Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Reading romances--then and now

Remember I wrote about the friend I met after 22 years. We were school buddies. We used to devour romance novels (Mills and Boon, for you all) at that time. Sneaking those inside our books and reading in the classrooms. Somewhere down the line, 20 years to be precise, I gave up on those. I graduated to other stuff and never missed the romance novels much.

Now Rina, this friend of mine, remembered me as the school girl she had known me as. So here she comes to my place and gifts me 15 (15!) Romance novels. Mills & Boons, Harlequins, what nots...I didn't even know these still existed. I will not say I was thrilled which I wasn't. Maybe she thought I needed those after looking at my still single status.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I started those with some misgivings. In no time I was hooked. I finished all 15 within a space of 5 days...averaging three a day. I agree after some time I did not know which was which but it does not really matter.

Nutshell is they meet, they fight, and they kiss and make up and live together happily ever after. But that’s not what I want to say. I find some similarities though there have been vast differences in those novels I read in 80s and now.

Similarity is that the hero is as handsome as ever. Tall, dark and very handsome in a rugged sorto way. He always has a scar somewhere on his body. The heroine is very beautiful, with a great figure.

Now for the differences:

In the eighties, those were kind of mild. The hero was either a tycoon, banker, rancher, prince or something like that fully loaded with money or what have you. Hope you get my gist. He was almost above the age of 35. The heroine was a secretary, nurse, governess, and housekeeper or was so young as to be made a ward of the hero. She was never with money. (Exceptions are there!) She was around 17-23 years. The age difference was always around 8-20 years. The girl was always untouched except by the hero. He was the only man in her life. Even if they parted and met after a few years, she remained one man woman. That can't be said about the hero. You see, man of the world and all that.... (Well, that's another thing altogether). In those novels, they only held hands, kissed on the last page and/or if there was love making scene it was never worded. Implied is the operative word.

Speaking of now, the hero is a trouble shooter, television journalist, undercover agent, and commander, Professor, artist, whatever. No change in his age. He still is more than 35 years of age. Has to have money! What is a hero without money? The heroine is not the simpering idiot any more. Very much the woman of the world. As powerful as the hero. And with as much clout and finances, sometimes more. Now the heroines are older, 26-35 years. They know what they want. They are not shy to get into bed with the hero if they so desire. Infact it starts with sex right in the beginning (page 1) and love follows much later, if you call that love. These so-called romance novels have become pornographic. How times have changed. Romance is no longer the same. We can't blame the new writers when sex stares at you from everywhere. Just look at the book covers!

To tell the truth, I did enjoy reading these after so long. Mushy or whatever! Romance novels, here I come!


  1. It has been ages since I have read one of these romance novels.
    I used to get so carried away with
    the pure romance of the books, and did enjoy reading them.
    I shall have to try reading one of the newer versions...sounds quite steamy by your description.
    So, sex is the big seller of the
    romance novels now!
    Guess that's just how it is today!
    I'll pick one of these books up
    when I'm at the library tomorrow....
    and, let you what I think.

    Enjoy your day!


  2. Where do you go to apply to be a romance novel hero??? Enjoyed reading!!

  3. It can be fun to immerse yourself in trashy novels - a great escape. And they're not easy to write apparently - not that I've ever tried.

    Meanwhile - I'm not sure you should try to win against yourself. If you win against yourself you will also lose. Maybe the trick is to have a companionable self - one you can just get along with, have fun with - and complain to when she reads romantic fiction all the time!


  4. meeting after 22 years! that must have been magic!

    I dont read much rommance stories as I am stuck with SF i guess, but some stories are just really good to ignore last time back in school. The evolution of the stories tells of the passing times when the need to satisfy must be greater to meet the needs of the numb soul. The media killes the media. :D

  5. Margie, believe me those are steamy.
    I am glad I read those though. It seems I had missed out. Intellectual stuff is ok but romances are what which make you feel good. I re-discovered that brfore it was too late.

  6. Pat, you just have to be VERY rich and tall,dark and handsome! I forgot to mention that...:D

    About the second one, you are good looking. Rich part, I wouldn't know!

  7. roger, yes. It is. I am kind of hooked and this weekend I plan to get lot more.

    Writing part, I never thought of it. Who knows, one day?

    Oh, I have won a little and lost a little. I have this pact with myself. So I and myself are in complete sync now!


  8. Ghost, Stick to SF. Romance novels are for girls. You cannot compete with the HERO. So why even try?

  9. Good for you! I haven't read a romance novel in about 20 years, but I remember how being able to just read easily and effortlessly and be carried away into that world of fantasy was something purely fun and full of imagination.

    Thank you so much for your visits, and for your kind comments. Your lovely presence is so welcomed and appreciated.

    Peace and well being to you.

  10. Your visit this morning made me
    I am glad I know you too!

    Have a wonderful day!


  11. Glad to see you here, serenity. You got a great thought provoking blog.

    Try reading romances yet again...:D

  12. margie, thanks. You are one great person.