Those of us in the Northeast US got smacked with one whopper of a snowstorm this past week, bringing many of us some big changes in plans. With a snowfall that measured in feet, not inches, that meant a lot of people wouldn’t be going anywhere for a good long time. For those of us who read, this means time to make a hot beverage of choice, snuggle under a warm blanket and dive into a good book. What could be more appropriate when stuck indoors than a classic cabin (either ship or log varieties will do) or road romance?
First, let’s get our terms laid out. For cabin romances, we have two sorts: shipboard and, well, non-shipboard. A log cabin and a ship’s cabin may not have much in common on the surface, but let’s take a closer look. Both are places where two people, in close proximity, can get to know each other, in a lot of ways, in a relatively short span of time. On the shipboard variety, our lovers are out in the middle of a large body of water; not a lot of chances for anybody to storm out and put distance between them in that case, no matter if we’re talking pirate ship or ocean liner. No matter how well or poorly appointed the ship’s cabin, it’s going to foster some intimacy. If it fosters enough intimacy, we may be crossing over into baby (secret or otherwise) territory. Romance of the open sea and all that.
Not to discount the appeals of the non-shipboard variety. Think of a remote log cabin, roaring fire, no other humans around for miles, and, quite possibly, a decent assortment of the local wildlife, including those who think our lovers might make a tasty snack. Nope, better stay inside in this case, no matter how annoying that uncultured local or billionaire/aristocrat entirely out of their element might be. Throw Christmas into the mix, and we’ve got a holiday classic going on here. If there’s a bad guy/gal out to find our lovers and do some dastardly deeds, we’ve got ourselves a romantic suspense. See above for potential baby shenanigans, because, hey, we’re talking romance novels here.
Though, again, road romances may seem like an odd traveling companion (see what I did there?) for romances that stick our lovers in a remote location, all by themselves, they really are kissing cousins, and there may even be some overlap. Road romances are far more than getting the two lovers (who may start out as strangers, or even enemies) from Point A to Point B. They’re also falling in love. However well or little the two eventual lovers know each other at the beginning of their trip, whether it’s a cross-country road trip in a classic convertible, a trek across the desert on camels, or a hike across a postapocalyptic wasteland, by the end of the trip, they’re going to see each other in a whole new light, and probably wish the journey would never end. In a sense, it never does, because once Point B has been reached, it’s a straight shot to Point HEA.
All three sorts of stories have an accelerated sense of intimacy, as our lovers are forced to focus on each other, rather than any outside influences. Looking for romances where the internal conflicts get center stage? Some of these can definitely fit that bill. With the boundless creativity romance authors possess, there’s no reason for the party to ever end. Traditional Regency/ historical romance fans know well enough that when two well-meaning strangers hop a carriage to Gretna Green, to stop the wedding of their respective relatives, there’s probably going to be at least one wedding once the ultimate destination has been reached, and, very likely, two. Contemporary readers can sit back with a big bowl of popcorn and watch the fireworks, as a high-powered business mogul finds themselves stuck in a mountain cabin, with the wilderness guide who could not possibly be more their opposite. Extra points if there’s no Wi-Fi. Dystopian fans, you know the drill; our protagonist has already been through the end of the world, and now they have to spend it with that person? The road/cabin romance is one that never gets old, and, with the ever-expanding world of romance, we know we’re in for an endless amount of new adventures.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you like cabin or road romances? Both? What about this sort of love story keeps you coming back for more? Is it the increased intimacy, the unusual locales, the thrill of the open road/sea? Do you have a favorite book that takes place, at least in part, on the road, or in a cabin of either variety? This reader will always have a soft spot for Christmas cabin novellas, and recently finished reading Beast, by Judith Ivory, a wonderful Beauty and the Beast retelling, set on a transatlantic ocean liner in 1902. We’d love to hear your favorites as well. If road or cabin books aren’t your thing, we want to hear about that, too. Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.