Words To That Effect #41 | Romance Novels

His head moved, his mouth glided up her neck with feather-light brushes to that hollow beneath her ear. Then something hot and wet… His tongue.

A Mills & Boon romance novel. The style is pretty easy to recognize – and to imitate or parody – because it works to a very strict formula. From its front cover and the precise length of the novel, to its characterization and plot, a Mills & Boon romance novel is very, very predictable. Whether boringly or reassuringly so, entirely depends on your point of view.

But, of course, this is just one type of romance novel, what’s called the category romance. There are many more. Romance is a billion-dollar industry and the biggest names – the likes of Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Johanna Lindsey and many others – are huge, bestselling authors.

Why are romance novels quite so popular, why has Nora Roberts sold 400 million copies of her books, what do we get from reading romance? And who’s Fabio?

On this episode I’m joined by Dr Jayashree Kamblé, author of Making Meaning in Popular Romance Fiction. We chat about the HEA and the HFN, the history of Mills & Boon, why romance fiction gets such a bad rap, and some of the best romance novels out there today. Her dog does not agree.

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