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We ❤️ romance novels

 Man in black embraces woman in long red dress, both with their faces concealed.
Getty Images

Romance novels have long had a reputation for being flimsy, sexist, trashy bodice-rippers. But there’s lots more to the genre than meets the eye. This hour, we look at what makes romance novels work – and why so many of us are devouring them.


  • Olivia Waite: The New York Times Book Review’s romance fiction columnist who writes queer and historical romance, fantasy, and critical essays on the genre’s history and future
  • Jason Rogers: Olympic medalist, journalist covering masculinity, and the founder of a now-defunct romance book club for men
  • Tony Horvath: Creative director for the long-time romance-novel publisher Harlequin, where he oversees production of about 80 book covers a month

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Colin McEnroe, Lily Tyson, Jonathan McNicol, and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.

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Jennifer LaRue is a freelance writer, editor, publicist, and producer. She’s written about health and travel for The Washington Post, published four children’s picture books, and hosted hundreds of virtual author talks during the pandemic. She’s a little bit giddy about producing for The Colin McEnroe Show.