Much has been said of Diana Gabaldon’s controversial twist on the traditional romance novel formula. For those of you who have never had the inclination to read a romance novel, you’ll be curious to know that the formula goes something like this:
- The hero is usually in his thirties. Why? A man in his thirties is more mature and financially stable.
- The heroine, preferably a virginal one, is always younger than the hero. She ballparks around 18-23, and is most inexperienced in the ways of love…
- Which allows the hero (that rakish rascal), to teach her how to make love…
- While she, in turn, teaches him how to feel… so much so that he will never look at another woman again.
- Meanwhile, there are other complications with the plot…
- An inconvenient fiancée.
- A case of mistaken identity.
- An abduction.
- A diabolical villain.
- A misunderstanding that could have been cleared up if someone just said something.
When all these complications are cleared up, a marriage takes place.
Then along came D. Gabaldon who turned the genre upside down with:
- A heroine who is older and more experienced than the virginal hero.
- A romance that takes place after the marriage, thereby proving that there is life after marriage!
- An abduction, true, but this time it’s the hero who gets abducted and brutally raped… er…made love to by the villain.
- A villain who is such a badass that you can almost forgive his little “indiscretion.”
- And the most interesting dialogue this side of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.