Years ago, I was invited by a friend to join a book club.
We gathered at a lovely home and were introduced to each other. Everyone was highly educated, well travelled with demanding careers... I was the only stay at home Mom among them.
We went through suggestions for various books. Some of the titles vetted were A Year in Provence, On Foot Through Africa etc. All interesting books. Our lovely hostess looked around and tentatively suggested that we choose a romance novel or a bodice ripper as we like to call them in our house.
A chorus of boos and nos followed her suggestion.
When my friend and I walked out of the meeting we talked about the books we had been reading. We were catching up on our lives. I had been in Italy for a month and read Italian books voraciously when I was there. In the past month I had read about 30 books. My friends jaw dropped... and then I added... and 28 of them were Harlequin.
She burst out laughing.
Really easy books in Italian are perfect on vacation. I can brush up on my Italian with phrases to my husband like...
Your eyes are green like a stormy sea...(I actually said mould.)
You get the picture. I may not say it perfectly but he's not complaining. These educational aids were surreptitiously tucked into serious literature to avoid teasing from my in laws.
I revealed this secret to my friend, trusting she would understand or at least think it was entertaining. Little did I know, she had her own secret. It turned out that her neighbour had given her old Harlequin novels. My friend had been cracking them open just before bedtime and she stated I've never slept so well.
Other people can say what they like.