Yes, according to my calculations, there is definitely such a thing as the "intellectual" romance. These are stories written from a more cerebral point of view, engaging the brain, the intellect of the reader. These stories are clever, subtle, and tend to engage my mind more than my heart. And yes, there is definitely a time and a place for the intellectual romance in my reading life.
I thought of this as I read Courtney Milan's "Proof of Seduction". Right away I could tell this would not be the type of romance that I normally read. Courtney's story was smart and intriguing, and appealed to me on a different level than what I am used to. Yes it involved two characters falling in love with each other, but we also saw beyond their physical attraction to the workings of their mind, and how they circled each other and related to one another on an intellectual level.
That being said, it doesn't mean there isn't passion and attraction between the characters, because there is, and it simmers deliciously under the surface most of the time. But the main focus of stories like this are the verbal exchanges, the mental engagement between two well-matched individuals. They do not fall in love lightly or spontaneously. Even when they give in to passion, they still retain their sense of self to a great degree. Individuals like this must fall in love with more than their hearts.
What I like about stories like this is that they do engage my brain, and I have to focus on the story from a perspective that tends to get rusty from time to time, but it's invigorating to stretch those reading muscles. When I read a story like this, I know the author is trying to challenge me, and it's up to me to discover whether or not I am up to that challenge. It's not my normal reading mode, and while it's not outside my comfort zone, it's not a place where I exist on auto-pilot as a reader. I know I have to pay more attention, I have to watch for clues and hints and watch as they unfold before me on the pages.
Courtney Milan is just one example of this type of writer. Another that comes to mind, especially after reading Courtney's book, is Sherry Thomas. I was reminded several times of her novel "Delicious" - not because it had a similar plot - because of the intellectual element of the story. It's like watching a BBC movie rather than a stylized Hollywood version. Both are wonderful to experience, but each has a time and place when it works best. Some days I want the glitzy, all-out extravaganza, while others I long for the softer, less obvious adaptation.
Oh, how fortunate we are as readers to be offered so many different choices.
Are you a fan of the intellectual romance?
What authors come to mind that write similar stories?