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Romance Is My Day Job

Cover of Romance Is My Day Job

Romance Is My Day Job

A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
Borrow Borrow
"Highly recommended for romantics of all stripes."—Library Journal, starred review
Why isn't real-life romance more like fiction?

Patience Bloom asked herself this question, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like their heroines: That shy guy she had a crush on would sweep her off her feet and turn out to be a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Patience kept hoping.
Years later she found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin itself. Every day, her fantasies came true—on the page. Her dating life, however, remained uninspired. She nearly gave up hope. Then one day Patience got a real-life chance at romance, but Sam lived thousands of miles away. Was it worth the risk? Could love conquer all?
"Highly recommended for romantics of all stripes."—Library Journal, starred review
Why isn't real-life romance more like fiction?

Patience Bloom asked herself this question, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like their heroines: That shy guy she had a crush on would sweep her off her feet and turn out to be a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Patience kept hoping.
Years later she found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin itself. Every day, her fantasies came true—on the page. Her dating life, however, remained uninspired. She nearly gave up hope. Then one day Patience got a real-life chance at romance, but Sam lived thousands of miles away. Was it worth the risk? Could love conquer all?
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Prelude to a Romance

    I know there's a reason why I'm here, all pouty and sullen on this Amtrak train speeding back to New York City. There has to be. It's one of the first beautiful days of spring in 2009, but I'm not appreci¬ating it the way I should. My situation is causing me some confusion. If the irony of my lame love life and my profession as a romance editor is a cosmic accident, then life is truly absurd. This is why I need a chocolate doughnut before boarding.

    The boyfriend I call Superman is sitting next to me, looking extremely gorgeous. He's that elusive alpha male I've always dreamed of dating, the hero who fills up the pages of many romance novels— and he was mine for five months. Now we're not speaking. The week¬end at his country home was a disaster. I can't wait to be home.

    I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. At forty, I should have this part of my life figured out. And I of all people really should know better, right? I've been a romance editor at Harlequin for more than ten years. As a supposed expert in the field, the mechanics of love are familiar to me. I've read the dating books (combined with a dizzying number of romances) and given real life romance my full attention for over twenty five years. Though I never deluded myself that my hero would be James Bond or Heathcliff (who was a head case, by the way), you'd think I'd have come close. I have this vast knowledge of romance in print, a gigantic dating pool in Manhattan, and I'm no Quasimodo. But it's been a long time, and I haven't met anyone close to Mr. Darcy. Maybe it's time to take a break.

    But never a break from reading love stories. The novelty of editing romance is still there: I read romance through terrible times and it gives me a boost. Every day, I work with friendly, smart people at my job. I get to deal with writers who love writing about love. They make me love love, even when I hate it. These books even compel me to hope that everyone finds her own happily ever after—not just me. And it's not because authors send me chocolate on Valentine's Day, always ask about my personal life, supply me with manuscripts to feed my book reading obsession, and are interesting people. Who doesn't want to escape for a little while? Really, it's sick that I get paid to do this.

    Imagine the agony I endure on a day to day basis: A surly fBI agent—let's call him Jake Hunter—has to find the latest serial killer menacing a small community. Even though he has been through hell—maybe his wife died in a car crash or his partner was killed by a drug cartel—he has this crazy attraction to the town's knitting store owner with a name like, say, Cassie McBride, who happens to be a virgin. Knitting Girl has no clue a stalker—most likely an ex boyfriend or jealous friend from high school—wants her dead be¬cause she's so unforgettable. And why is an fBI agent in her knitting store? He's definitely sexy, and it's been a while since Cassie's no good boyfriend dumped her.

    Yes. This is what I want to read most of the time. My average day is a good one. In the morning, the sun hits my neck, and I'm drink¬ing my coffee and plunging into a tale of characters overcoming ob¬stacles, having amazing simultaneous orgasm sex, and then realizing they're destined for each other. It's a far cry from this sad, depressing Amtrak ride.

    I gave dating my best shot. I did everything I was supposed to do: made myself available but not too much, dated like I shopped, online dated on numerous sites, went out, was cheerful, didn't talk about my ex(es) or whine. I took extra care with hair, clothes, and makeup. I was ready for...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 25, 2013
    As an editor at Harlequin, Bloom’s life was filled with romance—brooding, chiseled heroes and beautiful, headstrong, virginal heroines “realizing they’re destined for each other.” She’s familiar with the formula, but wasn’t able to apply it to her own dating life—she jumps from one short-lived relationship to another. As Bloom describes in this mostly lighthearted memoir, when she reaches her 40s, fresh out of another unfulfilling relationship, she finally concludes that “romance doesn’t exist.” Then, via Facebook, Bloom reconnects with Sam, a high school acquaintance with whom she shared one dance at a winter formal back in 1984. Bloom and Sam, who’s now divorced and living in Israel, are soon swapping instant messages and making regular Skype dates. As their long-distance relationship blossoms and they make plans to meet up in person, Bloom realizes that this love story isn’t much like the ones in her beloved harlequins—in most ways, it’s better. Throughout her memoir, Bloom riffs on dozens of romance novel tropes with a practiced hand, and her painstaking analysis of the differences between romantic fiction and real life is undeniably poignant. Unfortunately, the real love story picks up far too late in the book, after numerous digressions that range from pedestrian to tonally erratic.

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    Penguin Publishing Group
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A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
Patience Bloom
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