Shelf Love
  • 2 North, and 2 South: Romance Catnip

    Mar 7, 2023

    Part 2 of the conversation about North and South with Helena Greer. AI generated these action items from the transcript of this episode. AI responses can be inaccurate or misleading. [ ] Schedule a kiss scene between the main characters for modern audiences [ ] Make the male protagonist more sympathetic by toning down his violent behavior [ ] Make the female protagonist more likable and relatable to modern romance audiences [ ] Follow a beat sheet to hit expected pacing and plot points for romance novels

  • Look Back at Me: North and South with Helena Greer

    Mar 1, 2023

    Trains! Fruit! Allusions to Hell abound! Victorian industrialist city mortality rates! Writer, sex educator, and librarian Helena Greer is here to discuss North and South. Did the 2004 BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 1854 serialized novel make the heroine more likable and everyone else less nuanced? This conversation is serialized just like the original text. We compare and contrast the romantic moments in the book and adaptation, highlighting how the adaptation focuses more on negative emotions and drama, while the book emphasizes character growth and acts of romantic love.

  • When Your Lover Rips Your Father’s Heart Out

    Feb 8, 2023

    Dame Jodie Slaughter, Feather Fetish Understander, and I recently discussed how The Savage and The Swan speaks the unspoken, what a winged wolf looks like, and whether this book is a metaphor for toxic masculinity and healing generational trauma. This summary below was written by AI using my episode transcript: The Savage and the Swan by Ella Fields is a groundbreaking work of Enemies to Lover literature that combines elements of dark fairytale retellings, a possessive anti-hero, and spicy fae romance. The story follows Opal, a princess in a kingdom at war with its neighboring kingdom, Vordane, ruled by the shape-shifting wolf-with-wings Dade. Opal is forced to marry a human prince to strengthen the alliance between the two kingdoms, but is kidnapped by Dade and must find a way to reconcile her feelings for him despite his shocking act of violence.

  • Cold(breath) Comfort Reads: January 2023

    Feb 1, 2023

    Starting the year off with some cozy re-reads, comfort reads, and short reads to combat the wintery weather and get through winter cold season. I share thoughts on all the books I read in January 2023, including Alice Coldbreath’s Victorian Prizefighter series, A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews, His Majesty by Shon, Better Off Wed by Susanna Craig, Hero by Claire Kent, and the Murderbot series by Martha Wells.

  • Anais Nin, writer of “Female Erotica”?

    Jan 17, 2023

    We need to talk about Anais Nin and her erotic short story collection Delta of Venus. Did Anais Nin write "female erotica"? Is there such a thing? Have Things™️ changed much since 1941? Noted smut writer Dame Jodie Slaughter is Shelf Love's international smut history correspondent. She schools us on the long history of smut, French people, Choice Feminism, why she doesn't believe in the female gaze, how her work is contributing to the demise of "our value system," and more! We unpack Anais's assertion that "women are more apt to fuse sex with emotion, with love" via Dr. Jodi McAlister’s book "The Consummate Virgin," and her theories of compulsory (female) demisexuality.

  • Arranged Marriage Trope in Contemporary Indian American Diaspora Romance Novels

    Jan 9, 2023

    Arranged marriage trope in contemporary Indian American diaspora romance novels with cognitive psychologist and author Sri Savita.

  • Findom, Care, and the Submissive Billionaire: Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre

    Dec 23, 2022

    A billionaire romance novel that name drops Citizen’s United only comes along every so often. Carter Sherman, Senior reporter for VICE News, joins me to discuss Preferential Treatment by Heather Guerre. We talk about power exchange, heterosexual marriage as a transaction, and subverting the single script of the hegemonic BDSM billionaire romance to focus on the fantasy as care & safety as opposed to letting go of control. Romancelandia Holiday Fairies:

  • The Vindication of the Rights of Man in Romance Novels

    Dec 7, 2022

    Are men in romance novels granted agency & subjectivity, and do readers have the same expectations for male consent as they do for female characters in M/F romance? Lynell from Weekend Reader has some thoughts on mutual consent in romance, especially as she’s binging dark mafia romance with kidnapping plots. What happens when your real life values conflict with your fantasy world values, and how do ideas about happily ever after change as our culture changes?

  • Black Romance and Historical Spaces

    Dec 1, 2022

    Hear Elysabeth Grace & Katrina Jackson in conversation: a recording from Black Romance and Historical Spaces presentation put on by the Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University on November 5th, 2022. This episode is a co-release with Black Romance Podcast, hosted by Dr. Julie Moody-Freeman.

  • Harlequin’s New Sexy Contemporary Line: Breaking News!

    Oct 21, 2022

    Breaking News! Harlequin Associate Editor John Jacobson is here to give the scoop on Harlequin’s newest, currently unnamed line of sexy new contemporary romances. We talk about Harlequin’s intentions, hopes, and dreams for the line, and also talk about the unfulfilled… gaps in the market, especially for younger readers who want to imagine their own unique, personalized, non-normative happily ever afters.