme levels. There´s creativity in world building, character forming and storytelling. For me, God and the Bible fit perfectly in that niche. It´s make – believe. It´s not real.
Whereas romance novels are set in realistic worlds and characters deal with realistic issues. God and the Bible do not fit in a world I can relate with.
I struggle to believe God and contemporary romance novels could ever go hand in hand.
I´ve probably offended many people with my opinion on the subject, even though I´ve tried my best not to discriminate religion or people who believe in God.
But just as religious people have the right to openly love and praise their God ( and those who do praise God do it rather loudly ), I am also allowed to do the unthinkable and state my opinion on how I think religion is nothing more than a waste of time. Seeing religion in romance novels does not sit well with me.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you bothered by religion in romance novels? Do you even care if religion is included in any story? Are you delighted to see authors including religion in romance novels?
Do not hesitate to leave a comment. I´m ( thankfully ) one of those people who agree to disagree.
NOTE FOR OVERLY RELIGIOUS MEMBERS OF SOCIETY: I´m happy. Please do not tag me in any religious posts on social media and do not pray for me. If you feel the need to block / unfollow / unfriend me due to our religious differences then I will not stop you.