I am a lifelong bookworm and normally read historical fact and fiction, everyday people autobiographies and holocaust survival books. A friend's sister adores Mills and Boon and has recently given me some old ones, mainly set in medieval and Viking times (my favourite eras) as far as I can see.
Does anyone know if they'd be any good for some light reading or should I just give them to the charity shop?
I have only ever read one Mills and Boon and that was because it bought for me by a child and I didn't want to get rid of it unread. It was your standard woman's weekly type romantic fiction which I hate. It was quite well written I suppose but I wouldn't want to repeat the experience.
However, I have heard they also do a more risqué version that spices things up a bit. I think they are called Black lace. If there was nothing else in the house (and no e books available) I might give one of those a go.
They would be worth at least having a go at: Mills and Boon is/was a massive publisher with loads and loads of different authors and even though it has always been a pretty tightly controlled genre, there have been some good authors working within it. Some people are just good storytellers even with the most hackneyed of setups...
Oh and just FYI (excuse me for foot-stamping but this is My Area Of Expertise) Black Lace was never anything to do with M&B, it's a totally separate publishing imprint, now owned by Random House and if you want erotica I recommend Kristina Lloyd (for plotting, character etc - a bit dark and not fluffy) or Justine Elyot (romance with spankings).
(and if you want recommendations for Proper Filth, ask away...)
How old are they? Modern Mills and Boon can be a bit risqué whereas the old ones tended to be nurse meets moody doctor! If you are a member of a book group it makes a fun evening if each person reads a different Mills and Boon and then talks about it as some of the plots and writing are hilarious. A lot of charity shops won't take them, but they would possibly go down a treat at a church bazaar or old folk's home!
Give them a go. I can't usually be doing with them but in my late teens I discovered that they had done a series to commemorate the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. It was genius. There was a book for each signatory country. I think I found Denmark ("Viking Magic" anyone?) and Romania trawling charity shops. I would love to find them again.
They were great for mixing extra cheesy dialogue with information about the country in a really weird way. I seem to remember one line that was something like "Not that rape and pillage was likely now, as Denmark is famous for its strong social security system combined with high taxes."
Give them a go. Let's be honest, if you're a bookworm you're probably a fast reader so I really doubt that it would take you more than an afternoon to read one cover to cover.
They're not my taste personally, although I've read them when there was nothing else available. Women are almost always saved or rescued by men and because they are written to a strict format, there is little room for anything original or interesting.
But if you've been given them for free, they are worth trying. Whatever we say, you won't know if you like them until you try.