While staying with my parents recently, I found my collection of Mills & Boons tucked away in the attic. It's quite a stash. As a teenager I devoured as many as I could. There are hundreds, none of which I have read since I was about 17.
Interested to see how they were written back then, I picked up Dark Betrayal by Patricia Lake which was published in 1986. Initially the book reads like a novel from today: the language is non-jargony, the characters are largely believable - no unpleasantly aggressive hero nor annoyingly passive heroine - and there are even glimpses of the hero's point of view.
But there are differences, and blimey, do they stand out. Firstly, the plot hinges on a Big Misunderstanding, which of course is now a big no no. The heroine finds another woman in the hero's bed, (he's in the shower), storms out and doesn't clap eyes on him until three years later. Nowadays, any self-respecting heroine would charge into the bathroom, demand an explanation and then, on discovering that the hero has no idea what his malicious jealous ward is doing in his bed, would probably hop into the shower with him.
Secondly, all the main characters smoke and knock back scotch, and get this, the heroine finds out she's pregnant, but is still downing champagne a few weeks later at a party. Very 80s and a great read, but I don't think any of this would slip past the editors these days...!
Do you have old favourites and how do they vary from today's M&Bs?