Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's to feel guilty about?

I did something the other night that I hadn't done in about 25 years.

I read a Harlequin Romance.

There was a time when my reading-for-pleasure "diet" consisted mainly of Harlequins. My love affair with them peaked when I was about 14 or so. I would check out dozens a week from the library, plowing through the tales one right after the other.

My early teenage-angst ridden self could not get enough of these stories of true love and happily ever after. And as an added bonus I'm pretty sure I owe my speed reading skills to these works.

Still it had been years since I'd even thought about reading one.

Then my co-worker (and Pets Unleashed blogger) Robin Palmer stopped in my office to drop one off. She'd been at Great Lakes Mall where there were free Harlequins for the taking and thought of my love of books.

The book line is celebrating "60 years of pure reading pleasure" with the giveaway.

So I thought, what the heck.

I opened "Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch" by B.J. Daniels.

The book is from the Harlequin Intrigue line. (I'll bet you didn't know there were different lines, did you? The lines are grouped by passion, suspense, romance and home and family.)

The plots are all similar. Girl meets boy. They fall in love. There's an obstacle. They overcome it and live happily ever after. The end.

So from the first page I knew that whatever else happened Dana Cardwell would get her man. And 200-some pages later all was well again at the ranch, mystery solved, lovers reunited.

I'd say that it was a guilty pleasure, but what's to feel guilty about?

I'm a firm believer that all reading is good reading. Is this (or any other Harlequin for that matter) going to make my top 10 list? win a Pulitzer? spark meaningful book discussion?

Of course not.

Did it provide an hour and a half of escape from worries about kids and bills and the economy and housework and office politics and .... you betcha.

- Tricia Ambrose

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