Novels are imaginary stories about people and events. They are written to entertain and amuse. Two thousand years ago, Greek writers told tales of young lovers. Usually the lovers were separated by terrible events and were reunited only after much hardship and suffering. This plot idea is still in use today. The most popular books for women today in North America are romance novels. Many millions are sold every year. This means that romance publishing is big business and very competitive. Companies survey their readers to determine the kinds of stories they like. One survey asked readers whether or not they would like more references to sex in their novels. Usually, romances are about love, not sex. But in today’s market, publishers are ready to give their readers what they want. The essence of the romance is to create suspense by putting obstacles in the way of the lovers. One simple obstacle is to make the hero and the heroine as different as possible.
For example, an Eastern schoolteacher meets a Western cowboy. Of course, at first they don’t like each other at all; but in time, they fall in love. Or a female social worker might meet an aggressive businessman. Quite often the heroine is a spinster who has sworn never to marry. Or perhaps she has a special dislike for the hero and his family. The romance writer must come up with a plausible way to bring the two together. There are a number of popular plots that lead to marriage. Sometimes, the heroine – out of a sense of duty – will move in with the hero to help him raise his children. Or she may be a professional nanny who moves in with a widower. A favourite plot is the marriage of convenience. Two people who don’t like each other get married for financial or political reasons, or for the sake of the children. Later, of course, they fall in love. In most cases, there is some particular obstacle to marriage. Often either the hero or the heroine already has children, and he or she doesn’t expect that anyone will want to take on their ready-made family.
Sometimes, one or the other has a physical disability, or is of a different race, class, or background. For example, the heroine may come from a very strict and proper family, while the hero may have a dubious reputation, or even be a criminal. The interest of the story lies in how these very different people come together. Usually, the hero is a very masculine type – a cowboy, engineer, military man, pirate, gambler, etc. The heroine is usually very female, but may have tomboy or spinster traits. She frequently has a strong personality and a temper and is described as feisty or fiery. A good example of the two types is Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” Nearly every romance novel will contain some promotional offer to encourage readers to order more books. Romances can be addictive, and some women read them almost non- stop. Some romances are very well written, but the majority follows a set formula. That way, the reader always knows what to expect.
a feeling of worry or excitement that you have when you feel that something is going to happen, somebody is going to tell you some news, etc
A tale of mystery and suspense
Don’t keep us in suspense. Tell us what happened!
I couldn’t bear the suspense a moment longer.
A feeling of excitement or anxiety when you do not know what will happen next [↪ tension]
In suspenseThey kept us in suspense for over two hours.
Come on then, tell me what happened; the suspense is killing me (=I feel very excited or anxious because I do not know what will happen next).
1 obstacle (to something/to doing something)
A situation, an event, etc. that makes it difficult for you to do or achieve something
A lack of qualifications can be a major obstacle to finding a job.
So far, we have managed to overcome all the obstacles that have been placed in our path.
The MP claims that there is now no obstacle to him standing at the next general election.
2 An object that is in your way and that makes it difficult for you to move forward
The area was full of streams and bogs and other natural obstacles.
Something that makes it difficult to achieve something
Put/place obstacles in the way (of something)
Overcome an obstacle
Remove an obstacle
Insuperable obstacle (=one that makes it impossible to achieve something)
Formidable obstacle (=a very difficult obstacle)
Obstacle toFear of change is an obstacle to progress.
The tax puts obstacles in the way of companies trying to develop trade overseas.
Women still have to overcome many obstacles to gain equality.
We want to remove all obstacles to travel between the two countries.
The single biggest obstacle to a Conservative victory in the next election
There are formidable obstacles on the road to peace
Something that impedes progress or achievement
Examples of OBSTACLEHe overcame the obstacles of poverty and neglect.
They must overcome a number of obstacles before the restaurant can be opened.
Lack of experience is a major obstacle for her opponent.
She swerved to avoid an obstacle in the road.
Synonyms: balk, bar, block, chain, clog, cramp, crimp, deterrent, drag, embarrassment, fetter, handicap, hindrance, holdback, hurdle, impediment, inhibition, interference, let, manacle, encumbrance, obstruction, shackles, stop, stumbling block
1 angry, and behaving in a threatening way; ready to attack
He gets aggressive when he’s drunk.
A dangerous aggressive dog
2 Acting with force and determination in order to succeed
An aggressive advertising campaign
A good salesperson has to be aggressive in today’s competitive market.
1 behaving in an angry, threatening way, as if you want to fight or attack someone: Jim’s voice became aggressive.
Teachers apparently expect a certain amount of aggressive behavior from boys.
2 very determined to succeed or get what you want: A successful businessman has to be aggressive.
An aggressive marketing campaign
Tending toward or exhibiting aggression
Examples of AGGRESSIVE
He started to get aggressive and began to shout.
