074. Ma'am, this is Problematic: The Secular Scripture pt 2 with Dr. Angela Toscano
How identity must evolve in romance, the possibility inherent to the romance, and how we can have more critical conversations about problematic things in romance without demanding its eradication - because let's be honest, everything is problematic. Dr. Angela Toscano returns to continue our discussion of The Secular Scripture by Northrop Frye and how it's an urtext for understanding the romance genre. You'll definitely want to go listen to part 1, which is episode 73, before listening to this one
Dr. Angela Toscano returns to continue our discussion of The Secular Scripture by Northrop Frye and how it's an urtext for understanding the romance genre. You'll definitely want to go listen to part 1, which is episode 73, before listening to this one
In part 2, we'll be discussing how identity must evolve in romance, the possibility inherent to the romance, and how we can have more critical conversations about problematic things in romance without demanding its eradication - because let's be honest, everything is problematic.
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Guest: Dr. Angela Toscano
The Secular Scripture by Northrop Frye
What to read next if you like Frye:
- On Fairy Stories by JRR Tolkein
- A Natural History of the Romance by Pamela Regis
- Anatomy of Criticism by Northrop Frye
- Meditations on Don Quixote by Ortega y Gasset
- True Story of the Novel by Margaret Doody
- Poetic Diction by Owen Barfield
074 Everything is problematic
[00:00:00] Andrea Martucci: Hello. And welcome to episode 74 of Shelf Love, a podcast where we have thought provoking critical conversations about literature's most polarizing genre, romance novels. I'm your host, Andrea Martucci, and my guest today is once again, Dr. Angela Toscano, a romance scholar, writer, and researcher.
On today's episode, you'll hear the latter half of our discussion about literary critic Northrop Frye's 1976 book, The Secular Scripture, a Study of the Structure of Romance. You'll definitely want to go listen to part one, which is episode 73, before listening to this one.
In part one, we covered the major distinctions that Frye makes between the structure of romance writ large, compared to Epic tales.
As we discussed, romances have an "and then" plot rather than a "hence" plot. How romance is our human stories versus stories of gods and nation states, and the idea of the phony infinite and why mere entertainment is looks down on by gatekeepers. Plus the polarity between heroes and villains and the world we want and the one we don't want.
In part two, we'll be discussing how identity is lost, changed, and reformed in romance, the possibility inherent to the romance and how we can have more critical conversations about problematic things in romance, without demanding its eradication, because let's be honest, everything is problematic.
Another structural element that he talks about is, and I will put this in the show notes. I have a diagram that I have drawn of this: this idea of departure from identity throughout the story in a romance.
So you start with identity. And then at once upon a time, that identity is thrown into disarray or question or whatever, and the adventure within the novel, as a result of this external plot, is a departure from identity. And then when you get to the end of the story, you get this resolution, you get this happily ever after, and the character returns to a sense of identity. They know who they are once again.
I would argue that in romance, that sense of identity changes from the beginning to the end, it necessarily is an evolution of that sense of identity. I don't know if Frye necessarily makes that point.
Dr. Angela Toscano: No, he doesn't. And I think that's because he's talking primarily about texts that are really pre-modern right. He [00:02:30] talks about some 18th century novels. And I think that was he alive and talking with us, he would agree with this, that when you have romances written after a bunch of different literary styles and expectations, that of course , these sorts of things do change, right?
So there's no way that you can write a romance now without taking into account the effects of like Victorian realist psychological character study. That's just part of what we've read. It's a part of how we tell stories. We have the expectation of like interiority in a way that other earlier texts don't. I mean, there's not a lot of interiority in the Odyssey.
It's a lot of guessing, right? Like they don't talk about motivation and like psychology.
Andrea Martucci: How does Odysseus feel about marrying his mother? Does that happen? I don't know.
Dr. Angela Toscano: No, that's Oedipus. How does Odysseus feel about killing all those suitors? It's unclear, right? And I think that you see this even in things like Shakespeare where , especially because it's a plane that's performed, the motivation is really at the mercy of the actor. You're like, why is Iago doing this? He kind of explains it, but it doesn't really feel like great.
Andrea Martucci: Who hurt you, Iago?
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. And it's those questions never get answered in those kinds of stories because nobody cares.
