Love Stories

Fact. Harlequin sells 4 books a second. That's 240 romance novels, a minute. Question. Who's buying? Ladies, please. Don't a...

Fact. Harlequin sells 4 books a second.

That's 240 romance novels, a minute.

Question. Who's buying?

Ladies, please. Don't act all feminist and cringe. The time has come to admit the fact that you've not only read a romance novel, but you also, secretly, love them. And for a variety of reasons. There are a few who loved the romance, few others the passion but most of us just love it for the extreme entertainment value.

Allow me to elucidate.

A typical romance novel is written in a tone which would expect me to empathize with the
heroine/protagonist, so that the more I read the book, the more I connect with the character and her trials, and well, feel for her. Incidentally, the typical romance-novel heroine is almost always a 5'9" blonde with never ending legs, big brown eyes, curves to die for and a highly successful career, but oh my god, she has elbows. I have elbows too! Wow, I really feel like I KNOW this woman, almost as if we're in a parallel universe. Freaky.

But there is no Love in her life. No Passion. No Romance. No mad monkey sex, even. And just when you think you can actually empathize with her, a sudden twist of fate makes her meet Mr.Man. The books get particularly hilarious at this point with their descriptions of Mr.Man. Here's an example (Slow Hands - Lisa Kelley) :

She had not imagined anything like those shoulders, which were about the width of a small bus, or the bulked-up chest straining against the fabric of his tux. Nor the thick dark hair, cut short enough to tempt a woman to do some finger tangling while not drawing one bit of attention away from the slashing brows, the prominent cheekbones, the stubborn chin.

I hadn't imagined anything like that either. But don't fall off your chair just yet. It gets better.

The chest was, as she already knew, huge and strong. The throat tanned,the neck corded with muscle. His strong jaw jutted in classic male determination. His face was freshly shaved, she’d imagined, for tonight’s event, but already displayed a hint of swarthiness that would provide the tiniest frisson of roughness if their cheeks met.

So you really can't blame our heroine for falling for him now, can you? The strong male jaw. The bus sized shoulders. BUS SIZED.

And this is just one example. There are a hundred different variants, all unique descriptions of raw male beauty, including phrases like "His crisp white shirt perfectly accentuated his rippling muscles", "His shorts did less to cover the muscular shafts of his thighs" and "When he ate, food got stuck in his hairy mustache". Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift. Chuck Norrises, all.

Now is the time we must empathize most with our heroine. What would you do when you met a Man with a strong male jaw and bus sized shoulders? Would you -

a. Sleep with him, or
b. Have monkey sex

Such are the complex choices life throws at you. Sigh. And so, they do it, have heated passionate encounters which are described in great detail. I'd post an example, but please. This is family blog.

The books are just high entertainment from this point, and so completely crackpot, that they're unputdownable. It makes you accompany the heroine right from her shuddering spasms to the ache in her loins and even the pain in her empty heart which was caused by Mr.Man who wouldn't make her coffee in the morning because his parents died in a car crash or some sloppy excuse like that (the bastard!) and then finally the merriment and utter happiness that she experiences when she gets back with him.

There are no intellectual values to these books, let's be honest here. No moral debates or male-female prejudices. It's trash, and so completely fun, entertaining and ridiculous that we can't help but read more. But most importantly, inside every one of these trashy, harebrained novels there is something that every woman wants - A happy ending.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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  1. Hahaha! Loved! I have two sisters and a whole gaggle of aunts and cousins who live on this kind of stuff. Mercifully, the missus is quite immune.

    I have also long maintained that these stories can be written by a computer program - perhaps they already are.

  2. "..the typical romance-novel heroine is almost always a 5'9" blonde with never ending legs, big brown eyes, curves to die and a highly successful career.."

    you left out "and completely unaware of the superawesome stunning beauty that she is; that only can show her, through leering glances of other dudes, which the heroine never noticed. ever."

  3. Very very true.
    the typical mokkai mills and boons fits perfectly into this category. why do women still read those books? :(

  4. So true! The thing is, when I read them just before bed, I can sleep in peace, without dreaming abt murder plots, embezzlement n other such kaamplicated matterz. Cos the ending is always gonna be a happy one. :)

    P.S: I own 2853 such books (at last count) and picked up some more ovr the last 2 mths. And no. i'm not fibbing here.

  5. yuck! Not for your posts, which are always funny. But I hate these books mainly for one reason. The (penniless) heroine is "rescued" by the (stinking-rich) hero or maybe that's the only kind of book I happened to find at my hostel.
    In contrast, I really liked "Pretty Woman", where the heroine "rescues him right back".

