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Grown-up fairy stories

30 October 2006

'The reason romantic fiction should be scrutinised more thoroughly is that it is the code to unlock what women really want.

We go to see movies together, and TV watching is a shared experience, but reading is a private pleasure. I pick up a romantic novel not so I can impress my friends with having read it, but because I know that while I am reading it I can leave the world behind. There will be a heroine that I sympathise with, a hero I want to share a sunset with, and I know that the outcome will be happy...

Women need the grown-up fairy stories of romantic fiction in order to make the random cruelty of everyday life more bearable. And before men sneer at women who read romances, they should ask exactly why they need to read a book about the siege of Stalingrad or the SAS. Do they perhaps find facts less threatening than stories that deal with emotion?'

Daisy Goodwin in the Sunday Times, talking about the research and thinking behind her TV series, Reader, I Married Him.