Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

I haven’t read this series, but the feeling I have from all of the romance stories is that this is fantasy and these types of romantic relationships don’t or probably more accurately very rarely exist. Or is that just the modern era? I just don’t see men loving to the extent these characters do. Please, men on the forum tell me I’m wrong?!
I wonder the same about women! In my experience, it’s just the modern era. I find that most people don’t want relationships because of the responsibilities that come with it; loyalty, honesty, effort, and especially love.
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
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I haven’t read this series, but the feeling I have from all of the romance stories is that this is fantasy and these types of romantic relationships don’t or probably more accurately very rarely exist. Or is that just the modern era? I just don’t see men loving to the extent these characters do. Please, men on the forum tell me I’m wrong?!
I'd say you're mostly right. I'm not sure what percentage of men inherently have this capacity, but modern society instills nothing to strive for and is overtly nihilistic. We are also not rich dukes with a life of wealth and leisure to spend as we choose. With rare exception, their idea of money problems is having to sell off the ancestral estate and buy a more modest house that they could still afford to buy outright and then support themselves with a regular job. It's not even remotely realistic. In the case of the dukes, they also have some degree of dominion over their lands, and can forge their own destiny if they choose to exert their power. Most everyone in real life has been castrated and enslaved by the global pathocracy, continually reminded that they are impotent while their enemies are invincible. Your choices are either to resist and die quickly or submit and die slowly, chained to a meaningless career in a meaningless society. Almost all of us choose the die slowly option wholly or in part, and to someone who aspires to be "manly" and take charge of things, this is a caustic spiritual poison. The male sexual urge is not so easily suppressed or destroyed, and all that is left is the instant gratification that society allows and even encourages to a degree to keep us from challenging the materialistic status quo. The ultimate result is that men who might have had the capacity to love once shut down and life merely becomes a matter of going through the motions.

Some precious few do not entirely succumb to this, but it is an uphill battle. The ambience in the romance novels seems to be a struggle against a society that has a few weird ideas about relationships with some piggish social norms and a few bad apples who take advantage of that environment, while the ambience in real life is a struggle against an overwhelming and insurmountable evil.
 

Michal

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When I read question: are there such men or women with such and such qualities it resembles me a bit believing in better reality that is not yet here. What I mean is that for probably most of the cases men and women need to work hard for such wonderful loving relationship (new reality). Love is knowledge so to love means to know and in both cases (however definitely I may say only about myself) this knowing part is quite a challenge. I think which could be wrong that I cannot love unknown.
 

Voyageur

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I guess it's all about learning to love as well as learning to wisely choose a partner.

Yes, and learning of self and the other into the depths of trust, cherishing it as part of the whole. If it is not there, you got problems.

Modern times seem to see an exponential debasement of trust, and how can there be healthy love (knowledge) without trust. What damage is done when trust is violated, which comes back to what Laura said at the get go of why the reading:

It occurred to me that people must find such stories a good escape from a horrible reality, either their personal lives or the world-at-large. But then, I also thought about the fact that, if people weren’t just escaping into such literature, but rather LEARNING from it, and putting some of what they learned into practice, a very different result would be obtained than just going off into la-la land. Because, it sure appeared to me that many of the problems that were set up as the plot of the stories were problems that many people deal with in one way or another, and a few of the authors were darned good psychologists with excellent insight.

That is what seems to be apparent.

And speaking of sex lives, men and women both could learn a lot about a healthy sexual relationship from these books.
and:

It was later when I was pondering the emotional engagement that I made the connection with “hyperkinetic sensate” which was how the C’s described the Wave’s effects on human beings. I began to wonder what if people were engaged in stimulating the RIGHT emotions during this process? And thus, my reference to the books in the last session.
and to end:

So, it seems that it might be possible to assist in altering reality by undertaking activities that remove fear, intimidation, inhibition and even entering into such realities via positive dissociation. These books, with all the qualities I’ve described above, appear to be a darn good way to do that. It’s not “heavy” literature, but entertainment of a very specific sort that engages emotions and depicts very positive role models and behaviors.

On the stories wealth parts and realities:
I'd say you're mostly right. I'm not sure what percentage of men inherently have this capacity, but modern society instills nothing to strive for and is overtly nihilistic. We are also not rich dukes with a life of wealth and leisure to spend as we choose. With rare exception, their idea of money problems is having to sell off the ancestral estate and buy a more modest house that they could still afford to buy outright and then support themselves with a regular job. It's not even remotely realistic.

Would not disagree, although in the context of the books (authors will use what attracts for the story, wealth and power being such), if one can separate those feelings in self of being materially inadequate to the characters lives, the emotional messages are the same from duke/duchess to footman/scullery maid. These being the emotional messages that carry on in families no matter what the education and finery.

