Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is why Romance has a bad name

So I was shelving fiction this morning and there seemed to be an unnatural number of paperback romances on the cart, and I happened to start noticing the titles. It was hard not to notice the titles. So I had to look more up over my lunch hour, because they were really too hilarious to ignore. A small sampling:

The Spaniard's virgin housekeeper
Marrying the virgin nanny
Desert prince, defiant virgin
The ruthless magnate's virgin mistress
Virgin for the billionaire's taking
Bought: the Greek's innocent virgin
The Spaniard's defiant virgin
The Greek tycoon's virgin mistress
The billionaire's virgin mistress
The sheikh's convenient virgin
The Spanish duke's virgin bride
The sultan's virgin bride
Taken: the Spaniard's virgin
The desert king's virgin bride
The Greek's virgin
Forbidden: the billionaire's virgin princess

Now, these are contemporary romances put out by Harlequin. (I guess I should not use the phrase "put out" after listing those titles.) And those are not all of the titles I found under the search. (Those are all from 2009 and 2008, by the way, lest you believe I am tainting the pool by pulling from books published in the 1940s.)

In reviewing the titles, I think it is clear that they played a name game to come up with them. Man = Spaniard, Greek, sheikh, billionaire, etc. Woman = virgin. For kicks, they would throw in a princess, bride, or mistress every now and again. Just to mix it up, keep it real.

I was gleefully horrified by the titles, so instead of searching for the search term "virgin," I typed in "Harlequin." Some of the other titles don't even make sense:

The Sicilian's ruthless marriage revenge

What does that even mean??? Is that a sentence?

These were some of the ones I found particularly horrifying/creepy. Enjoy:

The Italian's ruthless marriage command
Pleasure, pregnancy and a proposition
The Greek's million-dollar baby bargain
Housemaid heiress
The prince's waitress wife
The boss's bedroom agenda
The rancher's runaway princess
Bought for the Sicilian Billionaire's bed
Pregnant: father wanted
His mistress, his terms
The Mediterranean billionaire's blackmail bargain
Ruthlessly bedded by the Italian billionaire
Spanish doctor, pregnant nurse
Billionaire doctor, ordinary nurse
Bought for revenge, bedded for pleasure
The millionaire's inexperienced love-slave
Purchased: his perfect wife
Housekeeper at his beck and call
Promoted : Secretary to bride!

I just have to add: shame on you, Harlequin! What horrible titles! I don't even want to think about the books themselves! Ick!


Sarai said...

From Lynn in England:

You know that game where people get a list of book titles (I think it's done with dr suess books) and they have to guess the fake book?

It just seems to me that romance novels would be great for that game, if you could make up a title far fetched enough. It occurs to me if you were to set up a game on your blog a search for Gerry springer show titles make produce some fake romance books.


Sarai said...

From Roger:

“Bought for revenge, bedded for pleasure” is a must read. It was outstanding.

Oh how I love Harlequin