It's like cultural, nobody cares. Like they're not thinking about it. But for us, we care. We really need to know. What's your deal? Like, how were you raised? Did you hate your mother or one of these Freudian psychoanalytic, like answers because we feel like depth of character is explained through the revelation of like the interiority and the evolution like that the character must change from beginning to end. We need that in our stories. That's not good or bad. I think both kind of stories can be very satisfying, but I think that for us, it's like a taste. It literally like literal tastes like we want that flavor mixed in with our stew. Like we need it.
Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Frye talks about the possibility of romance. Which again, romance writ large, not just popular romance, but we can apply this to popular romance. And, he's talking about this separation between the writer and the reader and how the texts can be an escape from the alleged reality [00:05:00] that the reader is living in, but the reader is not meant to believe it or disbelieve it.
It is meant to send these imaginative roots into the mysterious world between what is and is not. And to connect this idea to that, the genuine finite and phony infinite that we were talking about earlier, he has a passage where he's talking about our own mythological conditioning. I think he's talking really about like socialization and environment and all of that, that readers, readers and writers, but readers who are understanding, who are interpreting the work have, and, talking about how, yeah, you can be passive and really not critically examine what is there. So like a work can have these deep roots that, you know, can really push your mind to think differently about things, but the reader has to really be ready and willing and able to do that, to open themselves up to that if it's there.
And also talking about how the writer similarly has to have that capacity to recognize their own conditioning and infuse that into the work, challenge that in the work. And, that sometimes readers they don't necessarily have teachers who can help them understand. Their teachers helping them understand this work are also sort of unprepared to push on those things.
And this seemed like a really apt metaphor for the way that we talk about romance novels.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah.
Andrea Martucci: And I've definitely mentioned, like some writers have deeply ingrained misogynistic, racist views, right? Or, as many isms, ableism, neuro typical ism, look, we all grow up in this world. Some people challenge those things and infuse that in their writing. And some people really haven't gotten there and that is also infused in their writing.
Also, I think that a lot of times in the discourse that I see in romance, I'm going to get in trouble for saying this.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Now I'm excited.
Andrea Martucci: Sometimes the way we talk about romance, I think flattens romance as much as critics of the romance flatten romance.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yes. Yes.
Andrea Martucci: I think that we have to be able to acknowledge that not all romance is the same. Which people pay lip service to, but you can't pretend like all romance is [00:07:30] capable of having equal effect on readers or that readers are picking up on those things or talking about them.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. I, 100% agree. And that's all I wanted to say, but I wanted to let you finish your thought. Cause I thought it was going somewhere important.
Andrea Martucci: So a little bit of backstory. A week or two ago, I was posing questions on Twitter related to the episode I had with a psychoanalyst where I asked the question, hey, based on my own experience, I think that some of the things I read in romance novels - without being specific - there are certain romance novels that I read as a young person that had extremely misogynistic ideas in them, presented in them.
And I know that impacted the way I thought about gender relations as I grew up and I had to sort of like examine those things and understand where they came from. And yes, also other media influenced me, but I can also trace some things back to very specific books that I shall not name.
I basically posed the question to the psychoanalyst, what are the circumstances under which like reading romance novels potentially too young can influence your ideas about like courtship and relationships and love and sex and all these things.
And basically the conversation ended with: it is possible. Like it is possible to cause harm when it impacts you in this way, blah blah blah . Obviously not saying all romance novels cause harm.
And, a conversation happened on Twitter that I did not have the spoons to address really fully at the time, but I felt showed that some people are really unprepared to acknowledge that while romance as a genre has great potential for positive impact on us as individuals, it also - if we acknowledge that it has the capability to cause positive impact, we have to acknowledge that it is also capable of a negative impact. Obviously that's dependent upon particular books.
It's dependent on like the books that you happen to read. It's dependent upon the individual and the point at which that they encounter these texts, the situation in their life that helped them understand these things or not understand these things, et cetera.
But basically my point is about we can't claim the good things about romance without acknowledging that it is possible for there to be harm.
Dr. Angela Toscano: I agree. One, the first thing that I will say is that I truly believe this, [00:10:00] is that there is no unproblematic texts. It's like, you know, that scene in Steel Magnolias where Dolly Parton is like "there's no such thing as natural beauty." I want to say that: there's no such thing as a virtuous text. All texts have the potential to both harm and heal. Because they're stories and stories often, whether they can do one or the other, sometimes it's not so much about their content, but how the reader encounters their content.
I think the problem with romance is that because romance as a whole is always seen as being harmful, is always being seen as like mere entertainment, is only being seen as bad because it deals with violence and sex.