  6. Question: Define "Family Blog" please?

    Answer: If anyone in your family read any of this shit, they would die of heart attack, so they don't!


  7. Nalla analysis Lavanya. Have you read Saandilyaan's Tamil Novels?? You will find similar descriptions.

    One has to live in a fancy world especially pre-marriage.Guess these books serves that purpose, though the reality is completly different.

  8. I guess its less of feminism but more of age and experience that make people realise that this stuff isn't as fun as it used to be. I grumbled along similar lines here -

  9. happy ending? Sorry I had to point that out!

  10. You forgot the fact that our heroine has faced so many problems in her life, that "trouble" is her middle name. Not very unlike Abhi in Kolangal.

    Oh! And wiki defines Chicklit as "Chick lit often features hip, stylish, career-driven female protagonists, usually in their twenties and thirties. The women featured in these novels may be obsessed with appearance or have a passion for shopping"

  11. yeah rite...mills n boons released some desi stories no? wonder if it was successful...and wonder wat the storyline wld be...

  12. Hmmm.. so are these matter books? How come one of these never got into my hands? Watch panna vendiya wall clock...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. you know, i kinda disagree with what you just posted. harlequin, yes, is nothing short of a porn novel but i've read some really nice books in the mills & boon series that were published around the 1960s-70s. they had little or no passion in them and usually had sensible storylines without the "damsel in distress" stuff. and to tell the truth, these authors also wrote about the place/city/country where the story is set and believe me, those are the kind of books i remember. and those are also the ones that i've held on to.

    of course, i've grown out of that now and the books nowadays are well as close to a "quickie" that people can get before they doze off. and yeah, even i've heard of worser stuff than BUS SIZED shoulders.

    but i do miss those old ones which tried truly to be a "romance" and not a porn novel.

  15. final year girls in my colg are in peak "mills and boons" fever..

  16. best.mallu matter the point.cut the

  17. lol..
    It ain't all trash you know. It gives you what you really do want, what a girl does want and is unable to get. So it fulfills a need, when you are with that character in all her spasms and aches.Serves it's purpose. No wonder it sells like hot cakes!

    Though it is true you can't call it ROMANCE :)

  18. bus sized shoulders! nice one!

  19. Nice one !! Someone else thinks like me :) !!!!!!!!!

  20. Interestingly, any best seller seems to be like this. Dan Brown, Paulo Coelho, all write such junk wonly.

    And I totally want to meet a BUS SIZED shoulder fellow.

  21. Great post! Loved it. Nice take. Keep up the good work!


  22. Erm, I've gone all native now with kama kahani- the sultan ripped off his angarkha to reveal a chest like an afghani carpet while the begum's lucknowi mango lushness heaved in anticipation etc etc.

    PS-Love, love and all things pleasant to come your way gurl!

  23. Truely Said... :)))

    I am a new reader of your blog and finding it very interesting. :)

  24. I have a friend who has like a million books with her. I'm not kidding when I say she reads an entire book in like 10 minutes tops.

    But I guess, to each her own. She feels it's good for her - helps her escape from the real world o enamo. Sandoshama irunda seri ;)

  25. This was so funny...that I probably should not read any more of your blog in office!

    Bus Sized shoulders! ROTFL!!!

  26. I totally agree....i used to be one of those who has read every M&B ever published. Those were the teen years when I had stars in my eyes and used to dream of my prince charming on a white horse (i don't know the fascination of the white horse but there it was) and how he would take me to this never never land - i was never sure of the details - but who needs practicality when i could be in my dreamland

  27. Hi, You have brought back memories of M&B days,dying for the TDH hero and yes , yes, 'the white shirt accentuating his rippling muscles' line is oh so familiar !!! ;)

  28. First time here and so loved ur writing style! the ending note is awesome, please keep writing!

  29. @naren
    Thanks! And I think I can actually write a javascript code to generate the blurb :D

    Adhe, adhe.

    Why do men still watch porn? :D

    @Random ramblings
    I'm not surprised :) I've seen people with whole LIBRARIES of M&B.

    tell me about it! :D

    Heh. To each her own :)

    Well they haven't....yet.

    Thanks. And yes, Reality is completely different :)


    its still fun. sort of, atleast :)

    you are SUCH a boy.

    Romance actually has a variety of subcategories, including chicklit. In fact they deserve a post of their own :)

    oh that would be easy - "The Maharaja's Chamber Maid" or "The Zamindar's Passion" or "The Rani's Secret" or even "The Naatamai's Naarthanga". Maybe not the last one but you get my drift.

    @Dr KBodhi
    Oh some of them are full matter. Some are here and there matter. Depends on the book.

