Romance Is My Day Job
A Memoir of Finding Love at Last
Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? A surprising and exhilarating look into Patience Bloom’s unexpected real-life love story.
At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.
Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.
Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?
Finally, Bloom learned: Love and romance can conquer all.
Prelude to a Romance
I know there’s a reason why I’m here, all pouty and sullen on this Amtrak train speeding back to New York City. There has to be. It’s one of the first beautiful days of spring in 2009, but I’m not appreci¬ating it the way I should. My situation is causing me some confusion. If the irony of my lame love life and my profession as a romance editor is a cosmic accident, then life is truly absurd. This is why I need a chocolate doughnut before boarding.
The boyfriend I call Superman is sitting next to me, looking extremely gorgeous. He’s that elusive alpha male I’ve always dreamed of dating, the hero who fills up the pages of many romance novels— and he was mine for five months. Now we’re not speaking. The week¬end at his country home was a disaster. I can’t wait to be home.
I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. At forty, I should have this part of my life figured out. And I of all people really should know better, right? I’ve been a romance editor at Harlequin for more than ten years. As a supposed expert in the field, the mechanics of love are familiar to me. I’ve read the dating books (combined with a dizzying number of romances) and given real life romance my full attention for over twenty five years. Though I never deluded myself that my hero would be James Bond or Heathcliff (who was a head case, by the way), you’d think I’d have come close. I have this vast knowledge of romance in print, a gigantic dating pool in Manhattan, and I’m no Quasimodo. But it’s been a long time, and I haven’t met anyone close to Mr. Darcy. Maybe it’s time to take a break.
But never a break from reading love stories. The novelty of editing romance is still there: I read romance through terrible times and it gives me a boost. Every day, I work with friendly, smart people at my job. I get to deal with writers who love writing about love. They make me love love, even when I hate it. These books even compel me to hope that everyone finds her own happily ever after—not just me. And it’s not because authors send me chocolate on Valentine’s Day, always ask about my personal life, supply me with manuscripts to feed my book reading obsession, and are interesting people. Who doesn’t want to escape for a little while? Really, it’s sick that I get paid to do this.
Imagine the agony I endure on a day to day basis: A surly fBI agent—let’s call him Jake Hunter—has to find the latest serial killer menacing a small community. Even though he has been through hell—maybe his wife died in a car crash or his partner was killed by a drug cartel—he has this crazy attraction to the town’s knitting store owner with a name like, say, Cassie McBride, who happens to be a virgin. Knitting Girl has no clue a stalker—most likely an ex boyfriend or jealous friend from high school—wants her dead be¬cause she’s so unforgettable. And why is an fBI agent in her knitting store? He’s definitely sexy, and it’s been a while since Cassie’s no good boyfriend dumped her.
Yes. This is what I want to read most of the time. My average day is a good one. In the morning, the sun hits my neck, and I’m drink¬ing my coffee and plunging into a tale of characters overcoming ob¬stacles, having amazing simultaneous orgasm sex, and then realizing they’re destined for each other. It’s a far cry from this sad, depressing Amtrak ride.
I gave dating my best shot. I did everything I was supposed to do: made myself available but not too much, dated like I shopped, online dated on numerous sites, went out, was cheerful, didn’t talk about my ex(es) or whine. I took extra care with hair, clothes, and makeup. I was ready for any opportunity. But then years—decades—went by and here I am, still. I’ve read so much, tried so hard, and I figure I’m happy even without real romance in my life. I’m okay if it’s just me. The final verdict is: My life is nothing like these books, not even a little bit.
Or, maybe my real life romance is just around the corner. . . .
Praise for Patience Bloom's real-life love story:
“A nice, sweet, romantic story.”
— Rachael Ray
Praise for Romance is My Day Job
"What makes Romance is my Day Job unique and charming is the author's arc: a quirky combination of professional, survivor, romance genre fan, and Desperately Seeking Single...And since she shows us her best and her worst while becoming a heroine worthy of her real hero, we like her, and find her pretty brave." - Bobbi Dumas, NPR.org
“The beautiful irony of the title says it all—erudite romance editor by day, lonely girl by night. Bloom (editor, Harlequin) offers the American, real, and highly relatable version of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones…that’s bound to be consumed in great gulps. Highly recommended for romantics of all stripes.”– Library Journal, starred review
"In the end, it's not romance but something more elusive that Bloom finds: intimacy. Romance may wane as the quotidian details of cohabitation intrude on hearts and flowers, but that's when true love begins." – Kirkus Reviews
"Bloom's lively memoir is sure to captivate those engrossed in the worlds of romance fictional and real." – Booklist
"Ultimately, Patience's heroism lies in her extraordinary optimism about the male sex despite the abundance of evidence she encounters to the contrary" - Bookreporter.com
"An absolute delight. Funny, charming and totally honest. I was transported. Patience Bloom will make you believe in the power of a great happily-ever-after!" – Susan Mallery, New York Times bestselling author of Three Little Words
“This book is fantastic! Patience Bloom has written a real-life fairy tale. Romance is My Day Job is for romance readers and memoir readers alike.” —Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of On the Island and the forthcoming Covet
“I love everything about this book. Prepare to have your heart stolen and your faith renewed." – Marie Ferrarella, USA Today bestselling author of A Small Fortune
“Beautifully written, laugh out loud funny and poignant.” – Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author of The Seventh Victim
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