Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon

Synopsis

This is the first history of Mills & Boon, the British publishing phenomenon which has become a household name, synonymous with romantic fiction. On the firm's 90th anniversary, Joseph McAleer has written the first history of Mills & Boon, drawing upon a long-lost archive of over 50,000 letters which reveal the intricate relationship between editorial policy, social attitudes, and sales. McAleer examines the dictates of the Mills & Boon formula and demonstrates how novels were 'Managed' by the firm to ensure maximum sales and to nurture a cadre of loyal readers in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth. The result is a cultural phenomenon whose 'product' reflected the attitudes and morals of the age while offering women an addictive escape from everyday life. It's a fascinating read for anyone who's ever wondered about writing a Mills & Boon, or wants to understand the story behind one of the most successful British firms of the twentieth century.

Excerpt

Publishing is how you relate to authors.

Alan Boon

Mills & Boon is a trademark that is so imbued in the British psyche. It's like
Blackpool Rock. It is a tremendous pull. If anyone says Mills & Boon, you know
immediately what they mean.

Jane Donnelly

IN a dusty corner of the Mills & Boon archive at the firm's headquarters in Richmond, outside London (the address, fittingly enough, is Paradise Road), lies a tattered notebook called Boon Mots. Subtitled 'An Anthology of Artless Extracts culled from the writings of Mills & Boon's Authors', the book was compiled over several years by the firm's editors, who copied and pasted in memorable entries as they read manuscripts--and before they applied the blue pencil. The collection was intended for amusement, and it certainly is amusing. Of the hero in one novel, for example, it is said, 'He looked like a two-egg man,' and, 'Lucky man, Magnus, not only a leading stud but a profitable banana farm.' The heroine's curiosity 'seemed to leap forward on its own violation'. About her Mother, 'It was easy dishwashing and she did have a conscience about Mummy, who was frequently under the doctor for something or other.' The heroine in one of Mills & Boon's famous Doctor-Nurse novels hears the surgeon whisper during the operation, 'Careful--a small prick coming.' Seduction scenes, which were intended to be serious and romantic, sometimes had the opposite effect:

'My darling, help me to grope back to your white ways,' he said, his voice hoarse with emotion.

'You won't have to grope. You got there last night.'

In another manuscript, the hero pledges his eternal love: 'Anything you desire--I'm ready, willing, and able, as the hose pipe said to the fire.'

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