I write book reviews, I also write books, and occasionally I write about myself!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A guilty pleasure ...

I am here today to confess to my guilty pleasure of being a massive romance novel fan. Yes, you heard right, I love reading romance novels, i.e Mills and Boon, Harlequin etc!

So many people think that these books are poor quality and read only by lonely 40 year old housewives, well, not true. These books are not only quite well written and edited (not to mention the variety marketed) but they are pure escapism for the reader. Who doesn't want to escape from the minutiae of their everyday lives for a couple of hours a day?! Oh, and I bet you wouldn't guess that over 50% of readers have some form of university and/or higher education!
Also at just over £3 a book, these are very good value. I do read other books and the last time I walked into my local Waterstones (p.s. there are other book shops available including the fantastic Amazon online! lol) a recent best seller paperback was over £10, that's pretty expensive, especially in the current economic climate!

I recently read an article on The Telegraph's website (link) discussing how, with the introduction of electronic reading devices like Kindle, the sales of Mills and Boon books has more than doubled over the last year. Interesting, non!
It also discusses how the use of these devices has taken the embarrassment factor away from reading these in public, I definitely agree with this! While I have confessed to my love of reading these books, the only way I would read these in public is on my faithful iPad (thank you Apple and Kindle for iPad!!) I do read hard copies of these books, but I tend to limit this to my 'alone' time at home!

One thing I like about Mills and Boon (and Harlequin, the US version!) is the variety they offer in their genre lines, yes they are all basically the same structure - girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love, something happens to ruin it all, girl and boy reunite, and they live happily ever after - but the stories and content are all different. The lines include Blaze (steamy and sexy, best not to give one to your granny!), Cherish (pure lovely and heart warming romance), Desire (dramatic and a bit saucy!), Historical (plenty of hooped skirts and Mr Darcy's!), Intrigue (crime and drama = passion!), Medical (George Clooney in ER lovers subscribe here!), Modern (international locations and steamy passion, plus my personal favourite!!), Riva (the newest line which includes romance very up-to-date with the modern world), Nocturne (werewolves, vampires, succubi, etc a Twilight fan's must read). Also included are monthly reprints of popular books in titled omnibuses in the By Request and Special Releases lines as well as longer based women's fiction in MIRA and Special Releases lines.
There are other lines available from the US version of Harlequin, such as Harlequin NASCAR! Incidentally, Harlequin and Mills and Boon are one and the same!

For those of you still and tiny bit sceptical over the credibility of these books here are some facts from the publisher themselves -
  • 70% of the books sold in the UK each year are romance novels
  • A Mills and Boon book is sold every 3 seconds
  • UK monthly readership is over 1.3 million
  • Approx. 70 titles are published every month
  • 2008 marked the 100th years of Mills and Boon

Perhaps I have convinced you? No, well never mind I still love 'em and always will!

Oh, and one final note, if you do read these books I cannot recommend enough taking advantage of your local library, they always have plenty of books available, some which you can no longer buy and its free, free, free!

Check out the below links for the Mills and Boon and Harlequin websites for more info!

Mills and Boon UK

Harlequin US

Auf Weidersehen!

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