Thursday Thirteen #4: 13 Favourite M&B Novels

I discovered my love for Mills&Boon novels seven years ago while spending a rather wet year abroad in Galway, Ireland. The many UBSs in Galway provided for a steady supply of old and new romances, which resulted in many an afternoon snuggled up with a cup of tea and a book in bed while outside storm and rain raged.

Thirteen Favourite Mills&Boon Novels

1) Susan Fox, THE PRODIGAL WIFE (bought on 21 March 2003)
A second-chance-at-love story: Five years ago Lainey left her new husband because it turned out he only married her for convenience. Or had he? When she learns that she might have been spectularly wrong about Gabe Patton, Lainey returns to the ranch in order to apologize and to offer him a divorce. Yet to her shock, Gabe insists that they stay married.
One of my all-time favourite romances.

2) Liz Fielding, A WIFE ON PAPER (bought on 14 July 2004)
When Francesca and Guy met for the first time, Guy was mesmerised — yet also unable and unwilling to act on the instant attraction because Francesca was pregnant with the baby of his brother. But three years later, that brother is is dead and has left Francesca homeless and without a penny. In his will, he asks Guy to take care of her and their small son, and enter with her into a marriage of convenience. Soon, sparks begin to fly.

3) Kate Walker, THE TEMPTATION GAME (bought on 21 February 2001 in Galway)
For years, Rachel hasn’t seen her stepbrother with whom she was once so wildly in love as a teenager and who repudiated her love in the cruelest possible way. But now Gabriel is back, dark and brooding — and she is still attracted to him. And it seems he might be, too …

4) Lucy Gordon, THE PREGNANCY BOND (bought on 7 November 2002)
On the night Kelly celebrates her divorce with a party, her estranged husband, a successful overseas journalist, unexpectedly turns up — and at the end of the party both of them end up in bed. And a few weeks later, Kelly realizes she is pregnant. To her surprise, Jake is determined to look after her and support her during her pregnancy. What is more, Kelly slowly learns that Jake is not quite the man she thought she knew so well.
One of the most unusual M&B novel I have ever read: in the course of the novel the hero suffers from severe depression and panic attacks.

5) Emma Darcy, CRAVING JAMIE (bought on 10 February 2001 in Galway)
Another second-chance-at-love story (I love those!): Beth and Jamie had been childhood sweethearts before they lost contact. Years later they meet again, and Beth is shocked to find out Jamie has turned into a cold, emotionless man. But she is determined to find the old Jamie again under the cool exterior of the new Jim Neilson.

6) Michelle Reid, MARRIAGE ON THE REBOUND (bought on 28 February 2001 in Galway)
From the backcover blurb: Shaan had been jilted by Piers Danvers on their wedding day, but Rafe Danvers was waiting to step straight into his half-brother’s shoes. Older, darker, stronger, and head of the Danvers business empire, it was Rafe who had persuaded Piers to abandon Shaan. Now, with the same ruthless determination, he insisted that she become his bride instead, even though until this moment he had acted as if he despised her.

7) Penny Jordan, LOVER BY DECEPTION (bought on 23 November 2000 in Galway)
An amnesia story!!! 🙂 From the backcover blurb: Ward Hunter had reason to despise Anna Trewayne, and an accident had placed her at his mercy. Her memory lost, she mistakenly believed Ward to be a friend and lover…

8) Lynne Graham, CLAIMING HIS WIFE AND CHILD (bought on 21 April 2006)
Part of the M&B “Queens of Romance” series, therefore two novels in one book and both of them second-chance-at-love AND revenge stories (yay for me!). Here’s the backcover blurb:

Luc Sarrazin’s marriage to Star had been intensely passionate but brief. They’d separated almost immediately and Star had disappeared, but Lucy had never filed for divorce. Eighteen months later, Luc tracks Star down, but then he discovers that Star is the mother of twins!

Only days before she was about to give birth, Emily left her husband, Duarte de Monteiro. Now he has traced her and their baby son, and he wants to bring them back to Portugal. This proud man can still make her knees weak with his slightest touch … but why does he want her back?

9) Janelle Denison, BRIDE INCLUDED (bought on 18 November 2000 in Galway)
And yet another second-chance-at-love-story. Once Seth and Josie were friends and lovers, but the feud between their families separated them when Seth chose to believe the lies about Josie instead of accepting he was the father of her child. But now he is back and owns the deeds to Josie’s home. And even worse: she is honour-bound to marry him.