An aggressive lawyer whose tactics have made people angry
Synonyms: ambitious, assertive, enterprising, fierce, high-pressure, self-asserting, self-assertive
Antonyms: ambitionless, low-pressure, nonassertive, unaggressive, and unassertive
A woman who is not married, especially an older woman who is not likely to marry
The sisters were to remain spinsters for the rest of their lives.
This word should not now be used to mean simply a woman who is not married.
A woman whose job is to take care of young children in the children’s own home
Move in with somebody
To start living with somebody in the house or flat/apartment where they already live
To start living with someone in the same home
Move in withSteve’s going to move in with her.
A man whose wife has died and who has not married again
We’re in a proper mess now
Very polite, and careful to do what is socially correct:
She was very formal and proper
Very good; excellent
Examples of PROPER
It is not proper to speak that way.
The children need to learn proper behavior.
It would not be proper for you to borrow the ladder without asking first.
She is a very prim and proper young lady.
Is this the proper spelling of your name?
You need to eat a proper meal instead of junk food.
Each step must be done in the proper order.
Synonyms: befitting, correct, decent, decorous, nice, polite, respectable, seemly
Antonyms: improper, inappropriate, incorrect, indecent, indecorous, indelicate, unbecoming, and unseemly
That you cannot be sure about; that is probably not good
They consider the plan to be of dubious benefit to most families.
(Ironic) She had the dubious honor of being the last woman to be hanged in England (= it was not an honor at all).
Probably not honest, true, right etc:
The firm was accused of dubious accounting practices.
Many critics regard this argument as dubious or, at best, misleading.
The assumption that growth in one country benefits the whole world is highly dubious
Questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality
The practice is of dubious legality
He made the highly dubious claim that Elvis is still alive and living in Hawaii.
A man of dubious character
The recent rumbles and ruptures in the financial markets are finally making people reassess the dubious systems of credit that have arisen in the past few years. —William Safire, New York Times Magazine, 19 Aug. 2007
Synonyms: debatable, disputable, doubtable, doubtful, dubitable, fishy, problematic (also problematical), questionable, shaky, suspect, suspicious
Antonyms: certain, incontestable, indisputable, indubitable, sure, undeniable, undoubted, unproblematic, unquestionable
Having the qualities or appearance considered to be typical of men; connected with or like men
He was handsome and strong, and very masculine.
That suit makes her look very masculine.
Having qualities considered to be typical of men or of what men do [≠ feminine]:
They’re nice curtains, but I’d prefer something a little more masculine.
She has a very masculine voice.
Hunting was a typically masculine occupation.
Having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man
Examples of MASCULINE
The living room is decorated in a more masculine style than the bedroom.
“He” is a pronoun of the masculine gender.
The masculine form of the Spanish adjective “linda” is “lindo.”
Synonyms: male, manlike, manly, mannish, man-size (or man-sized)
A person on a ship who attacks other ships at sea in order to steal from them
A pirate ship
A young girl who enjoys activities and games that are traditionally considered to be for boys
A particular quality in your personality
Awareness of class is a typically British trait.
A particular quality in someone’s character
A mental illness associated with particular personality traits
A distinguishing quality (as of personal character)
Curiosity is one of her notable traits
Examples of TRAIT
This dog breed has a number of desirable traits.
Honesty is one of her defining traits
Synonyms: affection, attribute, attribution, character, criterion, diagnostic, differentia, feature, fingerprint, hallmark, mark, marker, note, particularity, peculiarity, point, property, quality, specific, stamp, touch, characteristic
Strong, determined and not afraid of arguing with people
Having a strong determined character and being willing to argue with people – use this to show approval:
DiFranco charmed the audience with her feisty spirit
Full of nervous energy
Synonyms: aggressive, agonistic, argumentative, assaultive, bellicose, brawly, combative, confrontational, contentious, discordant, disputatious, belligerent, gladiatorial, militant, pugnacious, quarrelsome, scrappy, truculent, warlike
Antonyms: nonaggressive, nonbelligerent, pacific, peaceable, peaceful
Quickly or easily becoming angry
She has a fiery temper.
A fiery young man
Showing strong emotions, especially anger
A fiery look
A fiery and heated meeting
He delivered the sermon with fiery passion.
Becoming angry or excited very quickly:
He has a fiery temper.
Connected with advertising
Promotional films, events etc advertise something:
A promotional video
The act of furthering the growth or development of something; especially: the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through advertising, publicity, or discounting
Examples of PROMOTION
There was little chance for promotion within the company.
She was given a well-deserved promotion.
The company is offering a special promotion to increase sales.
The promotion of better relations between neighboring countries
Synonyms: ascent, creation, elevation, preference, preferment, advancement, rise, upgrade, upgrading
Antonyms: abasement, comedown, degradation, demotion, downgrade, reduction