This can also be hard when our modern age PR campaign does a bang-up job to have many overly focused on the material, and the rest is mostly lost. Relationships/marriage now often seem to be worth not much more than of changing out ones iPhone when the app stops working for the new model, for a new relationship. Many can see this in relationships (direct family, family relatives, friends, young adults more so than old - yet even there, and in their community) while it can look like people don't even try anymore, or never learned, to work together, to develop trust in a world where trust can look like fools gold. Although if the relationship was initially developed falsely (and one only sees it later), then sure, there may not be much hope for ones being if the relationship can't be realistically repaired, it is understandable, thus it might be advisable to end it. Which brings up anther issue, the fear of then being alone (and with kids it is so much harder), this whole starting again is painful, thus they may stay and put up with a continued unhealthy relationship environment without a modicum of trust in it (often a theme in the books).

Have kept up reading them (also as part of the positive disassociation aspect mention by Laura), and there are not many of these books where some new pearl is discovered or rediscovered - reading some authors paragraph that suddenly clicks and sums it up.
 

Bobo08

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At any rate, I guess some of the grief these novels brought up was the fact that these men were redeemed and changed by the loves of their lives....and well, it didn't work for me and in addition it seems that rarely happens in real life. These are the men that Sandra Brown (How to Spot A Dangerous Man) warns about....and that far too many women are destroyed by. So, I am wondering why these books are on the list - granted most women who have been on this Forum for any length of time, have been made aware of falling into these traps, but so many women are just as clueless as I was when I married my ex. And, so I wonder if her books could be a bit of a trap for those who are unaware. At any rate, would like to hear other's take on these. Am continuing the series, as obviously there's stuff that needs to be addressed here as I have apparently not cleared all the baggage left from that marriage...even after ALL these years. :-(

For me, I don't consider the romantic novels on the list to be realistic depiction of real life, but a kind of templates/lessons. They teach me to reflect and to strive for something in my relationship. The book from Sandra Brown that you mentioned teaches another kind of lessons and they should be applied, too, ideally both before and while applying the lessons from the romantic novels.

So like everything else on the reading list, these books are not the be all and end all of what to do in real life, but another tool in your toolkit or another gem you collect on your journey.
 

gottathink

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Gornahoor (blog) writes extensively about the origins of romantic love and romance literature. His research and commentary is fascinating and inspiring.
This is an excerpt from one of his posts:
Baldassare Castiglione seems to see things more deeply then Williams, when he writes:

Love is defined as desire awakened by beauty, and by progressive illumination passes from sensible beauty to spiritual, and from spiritual beauty to divine: from lust to love, and from love to religion. The duty of the lover is service and honour; the reward of the right lover is intellectual communion with his lady.
The character Jane in one of Dumas’ novels says:

Let us forget earth, let us realize heaven; let us share our thoughts, our joys, our griefs, our aspirations, our tears, so that in this unfleshly communion of minds and souls there may be in our eyes pride, in our heart-throbs purity, in our speech chastity, in our consciences calm.
Has your girlfriend ever spoken to you like that? Perhaps the pressures arising from marriage obscure that state of adoration. Finally, here is a thought from Castiglione, that is the very opposite of the Playboy/Charlie Sheen philosophy:

Who does not know that women cleanse our hearts of all evil and low thoughts, of cares, of troubles, and of those heavy dejections that follow in the trains of these? And if we consider well, we shall recognize also, that in respect to the knowledge of high things, so far from turning away men’s mind, women rather awaken them.
 

Mililea

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Now I was just completely immersed in the Bedwyn saga and bang, suddenly there's no more book... just off... I've fallen into a bit of a hole just now.
This really was by far my favourite series by Mary Balogh so far. With all the highs and lows, with tears and laughter. It has very often just touched me deeply. :love:
 

marek760

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Now I was just completely immersed in the Bedwyn saga and bang, suddenly there's no more book... just off... I've fallen into a bit of a hole just now.
This really was by far my favourite series by Mary Balogh so far. With all the highs and lows, with tears and laughter. It has very often just touched me deeply. :love:
I read the entire series over a year ago and from what I remember my favorite character was Wulfric, the scene where Christine standing on the balcony thinks Wulfrick is winking at her and it turns out she poured lemonade into his eye made me to cry with laughter :-)
 

Mililea

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I read the entire series over a year ago and from what I remember my favorite character was Wulfric, the scene where Christine standing on the balcony thinks Wulfrick is winking at her and it turns out she poured lemonade into his eye made me to cry with laughter :-)
Yes, I feel the same way. Christine could be me... just her action of climbing up the tree and only having half a dress on when she climbs down and the quizzing glass at the ball... I was so hoping she would do that. I'm still reveling in the series... thanks for the tip @Jenn :hug2:
 

