The Mills and Boon Centenary debate took place at the Oxford Literary Festival last week and one hundred and fifty romance readers, authors and supporters came along to enjoy a wide-ranging discussion on whether heroes and heroines had changed with the times. Favourite heroes and heroines mentioned included Anne Elliot from Persuasion and Georgette Heyer’s rakes, beaux and spirited heroines. It was generally agreed that heroes and heroines of such quality had stood the test of time and were as relevant now as they were a hundred or even two hundred years ago. The panel and audience also discussed whether Regency heroines would have been as obsessed with their weight and appearance as the Bridget Jones generation!
Other topics covered included an impromptu show of hands from the audience as to whether readers thought there were too many love scenes in books these days and whether people skipped these in order to move on with the plot! A brave few maintained that for them the love scenes were an integral part of the story and something they would never skip. There was also a lively debate on whether men could write romance from a female point of view. The evening was rounded off with a complementary glass of champagne from sponsors Mills & Boon as the authors signed copies of their books and readers were given a goody bag to take away. All in all a most entertaining event and thank you to all who came along to support it. I hope that a good time was had by all!