I finally purchased Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels and Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels. And I'm not just saying this as a fangirl... Ok, yes, I am. They're brilliant! And my perspective has been completely altered! (Ok, significantly enhanced.)
And after reading through the first five chapters of Bosoms, my hunch was right:
This completely changes/improves my romance literacy!
Next, I need to purchase/read Pamela Regis' A Natural History of the Romance Novel - and quite a few other books that are referenced/discussed in Bosoms.
This also changes (completely reconstructs) my evaluation method that I first considered for my reviews. I need to be thinking not only of the characters and conflicts, but also plot clichés, place-holders, constructs of purity, and other smarty-pants analysis stuff - so much more... Is it wrong that these two books are already starting to look like my texts from grad school? In only four days they're completely marked-up, tabbed, dog-eared, and creased.