I found an old M&B in my bookshelves a couple of days ago. Old being 1979. It’s even signed by the author, with an inscription that says “to Danny’s friend Charles”. I don’t know if Danny’s friend Charles would ever read this (do guys read M&B? Especially in 1979?) but hey, signed by the author is still signed by the author.
Anyway, I decided to have a read just to see how times have changed and actually it held up pretty well, apart from all the sherry drinking and phones you actually have to dial. However, though I was pleased to see that the heroine did have a job as a chef (pretty good considering chef jobs for women are rare even today), I was somewhat annoyed when the hero demanded that the heroine give up her job because he ‘doesn’t require a working wife’ (it’s a marriage of convenience). Now, this may not be unusual for Presents these days – the guys are fairly arrogant like that – but heroine’s response was ‘okay, I’ll give up my job, no problem’. Her job that she’s been working hard in. Sure. No problem. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking today’s heroine would be just a little bit upset about that. But in 1979, apparently not.
As to the characters, the heroine is quite fiesty but of the doe-eyed, little girl type, which the hero takes advantage of – lots of spanking threats. The hero is very, very arrogant and not a little chauvanistic. An example: “Carmela, for all that she is a women, is also a highly qualified accountant”. For all that she is a woman. Huh? Or how about this one: “I do not fight with women, and unless severely provoked, I rarely strike one.” Note the rarely. Obviously they liked them a bit violent back in 1979.
Anyway, for all the spankings and ruthless crushings of soft lips, the bedroom door remains firmly closed, which I suppose is kind of expected.
So, did I enjoy it? No, not really. I like my heroines to be women rather than girls and definitely, though I love an arrogant hero, they have to be sympathetic at least some of the time. I think though, these things were indicative of the time it was written. The author is still writing for M&B today – must get one of her most recent ones and do a comparison. Would they be different? I’m thinking so.
Which brings me to today’s question: what do you like in your hero or heroine? I’m thinking that striking women only rarely wouldn’t be a quality you’d want in your hero – or your heroine! 🙂