Frye talks about this, he says the reason people don't like romance is because it seems like it's just pure titillation, which goes back to that whole is romance pornography. And like the more I've thought about this, the more I've considered it, is that I think that -
I don't want to: you know, pornography is bad and romance is somehow inherently different. I don't think that that's a great take. I don't want to say the take of what you were just talking about, which was the idea that like romance is only good. That's clearly not true either.
It's so contextual. I think that the thing that we have to resist is that this aspect of romance, that it can harm, is not specific to romance. It's true of all stories. The problem is that people who read literary fiction don't acknowledge it about the stories that they read. Philip Roth is considered like an American canon author.
And let me tell you, his depictions of women and like sexuality are not good. Like they're probably as misogynistic or even worse than some of the stuff you're picking up in like the worst of the misogynistic texts of like romance.
So to me, the problem is that, like, why does Philip Roth get a pass on this somehow?
But I don't know, people who are writing like biker gang romances, somehow aren't. Like, why is the misogyny here somehow - oh, this one has all these other good attributes and it's so well written. It's beautifully you know, executed - bah, that's bullshit.
So to me, it always, it goes back to this idea that we're [00:12:30] suspicious of pleasure, but we're also -and this is an idea that I wish I had more time to tease out, but there's a relationship between pleasure and violence, between love and violence.
It's deeply ingrained in like the language and storytelling of Western culture. I'm not going to make a universal claim on this, but in Western culture. And one of the questions I think that Frye is dealing with is the relationship between love and violence, between sex and violence, between pleasure and pain and like why those seems to be coupled together.
It's really ironic or paradoxical that I think that Frye's ability to talk about the underlying structures of romance, which almost seems like a universalizing generalizing, move, I feel actually liberates us to look at the individual expressions of these structures, text by text, without collapsing them either into some Borg-like version of "all romances are the same," but instead saying something more nuanced, which is that all romances are similar, but similarity always implies difference. How is this text doing it differently? And so I think that, going back to the idea of texts are problematic. Cause of course they're problematic. Saying that doesn't tell me anything. What I want to know is what structure is it using? What problem is it exploring?
Is the thing that's problematic, is it there because it's part of the story itself. That is, is it doing something in the story because it's precisely like a pain point that the story is attempting to explore, right? Or is it something that is just like unexamined because the person, maybe isn't a very good writer.
Oh, my gosh, my dad says this thing, which I think is really funny and he's just like the characters can't be smarter than the author. (we both laugh)
You're like, Hmm, true. Um, wow. Burn dad. Yeah, but I think as readers that we can take things out of a story that the author had no intention of. And so even if something's problematic, was there something there that gave us pleasure and enjoyment and delight, and that opened up another door or window for us in despite, or even maybe because.
And that's the thing that I think people don't want to always look at, even because of the very [00:15:00] fact that it is problematic.
I've written in the past about rape and romance, which is always a fraught discussion. But certainly I think that is one trope where both of these things happen almost always simultaneously, where it's both healing and harmful at once. That there's like a need to see that somehow expressed in literature, in these very particular ways. "Should this trope exist?" Is not a question that interests me. And I think that this is where I'm influenced by Frye. It's like, why is this trope? And what is it doing? That is almost always the question that I end up wanting to ask.
Andrea Martucci: Well, And I think that, asking these questions at all, It's the difference between judging the work on its own merits in sort of like an in-group conversation versus judging this thing against other things- and I acknowledge that romance gets shat upon, by everybody outside and in the larger media landscape, other media is very much given the benefit of the doubt.
But I'm always like, Ma'am, this is an Arby's. (we laugh) You know ?
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah.
Andrea Martucci: This is a romance novel podcast. I'm not concerned so much about - whatever, I'm tangentially concerned with romance in relationship to other media - but I really just care about what romance novels are doing and I think there's a yes, and.
There's like a, both of these things can be true, that romance novels are an amazing genre. I think romance novels have had much more of a positive impact on my life than a negative impact. Hence why I have a romance novel podcast, and why I'm interested in discussing these questions, unpacking these questions.
But, I also think that even to acknowledge that things have caused harm does not mean I'm saying they should not exist.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. I'm so glad you articulated it like that, because I don't know if it's like a Twitter thing or if it's just like the stars are aligned in a particular way, but it does feel like that, we are in a cultural moment where to acknowledge a problem is to demand its eradication. And I don't know if that's always like the proper - and sometimes it is, right? But it seems like - speaking of jumping the shark, but that is the shark we jump over, right. Like to get to well, now it's like to acknowledge the problem, is to say that it shouldn't exist.
Yeah. I don't think that is helpful. And I don't think it's helpful in discussion about, even thinking about it confined to romance, if I'm talking about [00:17:30] fat heroines in romance, I'm not trying to tell people that they've done a bad job. Like I'm not trying to grade you.
What I want to explore, is like a larger question and like phenomenon and experience of reading and how that overlaps with it.
Speaking of Lisa Kleypas, I was rereading Brown Eyed Girl, where she has like a fat heroine. One of the things that I thought was like so frustrating about it was that it just becomes a problem of the makeover, and yet, I know that for many fat women, the experience of being able to wear clothes differently than how they think that they should, as a fat woman, it's just deeply - like for me as a fat woman, that's not really a problem, but it is for other people. And so I'm not seeing my own experience of fatness represented in that book, until it becomes a problem for me. And I'm just like, God, I just (noise of frustration) why another make-over?
Andrea Martucci: Yeah.
Dr. Angela Toscano: But I also want to like, hold space for people who need that.
Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I think there's also something about growth. What I would like to see more of in the discourse about romance novels is, what we've been talking about, even in let's say a particular writer, maybe does some things that one might discuss as problematic.
Like we don't need to say, never read that author ever again. I think the idea is, let's have the discussion, let's bring this into the discourse and like maybe people will learn and start to do better. And if somebody continually makes the same mistakes and doesn't seem able to sort of get out of that, they just keep rolling that boulder up the hill and getting crushed by it on the way down, okay, fine. You don't have to keep reading. We don't have to keep trying here.
But I think that we should have this understanding that we're all just humans, there is no plan for this maze that we are stuck in and we're all learning together. And the more I think we just acknowledged that we can have conversations and allow people to grow.
And there is this polarity of like good people, bad people. Maybe we're all just people, unlike romance novels, where there are good people and there are bad people.
The benefit of that structure is because in real life, that's not how it is. We're all just dumb humans knocking around like pinballs and a pinball machine and just trying to make our way someplace that makes sense and then we're all going to die anyways.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. And I think that was like the thing about the maze is that, the maze without a plan still has a structure. It's still a maze, right? It's just the [00:20:00] maze with a plan wants you to get to a certain point, wants to lead you to a particular, the center where you'll fight like a minotaur, or I don't know what -
Andrea Martucci: Who will bite your head off.
Dr. Angela Toscano: And then, end up marrying a princess you've abandoned on an Island, to marry the God Dionysus , which is what I think happens in that story. But like the maze without a plan, it's like, it's still a maze, right? It's still a structure. It's still something that you have to navigate. It's just that it doesn't have a predetermined end. And I think that's a much better approach for like conversations as like you're saying, because you can discover things and play and I think have more fun in a maze without a plan, cause you're creating it at the same time that you're walking through it.
And I think that's Frye's point, is that part of the possibility of potential with romance and it not necessarily having like a goal or an outcome or a learning objective or whatever you want to talk about it as, is that it allows us to maybe play with like complexities that we might not otherwise get a chance to play with in other genres.
And when I say romance, I really mean all genre fiction is married to the romance in like Frye's structure. So whether you're writing fantasy or science fiction or thrillers or horrors, or even certain kinds of like literary fiction does this. I don't think we can think about it differently.
Andrea Martucci: At a certain point, literary fiction is marketing, like the distinction is marketing and some of it really is genre fiction, but you know, it's given the veneer of respectability.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah, the veneer of respectability is - that's a whole other conversation, and romance doesn't have it. And I do think that there is an urge by some people who want to give it the veneer of respectability, but I'm on the side of the disreputable. I like romances being disreputable. I think its value is in its disruptability.
Andrea Martucci: Yeah!
Dr. Angela Toscano: I like its roguishness. That's its appeal to me. Yeah,
Andrea Martucci: I agree. And I think it's a reframing of - destroying that hierarchy, that reputable literature is somehow better than disreputable literature.
Look, no, I like disreputable literature and I don't have to convince you that it is higher than or equal to. It just is,
Dr. Angela Toscano: It is.
Andrea Martucci: And the way Frye ends this, is that in romance, the story is about you.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah.
Andrea Martucci: And that's it. It's us. And that's it, it's us.
Dr. Angela Toscano: It's always us.
Andrea Martucci: We're the center of the universe.
Dr. Angela Toscano: We're the center of the universe. It was about the friends we made [00:22:30] along the way. (laughs) Which actually, I think true of romance, it is about the friends you made along the way.
Andrea Martucci: It totally is.
So if one were to be really interested in this type of analysis of romance novels, where might you direct them next?
Dr. Angela Toscano: Oh gosh, I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm going to just tell you my weird little, like book list ah, that's very idiosyncratic. So the first thing I would say is if you like this, read Tolkein's essay On Fairy Stories, which is one of the strangest, but also loveliest, like meditations on what fairy stories and fantasy can do.
And it seems like it's like a digression from what popular romance is, but it's really connected to how Frye defines romance. The other thing that I would say is one that's more topical, is Pamela Regis's A Natural History of the Romance. Which really set off, what I would say was like a new of like romance criticism.
And she does use Frye in that. Like she talks about the ritual death or what we would call like the black moment, as one of the eight structures or aspects of the romance.
Then you've got Frye's other books. If you like Frye's style, then you'll love, like Anatomy of Criticism.
Andrea Martucci: I will say - look. It was a little hard to get into
Dr. Angela Toscano: It is because he throws a lot of stuff at you. Like very quickly.
Andrea Martucci: It took me a good, like six nights. Every day I sat down and I was like, maybe I'll get through a chapter today.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. Yeah, it's dense. It's dense where it's like, there's a lot coming at you. It's like a buffet of references and allusions and the way they get through that, and I'll tell everybody this as like a piece of advice, is just let it wash over you and don't worry about it. Because eventually - this is how you read, I think, older novels too, is that eventually you'll get into the rhythm of the language and you'll start to understand it. But it's just jumping in off the deep end.
Don't worry about the details so much. It's not as meant to be like a story. You get about 60 or a hundred pages into Tom Jones and then suddenly you're like there, you get the jokes. And it's very strange. It's very strange phenomenon of reading. And I would say the same thing about like literary criticism.
Andrea Martucci: And that's almost a metaphor for romance novels. Like the first one might be a little bit like, what's happening? And then you read enough of them and you just, you get it, like you had to get used to it.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. It really is - it's an acquired taste, like coffee or, whiskey. You've got to have a few [00:25:00] glasses before you really start to appreciate like the nuance, where you take a sip and you're like Ooh, delicious.
One of the ones that I thought was like hugely influential on me was Ortega y Gasset's Little Short Meditations on Don Quixote, which again is really about romance, big picture romance.
I think that, one of the places that I found was so useful at the beginning of my adventure in romance, was Teach Me Tonight, which was the blog that Eric Selinger started ages ago. And is still being kept up to date by Laura Vivanco. I think that a lot of the stuff that is still on there and is like archived on there is still really useful and not just useful, like interesting and relevant, to see like how people have thought about romance
Andrea Martucci: In a more casual, it's a bit more casual.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Casual and approachable way. You know, if you like weird early literary criticism, man. I don't know, read the New Critics, like Owen Barfield's Poetic Diction. There's a weird book that I love.
And if you're interested in novels and stuff like that, Margaret Doody's True Story of the Novel. Okay. That is a behemoth of a book. So only get into that if you really are like a nerd about this stuff, because that one - it's like a 15 bajillion pages long. It's really dense, but she says some real interesting stuff in there.
Andrea Martucci: I believe that everybody who listens to this podcast has to be a romance nerd at this point. We're just to varying degrees though.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. his one is really like - people are going to look at that and be like, wow. The covers of this book are too far apart.
Andrea Martucci: It's just like a cube.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah. It's like a cube. Like it's like vying for attention with Richardson's Clarissa, which is notoriously long, right? Like you could use an unannotated version of Clarissa to really do some physical damage to somebody. That's how big that book is. Don't read Clarissa. I'm just telling you.
Andrea Martucci: Thank you for permission to not do that.
Dr. Angela Toscano: yeah.
Andrea Martucci: Okay. We've got a reading list.
Thank you so much for coming. If people want to keep up with you, how can they find you?
Dr. Angela Toscano: So I'm on the Twitters, as both my professional Twitter, which I never use, which tells you a lot about me, but really under @Lazaraspaste. So that's where you can find me on Twitter. I will say that I'm also starting a Patreon. (Andrea gasps) yeah, or it will be launching in January.
Really the structure is going to be, if you sign up [00:27:30] for the whole shebang, you'll basically get a month-long course in some topic of romance. So I'll probably be doing the first month in January on the Gothic. So there'll be little short videos from me talking about different tropes or elements of the particular topic.
There'll be like a monthly Q&A , where we'll talk maybe about a particular book. And so I'm thinking Mistress of Mellyn to be the one that's really launching the Patreon.
And if you're just like there for, some stuff, I will be curating book lists, and maybe even annotated book lists where you can see both critical stuff and personal faves and other things around particular topics.
So that's what I'm doing.
Andrea Martucci: I was just going to say, that's amazing. That's super exciting. What good timing!
Dr. Angela Toscano: Yeah, I'm really excited. I've been thinking about this for a really long time. I always wanted to teach a class on romance and just as an adjunct, that's never going to happen. So I'm breaking out and forming a new pathway as inspired by romance to do it somewhere else.
Yeah. And then finally, I'm working as the book review editor for the Journal of Popular Romance Studies. But I did want to pitch that we're doing a new section, which is called Notes and Queries. And I am hoping to get some notes and some queries from people in the romance community who aren't like official scholars.
Because I think that there's a lot of institutional and community knowledge about certain topics and subjects that we want to have a record of somewhere. So look out for that call for papers. I'm going to put it on my Twitter when we're ready to go with it. And hopefully it'll be something that people can read and interact with as well, you know, to connect.
Cause that's what I like about romance is that it's a community. And there's something communal and conversational about it. yeah. that's it.
Andrea Martucci: That's more than enough. That's amazing. Thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Angela Toscano: Thank you so much for having me. I loved talking to you and I love talking about Frye and I will always want to talk about Frye, so if anybody wants to pick up the conversation on Twitter, just treat me.
Andrea Martucci: Thanks for listening to episode 74 of Shelf Love and thank you to Angela for joining me. A transcript and show notes for this episode can be found on shelflovepodcast.com.
Next week, I will be kicking off the 2021 season with my interview with Jennifer Crusie. I'm really excited for what is in store next year. There's going to be more academic text deep dives, like this one, [00:30:00] where scholars break down and contextualize romance scholarship, and explain how it is relevant to today's romance readers. There's going to be more problematic favorite trope discussions, and of course, lots of sharing and discussion of romance novels worth reading.
There is still time to buy a gift for a romance community member who is in need of some help this holiday season. Check out bit.ly/Romancelandia. That's Bit.ly/Romancelandia for all the information on Romancelandia Holiday Fairies, which I spoke about in more detail in episodes, 71 and 72. I am planning on leaving the wishlists up at least until December 31st, 2020. I'm also planning to do this again next year. So if you happen to be listening to this in 2021 or later, the best place to sign up to stay in the loop is Shelf Love's email newsletter list, because I will be sure to mention it there.
Thank you for joining me today. If you have any thoughts on the show, I'd love for you to reach out to me. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This episode is produced by me, Andrea Martucci. Thank you to Shelf Love's editorial advisory board members, Katrina Jackson, and Tasha L. Harrison. That's all for this week. Black lives matter. Stay safe, stay mad and keep reading romance.
Alyssa Cole, Amanda Diehl, Andrea Martucci, Angela Toscano, Arielle Zibrak, Ash Dylan, Becky, Bree Hill, Charish Reid, Christina Fattore, Copper Dog Books, Dani Lacey, Danielle Knafo, Denise Williams, Diana Filar, EE Ottoman, Emma Barry, Eric Selinger, Erin Leafe, Esme Brett, Felicia Grossman, Funmi B., Hannah Hearts Romance, Hsu Ming Teo, Huike Wen, Jack Harbon, Jayashree Kamble, Jennifer Crusie, Jess, Jessica Lyn Van Slooten, Jhen, Jodi McAlister, Jodie Slaughter, Joe Martucci, John Jacobson, Julie Moody-Freeman, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Kate Clayborn, Katee Robert, Katrina Jackson, Kelly Reynolds, Kennedy Ryan, Kianna Alexander, Kini Allen, Kit Rocha, Lucy Score, Margarita Guillory, Margo Hendricks, Maria DeBlassie, Megan Erickson, Mia Sosa, Nicole Falls, Norma Perez-Hernandez, Penny Reid, Rebecca Romney, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Rosie Danan, Ruby Lang, Sandra Kitt, Scarlett Peckham, Sionna Fox, Steve Ammidown, Suzanne Jefferies, Talia Hibbert, Tamara Lush, Tasha L. Harrison, The Swoonies, Tif Marcelo, Tina Benigno, Whoamance, fangirl jeanne