Sunday, November 02, 2008

Of Knights,Damsels and Mills and Boon

I accidentally stumbled upon this link about a hundred years of Mills and Boon.I was reminded of the one and only Mills and Boon romance I read as a precocious 12 year old. I discovered a dusty and tattered copy of 'The Son of Adam' flung away at a corner of a loft. 'The Son of Adam' was in the exalted company of 'O Jerusalem' and other books of caliber,but to a wide eyed adolescent damsels and knights held more promise than the uncompromising research of Lapierre and Collins.

The Damsel

'The Son of Adam' was the story of a distressed damsel who eventually rescues the unlikely knight.Dove Gray,the heroine who in every way epitomizes the 'English rose',is suddenly shunted out of a sheltered and fettered existence in her attempt to get her parents out of a financial scrap.She decides to take up a position as an au pair to the children of a wealthy Arab sheikh.She is interviewed by the hero,a close friend and confidant of the sheik.

The Knight

I don't recall his name so I will refer to him as 'the beast'.'The beast' fits the tall,dark,rugged and formidable stereotype of the typical romance novel of the 1970s.He has this jagged scar across his jaw that came from the time he saved the life of the sheik.'The beast' seems to disapprove of Dove and her slow learning curve.Yet, he is passionately taken by her beauty.

The Story

Dove Gray struggles to get accustomed to Arab customs that have her confounded and miserable.'The Beast' doesn't make life easy; with his endless censure of her activities at one end and his tormented lust at the other.He asks the sheik if he can marry her.The sheik being hospitable and quite indebted to the hero consents immediately.They are married much to the horror of our poor damsel.She eventually breaks the thing off.'The beast' is devastated but nevertheless lets her go.She slowly comes to terms with her stifled attraction and affection towards this vulnerable rock with a core of whipped cream.They eventually marry and 'live happily ever after'.

I flipped through the pages of 'The Son of Adam' faster than I turned the raciest portions of 'The Da Vinci Code', I giggled at the pathetically unromantic confessions of love and at the end I cooed when the hero begs her to 'save him'.The appeal of a Mills and Boon novel doesn't lie in its saccharine coated pill of delusion or in its soap operatic thrill.It lies entirely in the fact,that despite being badly written,it carries an irresistible pull.Happy hundred Mills and Boon!

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