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Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Wendell

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Take a dashing hero with a heart of gold and a mullet of awesome. Add a heroine with a bustle and the will to kick major butt. Then include enough contrivances to keep them fighting while getting them alone and possibly without key pieces of clothing, and what do you have? A romance novel. What else? Enough lessons about life, love, and everything in between to help you with your own happily-ever-after.

Lessons like...

•Romance means believing you are worthy of a happy ending

•Learning to tell the prince from the frog

•Real-life romance is still alive and kicking

•No matter how bad it is, at least you haven't been kidnapped by a Scottish duke (probably)

Sarah Wendell is cofounder of one of the top romance blogs.

Product Description


Popular romance novel blogger Sarah Wendell has written another book about the genre. This times she's focusing on everything she's learned, both good and bad, about love from the pages of romance novels. While it won't be available to the general public until October. --RT Book Reviews 01.08.2011

About the Author

Sarah Wendell's day job involves a cloak, and possibly a dagger, but by night she's the cofounder of the influential romance blog She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband and two children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 744 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (1 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EU5100
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #526,868 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, and I'm not a romance reader!! 3 Dec. 2011
By Ellen Olenska - Published on
I've randomly picked up a romance here or there but don't qualify as a strong romance reader, but have read fiction all my life. However, having said that, I LOVED this book, it's witty and on the money on why we love to escape in fiction. The "rules" that Sarah lays out resonated and even being unfamiliar with many of the titles she cites, I could instantly see what she was trying to share. And now I'm buying some of the books she mentioned, she certainly has opened my eyes a bit.

I loved it, it gave me a whole new appreciation for the genre.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous and Insightful Look at Romance Novels 6 Dec. 2011
By S. Wright - Published on
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels (henceforth known as EIKAL), since I'm not a large nonfiction reader. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

EIKAL is filled with short, amusing topics that are light-hearted, insightful and take a look at how romance books have affected readers. Topics such as: We Know More Than a Few Good Men, We Know What Not to Want, We Know Good Sex and We Know How to Ask for What we Want share reader's and author's real life experiences about each of the topics. These stories are wonderful and it was nice to hear from some of my favorite authors.

The lesson that resonated the most with me, was the one that direct communication and problem solving is essential for a solid relationship foundation. So often in romance novels we watch events unfold where the hero and heroine could have sorted the whole disastrous situation out if that had stopped to communicate with the other person. Another favorite was that romance novels give us a safe place to explore how we want to want to approach life: what kind of relationships we want, what we want out of sex, and how to go about asking for those things.

Overall, if you are a romance fanatic, then this is a book you should add to your reading list. It is very short, much shorter than the 222 pages listed, mainly due to the reiteration of text quotes in block quote boxes. that was probably my only issue with the book and it lost a star for the overuse of them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every Writer Should Learn From Romance Novels 4 Mar. 2012
By Zabeth Marsh (book, tv and movie reviewer) - Published on
All good stories involve strong emotion; such as love. For that reason, every author can learn how to put emotion and caring between characters into their novels by reading and learning from romance novels. Sarah Wendell, the well-known co-founder of, has put down her reasons for why people should stop criticizing the romance genre and start to learn from it in Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels. And her points are very compelling.

Romance Lessons from The Wizard of Oz

Wendell brings together popular romance authors and readers of romance to comment on the genre and what it means to them. She is a smart woman! The first reason every writer should pick up a copy of this book is to read Loretta Chase's letter explaining how her rules for romance character traits are illustrated in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. Most of us do not think of Oz as a romance story. However Chase shows us that each of the Oz characters has traits that are also found in a classic romance hero. Romance novels do not just jump into love and marriage. The heroine and hero must go through a journey of discovery about themselves, their relationship, and what love means. That is what makes a good romance read. And Oz is in fact a story about a journey of discovery. About leaving what you know to discover something more about yourself and those around you.

Reading Wendell (and Chase), you understand that characters who do not grow during the story are not interesting to read. One dimensional characters do not provide depth in a story. Whether you write mystery, historical fiction, suspense, or humor your characters must be different at the end of the story than when readers first meet them.


