About "Faith, Love, Hope and Popular Romance Fiction"


Faith, Love, Hope and Popular Romance Fiction (2020) can be downloaded as a free pdf or read via this website. A paperback edition of the book can be purchased directly from Lulu.com or from other sites e.g. the Book Depository or Amazon (UK) (US).

It explores romance novels from a theological perspective and suggests a new definition of the romance novel to complement other definitions which focus on structural elements: "modern popular romances are novels whose authors have assumed pastoral roles, offering hope to their readers through works which propagate faith in the goodness and durability of love."

The first section of the book is a general overview of how romance authors offer hope and pastoral care to their readers through works which propagate faith in the goodness and durability of love.

The second section explores some aspects of faith, hope, love and pastoral care in more detail: words and power; the different "faith" traditions in the precursors to the modern romance; what it means to hope for a "prince" as saviour; damnation as the absence of love, and metaphorical devils and hells; false or damaging forms of love and how to discern them. This section is primarily composed of chapters which focus on specific texts: Piper Huguley's A Precious Ruby (2015); Rose Lerner's In for a Penny (2010); Alyssa Cole's A Princess in Theory (2018); Nora Roberts' Three Sisters trilogy (2001-2002).

The contents are as follows:


  1. Faith
    1. The Ecstatic and Legalistic Modes of Faith
      1. Rules and Emotion
  2. Love
    1. Good

    2. Durable

  3. Hope

  4. Pastoral Care

    1. Healing

    2. Guiding

    3. Reconciling

    4. Sustaining

      1. Writing Better Life Stories

      2. Enduring and Growing after Personal Tragedy and Trauma

      3. Reframing Collective Stories

  5. Further Explorations (this is a brief overview of the chapters which follow)

  6. Words and Power: Piper Huguley's A Virtuous Ruby

    1. “The right of Representation”: Popular Culture

    2. “A history of repeated injuries”: Publishing

    3. “Obstructing the Laws”: Romance Writers of America

    4. “We hold these truths to be self-evident”: The Tasks of Romance Scholarship

    5. “The voice of justice and of consanguinity”

  7. Ecstatic and Legalistic Literary Traditions: Rose Lerner's In for a Penny

    1. Ecstasy and Asexuality (there are edits still occurring in this chapter)

    2. Pastoral Care and Escapism

  8. Metaphors of Hope: Princes and Alyssa Cole's A Princess in Theory

    1. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

    2. “Thou art my hiding place and my shield” (Psalm 119: 114)

    3. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

  9. Metaphors of Hope: Saving the Damned and the Devilish

    1. States from which it is understood salvation is necessary

    2. An Articulation of What the Final End state of Salvation will be Like

    3. The Processes By Which Salvation is Realized

      1. Fighting Demons and Resurrecting the Dead

      2. Accepting the Gift of Salvation

      3. Saving Devils

    4. Salvation as Miracle

  10. Love and rules "to prevent its aberrations": Nora Roberts’ Three Sisters Trilogy

    1. Dependence

    2. Possession

    3. The importance of non-romantic forms of love

    4. Discernment

  11. Conclusion