10) Day Leclaire, LONG-LOST BRIDE (bought on 25 January 2001 in Galway)
Guess what! Another second-chance-at-love story!!! Nine years ago, Shayne was forced to annul her marriage to Chaz, which she has regretted ever since. But when she meets him again at a masked ball, she can resist the temptation to kiss him and seduce him and accept his proposal of a loveless marriage. But will Chaz ever forgive her?

11) Victoria Gordon, A MAGICAL AFFAIR (bought on 10 March 2001 in Galway)
Yup. Second-chance-at-love story, and here’s the cover blurb: When Ruth embarked on her love affair with dynamic Kurtis Goodwin, it was the most wonderful experience of her life. And when their whirlwind romance led to marriage Ruth believed she was the luckiest woman in the world. But suddenly everything seemed to go wrong! If Kurtis loved Ruth so much, why did he spend so much time with his glamorous partner, Rosemary? Perhaps Ruth should cut her losses and leave Kurtis. But, if she did leave, how would he react? Before too long, though, Ruth found herself wishing she’d never asked that second question!

12) Alison Fraser, THE STRENGHT OF DESIRE (bought on 10 February 2001 in Galway)
Second-chance-at-love AND secret baby. *happy sigh* Years ago, the callous behaviour of her womanising husband drove Hope into the arms of his younger brother Guy for one night of love and passion. Now her ex-husband is dead and Guy is back in her life — and he still doesn’t know that his niece is in truth his daughter.

13) Miranda Lee, THE PLAYBOY’S PROPOSITION (bought on 18 January 2001 in Galway)
When Michele is invited to her ex-boyfriend’s wedding, her best friend Tyler, impossible handsome, wealthy, and with an endless string of girlfriends, agrees to accompany her — but only if they pretend to be lovers. And soon, they don’t even have to pretend …

21 thoughts on “Thursday Thirteen #4: 13 Favourite M&B Novels

  1. Laura Vivanco

    Would I be right in thinking that most of these are Presents/Moderns? It doesn’t look as though any of them are historicals. Is that because you write historicals, or just a matter of chance? And were all of the books new when you bought them or were some of them already a few years old at the time?

    Sorry, lots of questions, but at least it’s not 13 of them.

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    Wow, Sandra. Neat list; I don’t think I’ve read a single M&B — if I have, I did it before 2003, when I became an avid BookCrosser. I’ll have to look more closely into these.

    I’m glad you stopped by West of Mars today! Thanks for the visit!

  3. Sandra Schwab

    Laura, you’re right. None of them are historicals. I’ll need to do another TT13 on historicals, I guess. I have several M&B titles from that line as well and a few of them are definitely among my favourites. (Margaret Moore, THE WASTREL!!!)

    And yes, quite a number of the books I listed were already a few years old when I bought them. Here’s a list with years of publication:

    Fox: 2003
    Fielding: 2004
    Walker: 1998
    Gordon: 2002
    Darcy: 1997
    Reid: 1997
    Jordan: 1999
    Graham: 2006
    Denison: 1999
    Leclaire: 1999
    Gordon: 1994
    Fraser: 1995
    Lee: 2000

  4. Sandra Schwab

    Carrie, isn’t it amazing? The things you can do with one neuron!!!

    Susan, if you’re interested: most of my M&B titles are up at my LibraryThing page. Just search for the tag “Mills&Boon”

  5. Tempest Knight

    I’m impressed that you that you remember the date you bought your books. 🙂 BTW, do you have the software to keep track of them? I found a cool one, and it’s a freebie. 🙂

  6. Marianne LaCroix

    You know, some may complain, but there is nothing like a good secret baby or revenge plot. I love the Presents books…greek tycoons wanting revenge which leads to hot sex. Yum!!

  7. Nicholas

    I write the month and year when I buy a book, and the city.

    A lot of M&B writers are men, but they have to publish under women’s names. I knew a man who had written several, each published with a different name. The names have to sound good, and suggest young women. So Edna McCrud, for example, would not be suitable. There were very strict guidelines laid down by M&B for the writers to follow. The only one I can remember is that the hero has to be dark haired. Blond men can be ex-boyfriends or the hero’s best pal, but not the hero himself. This was in the 1990s so maybe things have changed now. I remember too that all M&B books had exactly the same number of pages. I suspect those 2 broadcasters were jealous – M&B books are very successful.

