As the book business dwindles, one genre still reigns: romance. Often dismissed by critics as trash, these popular, female-skewing novels are a major force on the charts. Love Between the Covers explores this multi-billion dollar industry, focusing on successful authors and their communities of fans. These escapist tales, with their happily ever after endings, cater to a female community that feels the characters speak to them. However, as the demands for authors grow, can there be a happily ever after for the genre’s top writers?
Love Between the Covers is an appealing doc that looks into an oft-ignored genre with humour and humanity. Director Laurie Kahn interviews many of the top romance novelists, who openly talk about how their lives inspired their work. Beverly Jenkins started to write about African-American characters after realizing how few romance novels resonated with her, while Len Barot wrote novels as an escape from her career.
Kahn’s film is unique in how deeply it explores the creative process of romance novelists – many of whom have strict deadlines. Publishers can be hard to please, as are fans demanding more than one novel a year. The doc is a bit selective with content, though. It rarely comments on the clichés and hackneyed archetypes the genre promotes that are hardly feminist. Even if it’s a bit slack with literary analysis, the film is still an insightful look at a neglected community of storytellers.