Busting the Mills & Boon Myth: Category Romance as an Instrument for Change

Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation


A paper that focuses on the category romance and its place as a subgenre within romance itself. As much as romance genre writing is “mocked” in literary circles, the category romance – usually between 50 and 70 thousand words long – is often seen as its poor relation, despite impressive sales and the sheer scope of output. However, category romance can be seen as echoing the social liberalisation of women, with some of the first instances of cunnilingus in mainstream fiction, as well as the introduction of sex before marriage at a time when it was a taboo topic in society.

Today is no different, with books mirroring change and having strong independent heroines at their heart. Books can be an instrument for change and a perfect example of this is Tara Taylor Quinn’s Where Secrets are Safe series. Taylor Quinn was herself a victim of domestic violence, and her latest series is set in a women's domestic violence shelter, with characters ranging staff members such as nurses and lawyers, to the women and families that they work with.

This paper examines the way that category romance, and this series in particular, can be seen as educating its readers and as such, becomes an instrument for change.
Period11 Jun 2016
Event titleThe Postgraduate Contemporary Women’s Writing Network: Representations of Romantic Relationships and the Romance Genre in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Event typeConference
LocationSheffield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational