Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture

Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture

Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture

Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture


"Find your one true love and live happily ever after." The trials of love and desire provide perennial story material, from the Biblical Song of Songs to Disney's princesses, but perhaps most provocatively in the romance novel, a genre known for tales of fantasy and desire, sex and pleasure. Hailed on the one hand for its women-centered stories that can be sexually liberating, and criticized on the other for its emphasis on male/female coupling and mythical happy endings, romance fiction is a multi-million dollar publishing phenomenon, creating national and international societies of enthusiasts, practitioners, and scholars. Catherine M. Roach, alongside her romance-writer alter-ego, Catherine LaRoche, guides the reader deep into Romancelandia where the smart and the witty combine with the sexy and seductive to explore why this genre has such a grip on readers and what we can learn from the romance novel about the nature of happiness, love, sex, and desire in American popular culture.


You’ve all heard the story, in its thousand and one variations. You know what I’m talking about.

The bar. The drinks. The hook-up or the pick-up. The sweaty sex.

Advertising’s favorite emotional well.

The internet dating.

The rom-com date movie.

The Disney princess movies soaked up by three year olds.

The lyrics of almost every pop tune ever written.

The diamond ring.

The trashy romance novel. The bodice-ripper.

Fifty Shades of a billion dollars. Mommy porn. Women snaking around the bookstore in a line five hundred long, waiting to get their copies signed. Mimosas circulate: “I read it through lunch breaks and I’m giggling.”

You’ve heard the stories from your friends. They call you up, needing to talk. They’ve met Mr. or Ms. Right, and now hope’s gone wild and hormones are running high. Or they need to vent and a shoulder to cry on: Mr. or Ms. Right has turned out wrong, yet again.

You’ve probably been in love yourself. Or thought you were, you poor sod. Maybe you were just in lust, struck stupid by desire or lit up to your brilliant, beautiful best: sex in your eyes, glowing like a rainbow.

Maybe you are still in love now. Maybe it did all work out.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.