  8. Kate Walker

    That’s a great list, Sandra – I’d agree with you on many of those titles. I’m honoured that one of my books has made it on to the list. Thank you. And I love the fact that you bought it in one of my favourite cities – Galway. (and actually one of my own favourite books)

    Nicholas – I wouldn’t say that ‘a lot’ of men write M&B but there are some. But no, the very strict guidelines are just one of those urban myths – no one ever told me that my heroes couldn’t be blond. I’ve written/read blond heroes, auburn haired heroes even grey haired heroes.

    And that number of pages – production sorts that out – the books can be 45-55,000 words but the print size/formatting/margins ensure that they’re all 186 pages long.

    Sandra – thank you for visiting my blog.

  9. Elisa

    I’m more of a “Damsel in Distress” type of romance reader (my friends despair of me). I love this list, though. I’m going to see if I can find a couple of them.

  10. Sam

    Interestig list –
    I think I’ve read one or two of these – I’ll have to go back and search through my bookshelves!

  11. Barbara B.

    Great list. Michelle Reid’s Marriage On The Rebound was a wonderful story. MB/HP authors Reid, Susan Napier, Daphne Clair, Charlotte Lamb, Miranda Lee, and a few others always write/wrote serious romances with a lot of depth.

    I love and collect Harlequin Presents from the very beginning, 1973 through the early 2000’s. I read all sorts of romance as well as other genres, but sometimes nothing will satisfy my mood but an old category romance.

  12. Sandra Schwab

    Thanks all for visiting my TT13 list this week!

    Nicholas, given the variety of stories published by M&B, the guidelines can’t have been so terribly strict even back in the 1990s. One of the most unusual (as in my jaw dropped onto the table) M&B novels I’ve read is Charlotte Lamb’s VAMPIRE LOVER from 1994.

    The reason why so many romance heroes are dark-haired is that their outward appearance often reflects their inner world: the catch-phrase that describes the so-called “alpha-hero” is “tall, dark and dangerous.” They are often moody and brooding and are tormented by dark secrets in their past. The symbolism of dark hair is just so nice to work with. 🙂

    But as Kate has already said, there are also quite a number of blond, red-haired, or even grey-haired heroes. (The hero in my next novel has carotty hair. *g*) (Hey, and for once, I don’t do horrible things to the poor guy and he’ll survive the story with all limbs still intact. *ggg*)

  13. Sandra Schwab

    Kate, thank you so much for visiting my blog! I’m so excited because you’re one of my favourite M&B authors. I actually fell in love with M&B novels during the eight months I spent in Galway in 2000/2001. 🙂

    Elisa, I’m doing the damsel-in-distress stories for my PhD project (it’s about dragons, knights and virgin maidens!), so I need some balance in my “fun” reading (and writing). But there are also quite a few M&B damsel-in-distress stories I’ve enjoyed (Susan Fox’s THE WIFE HE CHOSE comes to mind).

    Barbara, thanks to the long presence of the US army in Germany, I’ve found some really old Harlequin novels in the English Bookshop in Mainz. Some of them were originally published by M&B some time in the 1950s. So that was an exciting find! Two of my favourites among these older series romances are Violet Winspear’s THE HONEY IS BITTER (1967) and Anne Weale’s CASTLE IN CORSICA (1959).

  14. Lorelei

    Very very smart to write the date on there so you remember.

    I think I’m the only one who isn’t reading these – equivalent to Presents, right?

  15. Moondancer

    Never read anything from this Britsh Publisher. I admit, my tastes lean to the paranormal, not as much catagory romance. They seem to churn out and get rid of titles a bit rapidly for my taste (3 months from what I’ve read in the past), but JMI.

  16. Kaige

    Wow, You’re so organized about your books. I haven’t read any of these, but several look very interesting. Now, to find the balance between reading and writing! Thanks for the recommendations!

  17. Jendi

    I’m not familiar with Mills & Boon, but I have read a couple Susan Fox and Emma Darcy books. I tend toward the Regency ones myself even though Christian fiction are my favorites. I guess that’s what my one and only neuron likes. 🙂

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