Lukasz

Jedi
Now I was just completely immersed in the Bedwyn saga and bang, suddenly there's no more book... just off... I've fallen into a bit of a hole just now.
This really was by far my favourite series by Mary Balogh so far. With all the highs and lows, with tears and laughter. It has very often just touched me deeply. :love:
Yes, this is fantastic series. I have still two books to read but need to say that I am amazed. After reading the prequels, where the Bedwyns are only mentioned I was reluctant to start reading the series about them. I had a thought that probably these books will be worse than the prequels. But then, what a surprise, they became one of my favourites :-D
 

hiker

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Now I was just completely immersed in the Bedwyn saga and bang, suddenly there's no more book... just off... I've fallen into a bit of a hole just now.
This really was by far my favourite series by Mary Balogh so far. With all the highs and lows, with tears and laughter. It has very often just touched me deeply. :love:

It really was an amazing series! I too felt a bit melancholy after finishing the last book.

You might know it already, but I thought I'd mention just in case, that the Bedwyn saga characters are involved in the Simply series, and then in the short story "Another Dream" (one of the novellas from "Once Upon a Dream"). The Survivor series has a few familiar faces too. :-)

I would suggest Bedwyn then Survivors because she pick a character in Badwin to finish in Survivors.
So „the right“ order would be:
Bedwyn prequel (2 books), then Bedwyn saga, then Simply quartet.
Then Survivors.
 

Mililea

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You might know it already, but I thought I'd mention just in case, that the Bedwyn saga characters are involved in the Simply series, and then in the short story "Another Dream" (one of the novellas from "Once Upon a Dream"). The Survivor series has a few familiar faces too. :-)
I've been reading it the wrong way round, so to speak. :lol: First the simply series, then Bedwyn Saga and only now saw that there are these two prequel books. But I was pleased that there are still two to read.:-P
 

Voyageur

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Elliot's story is currently being read..

From the Mackenzie's, this jumps to the other side of the family, the McBride's. This family has four brothers, Elliot, Steven, Sinclair and Patrick. Elliot's story involves much past trauma from when he was in northern Pakistan/Afghanistan as a POW.

What spills out when back in Scotland involve his first and only love, and his good friend from the war who may not be such a friend, along with the Pakistani family he brings back with him and what that means. His also faces his relations (the Mackenzie's and their wives are ever present - Ian of course), and the healing that must happen or all could be lost. Healing often begins with another to help with a sympathetic touch. One only needs to imagine what it means to be a POW in certain situations to understand what this Elliot sufferers.

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The Untamed Mackenzie book is Lloyd Fellows story, so people reading the first 3 books know Lloyd as the cop who went after Ian and Hart. He was born on the streets and the stepbrother of Hart. His story continues with Landy Scranton who finds herself at the center of a murder that Fellows investigates. Many things unravel for Lloyd as he faces the unknown emotions held deep.

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In The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie, the name Daniel is also known from the first books, the son of Cameron Mackenzie. Daniel is now older and finds himself;

At a card table in London, and from there directly to a medium who uses a Ouija Board and communicates with spirits. All hell breaks loose.

From here, the story moves to France where Danny finds himself in a hot air balloon while also building his first engine and motor car body for a speed trail. He also finds himself in rescue mode to a woman with a difficult and unsure past that is also tied to criminal elements.


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This next one is Scandal And The Duchess, which is a short book (6.5 in order) with Steven McBride back from war on leave and Rose Barclay, a new Dowager Duchess still in blacks, near penniless.

The story has an interest in puzzle furniture that holds secrets, and a brother in-law who holds contempt for his brothers ex wife the Duchess

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Rules for a Proper Governess has an interesting dynamic happening with Sinclair McBride, a barrister (Basher McBride) who lost his wife seven years before and is raising a son and daughter. He was also a soldier in Africa where his original wife had followed the drum with him.

With work and life, he is strung tight as bow string when suddenly he meets a pickpocket who robs him. A chase ensues where he is almost killed. The thief, a young Cockney speaking lass suddenly turns to help him. Her life is no picnic - a series of risks, broken family and violence at every turn. Sinclair, too, prosecutes the violent, and this is where the story really begins, in court.

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The Stolen Mackenzie Bride goes back to the eve of the battle of Culloden, right back to Malcom Mackenzie with his brothers and father. One brother fancies himself a Jacobite for the Bonnie Prince, but not the others, at least so far....
 
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