Thursday, May 10, 2012

What is Women's Fiction?

I was talking with Brie from Romance Around the Corner the other day about authors and books that we enjoyed...  and it gave me an idea for a discussion topic. However, while I was figuring how to introduce that discussion, I ran into a little obstacle. What is the definition of women's fiction? And then, I realized that not everyone had the same definition of women's fiction...

If you look it up on Wikipedia - most reliable source on the internet *sarcasm*, here is what you'll find:
Women's fiction is an umbrella term for books that are marketed to female readers, and includes many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick lit,"and other sub genres.
In a broad sense, I guess yes, that's what women's fiction is. However, when I say women's fiction, I mean the genre... and well if it's women's fiction, can it be romance and chick-lit as well? I figure also that everyone has its own definition of women's fiction - the genre, and I got curious :)

What is Women's Fiction for you? How would you describe the genre?

For me, women's fiction can contain strong romance threads or romantic elements, but it's more about the journey of the heroine than the HEA ending. As a result, I often associate books with older heroines or heroines with grown children to women's fiction. I feel the empty nest syndrome is a perfect platform for women's fiction, because that's when many heroines are starting a new life and searching for their identity. Obviously, it's not limited to those storylines, but I find the identity question is a recurring theme.

Also, I consider books in which there are many women of different ages going through different stages of their lives to be women's fiction. The different friendships, relationships and feeding each other off from their experiences are part of the journey.

For example, Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series, Susan Wigg's Snowfall at Willow Lake and The Goodbye Quilt, Susan Mallery's  Already Home and Barefoot Summer are women's fiction books for me. In many cases, there is a very fine, thin line between women's fiction and contemporary romance... but  I think the distinction is there.

 Agree, disagree? I'd love to hear what you have to say :) So feel free the comments!