As salt seasons food, for me, romance enriches fiction. From Shakespeare to Sayers, Ludlum to Spielberg, writers who devise amazing adventures and unforgettable characters season their stories with romance. Salt lining the rim adds zest to a margarita. Like anything else, however, too much salt can ruin the taste. I can write a salty tale (pardon the pun), but don’t enjoy porn or even eroticism where there is sex without a story.
D. H. Lawrence, established as a novelist, not only could not find a publisher, he could not hire a typist to key the very salty Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Eventually, he paid an Italian publisher whose staff neither spoke nor read English, to set the type for the book. Even after it was published, Chatterly was banned in England through the 1960s.
When I was a kid, movies titillated us with a kiss, then left the rest to our imaginations, as cameras panned from couples on picnic blankets to the treetops. I read Chatterley as a teen, with a flashlight under the sheets. Most avid readers are familiar with that modus operandi. Over the years, it took more to stimulate audiences. We evolved to bikini movies with teeny boppers cavorting on sandy beaches, on to the X-rated flicks today, as it takes more and more to stimulate.
One of my granddaughters sighed and said, “Nana, I can hardly wait until my mother says I’m old enough to read one of your books.” Even she can read this one. Nightingale probably is PG-13.