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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

WARNING! Mills & Boon books a danger for your health!

I decided to have a browse of the web recently, seeing what M&B and Harlequin-related information I could come up with. And boy, did I find a lot of hatred.

The title of this post refers to a comment on a discussion board, where the poster argues that M&B books are dangerous to readers, apparently because real life doesn't always have happy endings like in a category romance (really? you could have fooled me!). This means that unsuspecting readers of Mills & Boon might end up getting confused between fantasy and fiction (wow!). In a nutshell, some poor reader might get it into their head that the romances that play out in our favourite books are REAL, and thus they might be ill-prepared for the harsh realities of the modern world as a result.

Excuse me?? Who on earth would get confused between a FICTIONAL romance and real life? Nobody I know, that's for sure! I foolishly imagined that any sane person would understand that these books are written for the purpose of ESCAPISM. There's nothing better than escaping from the oft-depressing modern world and curling up with a pleasant, happy and rewarding love story. Mills & Boon books are no different to any other genre fiction. Chick-lit makes you laugh, horror makes you scared, and thrillers have you on the edge of your seat. A category romance makes you fall in love - all from the comfort of your favourite armchair. These books have their place in society (and have had for hundreds of years) and can in no way be considered harmful to any reader.

Elsewhere on the web we have people gloating over the fact that thousands of M&B books were pulped to serve as foundations for the M6 Toll Road... but MY question is, how sad can you get? If you don't like M&B books, then don't read them! It's as simple as that.

When I first met Sue, I'm sure I was as disdainful of Mills & Boon books as most guys who know nothing about them are. But I could see for myself that Sue loved them, so I wasn't about to ask her to stop reading them in favour of some more 'worthy' work of literature. Of course, things have changed, and now I've begun perusing them myself, I can see where the attraction is - these books have a magic that it's hard to find elsewhere.. .

But my point is, why are people so outraged and furious about the humble category romance? Is it because, perchance, they're FRIGHTENED of it? That they can't possibly understand that we LOVE reading M&B and that these books often bring pleasure to people's lives? Could it be (gasp) that they're actually a little bit ENVIOUS of the enduring success that these books have??


Lynette said...

Hi Gray,

I would actually argue against the person who commented on Mills and Boon books being bad for your health that they are the total opposite: good for your health! I always feel so much better after reading a book where the couple resolve their conflicts and come to a resolution with a happy ever after [feel good] ending!

I also wrote an article once about this topic, sending questionnaires out to romance readers who said reading these kinds of books improved their love lives no end. :)

And what a waste of all those Mills and Boon books. Surely they could have been donated somewhere to cheer people up, like old people's homes or something?

Interesting topic!


Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for your post, Gray.

Love is pretty scary, I guess. All that caring, sharing, having fun together.

Better read a horror...


Stacy Dawn said...

OMG that is so ridiculous and I truly feel sorry for those who don't believe in happy endings in their own lives.

Melissa Marsh said...

The backlash against romance novels will never end. For some reason, there are those people that have to bash the genre to make them feel better. I say ignore 'em and read what you want to read. You're probably a lot happier than them anyway! ;-)

Sharon J said...

Almost everybody I've spoken to who have had something negative to say about HMB romances are people who have never actually read one.

Is that true about them being under the M6 toll road? How quaint! I love the idea of driving on such romantic foundations!

April said...

That sucks, cause I've been waiting for my husband to turn into a tall, sexy Greek surgeon who has given up his practice in order to help orphans, only he's decided that I am the sexiest woman on earth and has a hard time breaking away from holding me to do any work. But it's all ok, because we can live off his family's fortune, passed down from the centruries they were the reigning aristocracy. And NOW someone is telling me this isn't going to happen? What? Thanks for busting my bubble. Tell those party poopers to keep their noses out of my imagination!

Gray said...

Thanks for all your comments guys. Good to know I'm not alone on this one.

Sharon, yes I think it is true about that toll road. Doesn't bother me though - I'm all for recycling :^)

Judging by all your comments, the best thing for us to do - to wind up these oppressors and make them oh-so-angry - is to keep on reading (and writing) the books! The more the merrier I say!

I for one am gonna do all I can to champion the cause.

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

WOOHOO, and so say all of us!!

I never thought you'd be converted so easily. And, I certainly never imagined that one day I'd have a hubby who'd feel strongly enough to champion our cause!!

How lucky am I?!

Mega hugs,
Suse xx

Sharon J said...

I doubt many HMB writers have husbands who write for HMB too! You must be a unique couple.

Gray. Have you thought about a pen-name yet?

Gray said...


As Sue and I will be joint authors of this book, we're planning on a simple and obvious choice: Susan Graham :^)