During the twentieth century, with the notable exception of Georgette Heyer, romances were often tiresomely serious. Irony was dead. "Funny" took the form of teasing and cute: cute puppies, cute romance cards, cute children, cute proposals. Think of the dead seriousness of high school prom invitations. In my day, a high premium was placed on being over-the-top sweet, meaning inviters were expected to issue the invitation in a really, really adorable and unusual way: through a cassette, through a balloon bouquet, etc.
Where's Daria when you need her?
Nowadays, it is almost de rigueur--thankfully--for romances to use humor of the more rigorous kind: sarcasm (which can backfire), wit (which doesn't).
Loretta Chase is one of the best at humorous romances. She writes traditional romances (M/F), and they never fail to appreciate (this is difficult since romance writers, like any writers who have to continually produce, can run out of steam).
Some of my favorite Loretta Chases:
Lord of Scoundrels
Scandal Wears Satin (my favorite of the Dressmakers' Series)
Don't Tempt Me
|Manga version of Mr. Impossible|
In conversations, the exchanges can ramp up to The Thin Man territory as in the antique discussions in Lord of Scoundrels. This exchange from The Thin Man echoes the cadence of Loretta Chase's novels:
- Nick: Now, how did you ever remember me?
- Dorothy: Oh, you used to fascinate me. A real live detective. You used to tell me the most wonderful stories. Were they true?
- Nick: Probably not.
A full list of Loretta Chase's books can be found here.