    @The Icicle
    Well yea, i think the taste varies from person to person, and truth be told the genre has evolved during the years as well. What I meant was that most women today read these trashy novels as a source of amusement as opposed to an actual romance.

    they'll get over it :)

    i dont understand mallu, unfortunately.

    That for some, and for some others (like me) - its a great source of amusement. :D

    same. malayalam padikka theriyaadhu.

    thanks :)


    So do i. Even auto sized is ok.

    thanks :)

    high praise! :) thanks maami, I haven't read the Indian variety yet, but should get to doing so soon; cant help thinking how entertaining they'd be :D . All my love to you too :)

    thanks :)

    appadi dhaan irukanum :)

    thanks :)

    thanks :) and we're all waiting for our prince, although i'd like mine in a white mercedes. horses are so 90s :P :D

    @soul speaks
    thanks :)

    thanks :)

  30. Kalakkals! I bet men are also the target audience for these books, and I bet most wont admit to reading them!

  31. Just giggling away like a high school nut is really funny, some of the descriptions in these books. Fortunately, after a couple of these books during the adolescent age, the attraction for this kind of reading, just went away with the blowing wind.

  32. Rom-coms have always been light-hearted, and more importantly fun to read or watch. For one, there are merry ending chick lits, and then there are these tales that tell Its better to have loved and lost rather than not loved at all! :P
    Each of these has its own flavour that you often can't get enough of! :)
    Happy Post! :D

  33. bw, men also love a 'Happy Ending', except that ..umm, err.. never mind, this is a family blog. :)

  34. What's with the strong jaw thing? You would think they were talking about a horse!

    Which kind of makes sense, because I always thought most women had a thing for horses!

  35. Good one as always!! Kudos!!
    @satish - ROTFL!!!


  36. I have been following your blog since some time now!Never fails to put a smile on my face! thank you for giving people a reason to smile! :)

  37. I have been a diligent reader of your blog for sometime now and I always burst out laughing every single time, especially in office...this post brought back memories, when I tried to read them on the someone mentioned, some of the really old ones were actually decently its compeltely mindless...anways great job on allyour posts! cheers.

  38. This brought back memories for me too. I read my first Mills & Boon in the 7th grade. :-| A little too early I guess! :) But its true, we're all suckers for a happy ending, secretly or not!

  39. Ok am bored re-reading this. Write a new article please.

  40. Bright and blunt.Stacks of Mills and Boons ...always oversold!! Good stuff!!

  41. I could feel the FIRE in you as I went reading thro' it. Good one.


  42. "Thanks! And I think I can actually write a javascript code to generate the blurb :D"//

    You needn't even bother to use Javascript, just knowledge of cut and paste is enough for writing most of this stuff! Interesting read.

  43. If there were more Harlequin novels that described the hero in terms of "When he ate, food got stuck in his hairy mustache", I'd probably read those.

    But please note that the mustache MUST be extra hairy because otherwise how can he be the manliest man, and more importantly, it wouldnt balance out his bus-size shoulders, would it? .

  44. Hey you are a gr8 writing material(well I thought I'd try and use something diff like in kk he says 'original piece') ..u can do all ur CA, CWA for ur parents and better match-making prospects in iyer/iyengar matrimony. But what stops u from writing a book like the content tat was plagiarised? I bet u r as gud if not better then Chetan for the Indian writer community, atleast.Seems there's a lot of expectations from u lady!

  45. Hey You have a nice review in Alexa! Check it out.

  46. can you tell me what is monkey sex

  47. Thats what I would call hitting the nail on its head. Thou should remember this what women do read romance novels and you more or less accept it. Next time you meet a guy who says he likes porno think twice before asking him "how do you see such stuff?" Or be ready to be answered the same way you read abt such stuff

  48. "bus" sized.. lol.. loved this post.. any one of those m n b lovers come waving the books at me ill make them read this post !

  49. hahhahaha! one hell of a post !!! loved every bit!

  50. I've read m&B only once & found it utterly stupid.I like sidney sheldon,he writes the same stuff in a more decent manner.I found Ayn Rand's 'The Fountainhead' mindblowing,it changed the way I looked at books.

  51. lol i was once at one of my aunt's house nd der was tis whole shelves filled wit mills n boon city nothing to do.nd so Out of boredom ahmmm..ya add a big karandi of curiosity too i took one nd read..then another nd was really amusing nd funny the same way u hav described.No man below 6'2 exists nd 9 inch nails (u noe wat i mean..clearly not the band) are the order of the day in tis mills world..hillarious tat we are in another place called earth inhabited wit umutated homo sapiens..(atleast a majority)

  52. The guy in the novel sounds like Rajkiran!


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