The book includes:
A brief introduction to romance and how it has been regarded.
A short history of Harlequin and some details about sales and the paratexts of the novels.
An analysis of the heroines and heroines and their typical traits (e.g. the percentage who are orphans, marital status, appearance, nationality, typical jobs) as well as those of other characters, in particular rivals. The authors note that sometimes the same character will appear in more than one novel (references is made to novels by Janet Dailey and Violet Winspear).
A chapter on point of view (which notes that interior monologue by the heroine is common)
A chapter on settings and time. It is observed that heroines tend to go on journeys to new locations. Thanks to the details regarding exotic locations, the readers may feel there is an educational aspect to their reading as they learn about the location, its culture (e.g. food) and may be taught a few words in a foreign language. There are descriptions of feminine and masculine locations. The chapter ends with a discussion of the passage of time in romances (e.g. when it passes more quickly).
A chapter which focuses on common stages/scenarios in the plot (from the initial meeting of the protagonists, through sex scenes, to the declaration of love and marriage). Some are present in all texts, but elements may vary e.g. meeting as part of one character's revenge, or due to work. A list is given of various types of illness and injuries present in the texts in the corpus.
One of the stages discussed is that of confrontation/conflict (in particular sexual conflict) and it is given its own chapter.
A discussion of marriage and how Harlequin romances are changing in response to wider social changes.
One appendix reproduces some "Harlequin Editorial Guidelines," another gives details about the family and marital status of Charlotte Lamb heroines and a third lists the occupations and details of the physical appearances of Lamb's heroines. Similar details, including nationality, are given for Lamb's heroes and the characters who act as rivals. The final appendix is a reproduction of a questionnaire which Harlequin use to elicit feedback from readers.