Love, Romance, and the National Health Service

Publication year

Remembering that Mills & Boon novels were managed, with constant market research as to what the readers would tolerate and what would offend, it is significant in the 1950s Doctor-Nurse romances to find an independent spirit and outspokenness that borders on feminism and, in many cases, challenges the status quo. Here were nurses proud of their abilities and not afraid to speak their mind. Here, too, was the emergence of the female doctor, meeting her doctor-hero as an equal. Only 10 per cent of qualified doctors in Britain in the 1950s were female, but on the bookshelves they were taking over. One could dismiss this as part of the escapist fantasy, but the authors regarded this as an aspiration for their readers and wish-fulfilment. (186)