For those of you who do not read romance novels, allow me a moment to digress. Scotland is the setting of choice among many romance readers. Something about a big, brawny man stomping around the heather-filled hills, kilt swaying in the breeze, broadsword in hand, makes them swoon (More germane, it prompts them to plonk down their hard earned cash to by armfuls of Scottish set novels, propelling the romance genre to the number one spot in Mass Market Sales).
I am not immune to a buff man in a skirt. I've seen Gerard Butler, Liam Neeson, and a younger Sean Connery in their clan garb and can certainly understand the appeal, but give me a well-dressed man who is as skilled with his foil as he is with his tongue (After all, the French were known for their cunning linguistics and their cunnilingus) and I swoon. Frankly, I would rather watch my man crossing épées with a wicked foe than skipping through a field of pretty purple flowers.
But that's just me.
My friend's comment inspired in me a desire to ponder the meaning of romance. I pulled out my copy of Love Letters: An Anthology of Passion by Michelle Lovric and passed an enjoyable hour reading the heart-stirring love letters of Mary Wollstonecraft, Robert Browning, Edith Wharton, and Horatio Nelson.
After reading the last letter in the book, written by Dylan Thomas to his wife wherein he promises to "come back alive and as deep in love with you as a cormorant dives, as an anemone grows, as Neptune breathes, as the sea is deep," I decided to apply a more critical approach to investigating the matter.
I turned to old Merriam Webster, which defines
romance as a love affair; an ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
How can one not find 18th century France a romantic time period, with the Chevalier de Saint-Georges living in the middle of it?
I have been reminded that romance is subjective. For that reason, I would never imply that a particular time period is not romantic. I am not attempting to convert the kilt lovers, but I do hope to throw a well-aimed dart, to make my mark on the bull's-eye of romance settings.
All I can hope is that after reading a few of my upcoming blog entries, my gentle readers will have a better understanding of my passion for 18th Century France. Perhaps they will even feel a new passion kindled within them...