was gifted a pile of books recently, I was rather
pleased since I’m quite the bookworm. On closer
inspection, the pictures on their front covers sported
well built, good looking men entwined with voluptuous
looking, but scantily clad females. The titles were
alluring and seductive sounding. “Whaat?” I thought
incredulously, “Romance novels!” I couldn’t help having
a good old giggle, remembering how when we were
teenagers, my friends would be drooling over Mills and
Boon stories, also very romantic ones.
preferred something more realistic! One of my friends
whose dad was very strict with her, would beg, borrow or
steal Mills and Boons from all of us, since she wasn’t
allowed to read them at home. Then she would place it in
a textbook and read it through the day. Our classes were
large, about 40 of us; so the teacher would be perched
on a rostrum in front and would only see a girl
studiously reading her text. Once married, she promptly
built up a massive collection of Mills and Boon.
must tell you, although I still feel like giggling at
the heaving bosoms, the piercing, steely glances and the
breathtaking sighs, I’m actually reading through them.
The sheer absurdity and complexity of the plots are
quite amazing. The thing is, I think this type of story
targets the female segment of the market, and what
better way to forget about the normal, humdrum, day to
day activities than lose themselves in a fantasy world
of romance and excitement.
Normally these books have a happy ending (of course!).
Just to illustrate how fantastic a tale they spin, let
me give you examples of some I have just read. The first
one had this wealthy widower in his 80s who had four
daughters who were just waiting for him to die so they
could grab his fortune. So just to get even with them,
he marries this young divorcee.
there are murder attempts, they try to kidnap her little
daughter and scare her, and of course there’s lots of
hot sex! Very conveniently, there is an Adonis at hand,
who is only a companion to an old, rich lady. Neither of
the two older people object to the younger couple having
fun, in a physical relationship. Now can you understand
why I want to giggle?
other one I have started is about this half French,
absolutely beautiful female orphan, who is offered as
payment by her wicked uncle — who is an English Lord —
to another young, handsome, eligible nobleman to pay off
a gambling debt.
runs away disguised as a boy and finds work in the
kitchen of the Prince Regent. At her uncle’s house, she
has learnt how to cook superbly from the French chef
there. Then she is suspected of trying to murder someone
by putting poison in a pudding, (ha ha) runs away again,
is set upon by some louts, and is rescued by, guess
whom? The handsome Lord, of course! He discovers she’s a
woman in the rescue attempt, what fun, and then employs
her to be his pastry chef, since she’s so bewitching!
Hee hee! I think you know how it ends.
True life romance
Mills and Boon pal told me that she read a true life
romance, about a couple who were courting each other the
parents didn’t approve. So they went their separate
ways. When the lady’s husband died, someone told her
that they knew where her first love lived. So they met,
rekindled their romance and got married, even though
they live in two different continents. They were both
approaching 80! How romantic is that?
Medieval romance was expressed in the form of ballads.
Generally, there was a chivalrous hero involved, seeking
adventure, who fought and slayed various monsters, to
win the affection of a particular lady. Wow!
we had the Victorian adaptation to romance novels by
Jane Austen that became extremely popular. The most
popular of her books is probably Pride And Prejudice.
Hot on her heels were the Bronte sisters, Charlotte’s
Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights. After the
suffragette movement, women became more liberated and a
more independent protagonist emerged. With the advent of
the paperback novel which was mass produced, these were
even more widespread.
there are lots of romantic movies, so you get the visual
aspect too, but somehow there’s nothing quite like
curling up and getting lost in oblivion to your
surroundings with a book!