Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

The Romance Story in Popular Culture
Catherine M. Roach
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/31/2016
Format: Hardback 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-02044-4
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2016 Foreword Indies Finalist, Popular Culture category

Silver Medal, Popular Culture, 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards

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.

Author Bio

Catherine M. Roach is Professor of Gender and Culture Studies in New College at the University of Alabama and author of Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture. She publishes romance fiction as Catherine LaRoche.


“Catherine M. Roach, alongside her romance-writer alter-ego, Catherine LaRoche, guides the reader deep into "Romancelandia": the land of the romance fiction, a women-centered multi-million dollar publishing phenomenon that creates national and international societies of enthusiasts, practitioners, and scholars.”

“An innovative hybrid of both academic analysis and romantic fiction, offering scholarly and popular readers a fascinating account of what is at stake in stories we love about love.”
 — Brenda Weber, author of Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity

“Impressively smart...a lively and memorable read!”
 — Eric Murphy Selinger, Executive Editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies

“"Roach’s Happily Ever After is without a doubt a methodological groundbreaker, and its effects will hopefully resonate throughout popular culture studies, fandom studies, and future approaches to other genres of popular fiction." ”
 — The Journal of Popular Culture

“Roach's attempt to do emotional justice to the genre should satisfy academics and fans alike.”
 — Publishers Weekly

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Table of Contents

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in by E.E. Cummings
Prologue: Journey into Romancelandia
1. Find Your One True Love: Book Lovers and the Romance Story
2. Going Native: When the Academic is (also) the Fan
3. Notes from the Imagination: Reading Romance Writing: Wherein Catherine Roach and Catherine LaRoche, in Feisty Dialogue, Comment upon LaRoche’s Fiction
4. Sex: Good Girls Do, Or, Romance Fiction as Sex-Positive Feminist Mommy Porn
5. Notes from the Field: Romance Writers of America
6. Love: Bondage and the Conundrum of Erotic Love
7. Notes from the Writing: "Between the Sheets" and Other Moments toward Romance Novelist
8. Happily Ever After: The Testament of Erotic Faith
Epilogue: Lessons from Romancing the Academic