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Things I've learned from romance novels

For all the genre is mocked as being lightweight, sometimes it occurs to me how much of my knowledge of European (mostly english and french) history and customs I’ve learned thanks to my habit of binge reading romance novels in my younger years. Case in point: I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, and my husband asked a question about the duel song. Specifically, “What’s a second?” I explained the whole process by which civilized white men gave each other excuses to kill each other, and he wanted to know where I learned that. The answer, of course, was romances. I can probably recite the list of every king/queen of England for the same reasons, as well as major politicians and what they stood for. Major European conflicts? Check. How fashion evolved over centuries? Conditions of work houses and how the poor, middle class, and wealthy all lived? All thanks to romances.

Why they don’t pass these out in place of history classes in school, I’ll never know.


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