Every writer has had moments of frustration with their work. Maybe characters are not doing what you want. The blank page is staring unabashedly back at you daring you to type something; as if it could be good enough. Not surprisingly you ask yourself, "Why do this to myself?" The answer is provided in the second to last chapter of Wendell's book and it should be required reading for anyone who wants to pursue a career as a writer. An essay titled, "Healing Through Books" written by an anonymous reader explains more powerfully why books are important than anything a fiction writer could design. While some readers just want a few minutes of quiet fantasy, for others, the words on the pages are a lifeline to avoid real life's harsh realities. This essay is a must-read for aspiring authors. Save it. Go back to it when you are struggling with a story. The heartfelt emotion of her saga will make you touch your heart; if you write to please her as a reader you'll never lose sight of your goals.

Self-Worth, Sex, and Heroes

In addition to insight that Wendell's book can provide to writers, this book is really about what is happening in romance novels. As Wendell sets out to prove in this quick and flowing read, romance novels provide women with examples of why they should value their self-worth. Romances provide examples of strong women who will not settle for men unable to accept them for who they are.

The romance genre provides a wide range of approaches to sex. Some romances will lead you to the bedroom door and leave it to the reader to fill in the gap of what happened between night and dawn. Some romances head straight to the wedding alter but do not provide details of the wedding night. There are a growing number of romance novels that will provide in varying levels of detail the intimate details of the mechanics of making love. Find what level of romance-to-sex ratio you are comfortable with and enjoy the ride. In addition, Wendell makes a compelling case for using these explicit romance sex scenes - not as porn on paper - but rather a safe environment for couples to discuss what excites them. Citing reader comments, Wendell provides a compelling case for how romance novels actually encourage young women to hang on to their virginity as realistic romance novels provide both the positive and negative sides of having intercourse. Reading a romance novel and discussing the story with your daughter might just be the least awkward and comprehensive way for parents to educate their kids about sex. At least take the time to read Wendell's analysis and her readers' comments to see if you can take on a new use for sex in novels.

The longest running objection to romance novels is that reading them will give females unrealistic expectations about real men. Only an insecure man could have developed this theory. If we applied this theory to science fiction, Martians should be invading Earth. Fat chance! It is not the women reading romance novels who have unrealistic expectations. Rather, it is men who do not understand the emotion of love who fear what romance novels teach. Real men (i.e. men who understand a women's self-worth and are confident in their relationships) have no fear of fiction stories any more than they fear Martians will invade.

Wicked Words

My only criticism of Wendell's study on romance would be her back alley vernacular. For all of Wendell's pontification of about the modern women, she degrades her message by using swear words. Educated women know more creative and descriptive words to discuss their feelings, wants, and desires than sinking to gutter talk. While I understand that Wendell is striving to achieve a conversation with her readers as if they are swapping stories over coffee, the fact is she has compiled a reference book on the subject of romance novels. In fact, Wendell's book references over 60 books and authors for anyone who wants to read romance novels. Sadly, Wendell only put 10 books on the shopping list in the back of her book but with a quick flip through the pages reader's can compile a wonderful study of romance novels.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Self-Helpy than I was Expecting 2 Jan. 2014
By Clio Reads - Published on
Verified Purchase
I love Sarah Wendell's blog (Smart Bitches Trashy Books) and her podcast with Jane Litte of Dear Author (DBSA Podcast), and I really really loved Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels, which is both smart and uproariously funny. So, I was very excited when I found a used copy of Everything I Know about Love for pennies, and I liked this book, but didn't love it. I think the problem is that having already followed Wendell's blog and podcast and twitter and read her prior book, I'd heard all of this before, so it didn't feel fresh. Also, this is almost a self-help book (though humorous), which I wasn't really expecting, and which isn't really my cuppa.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Romance Fans 28 Sept. 2013
By L. S. Tucker - Published on
This is a great defense of romantic fiction that talks about how the books can help, educate and encourage the readers.

Despite what people who don't read romance books claim, it isn't all about porn and the mighty wang and the magic hoo-hoo. It is about communication. It's learning what to expect in a relationship and how to get it. It is what to be wary of and how to recognize what you don't want.

Romance books can teach you what turns you on and what turns you off. The more erotic books can even help you discover your kinks or whether you don't have any at all.

Readers and writers chime in to give their own opinions and personal experiences. And, as always, Sarah lends her own personal brand of humor to keep things from getting too analytical. If the name is familiar, but you can't place the name, think Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

I was lucky enough to score this ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) and loved it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read romance, hates defending it, but also know that there is more to it than HEA (Happily Ever After). For many readers, it is the journey, not just the destination. A good 4 out of 5.
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