Love Makes the World Go Round (?): The Romantic Novel as a Publishing Phenomenon

Publication year

provided that the author has sufficient skill to make the subject come alive for the reader, almost any topic can be covered and Mills & Boon romances have successfully featured aspects of the darker side of life which might be expected not to sit comfortably within the genre. For example, a heroine with breast cancer who suffered a radical mastectomy at the age of twenty-three, another who was a drug addict; a hero who was awaiting trial for rape; the slow death of a child as a central theme. Authors have also dealt with post-natal depression, the nuclear debate, deafness, gang-rape, teenage delinquency, conservation, illiteracy and single-parent families. Readers have received such books with a surprising degree of acceptance and enjoyment, although they are quick to signal disapproval of what they do not like. For example, a recent hero who smoked attracted quite a few adverse comments.

Of course, society is constantly changing and with it the readers' perception of what is acceptable in escapist fiction. (64)

This was reprinted in The Cottage by the Highway and Other Essays on Publishing: 25 Years of Logos, ed. Angus Phillips (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2015): 20-30.