Book Thoughts: How Times Change


When I was a little kid, my Mom was a Harlequin fiend. She’d have a stack of the thin paperbacks she purchased every month from the drug store.

In those days, the typical set up was virginal young woman age 18-21 meets an arrogant man age 33-?, realizes that there’s something attractive under all of that…arrogance, falls in love, and finally kisses (yeah, there was no visiting the hoo-ha in those days). Readers didn’t blink at the 10+ age difference.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading a blurb for a book about a young college age woman who enters a relationship with a man about 12 years older than her. One of the tags was: taboo.

Another book referenced such a relationship as being “forbidden.”

I smirked. Those used to just be called Harlequin romances.



8 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: How Times Change

  1. How funny! I also remember reading my mom’s Harlequin romances. Though I think I was reading a different type as they were “second chance” romances where the characters were older and there was most definitely hoo-ha visiting going on.

      1. Pretty sure my first exposure to “not innocent” reading was via V.C. Andrews. Either Flowers in the Attic or My Sweet Audrina. Wasn’t often shocked by what I read in books after that. What made those even stranger? My grandma was reading them and we would talk about them when we got together. Took me forever to realize that my grandma was so not typical for her generation.

      2. Those books were so influential in kicking me hard into reading, but they are SO DARK!

        Pretty sure my grandma was also the first to expose me to all the “fun” words in the English language. Especially while playing cards.

      3. Your gran sounds like a character. Have you written about her?
        I like dark books but not ones about dark sex or abuse. (I hate any kind of abuse.) I should read a V.C. Andrews or try just to see what it’s like.
        I don’t think there was any one book that got me into reading. There were just always books around the house.

      4. I have a bit here and there, mostly because she passed away years ago and I’m often reminded of her. My daughter is named after her.

        You might skip V.C. then because her dark is along the lines of a lot of really ugly topics, including rape, and some common threads in her books are incest and extremely toxic, unhealthy family relationships, the kind you could most often consider mental abuse. I don’t know about the newest books that are being written by a ghost writer now as I quit reading after she passed away and the ghost writer took over. I think it is even more bizarre if you think about how ugly these books got that I was reading them in 6th grade and talking about them with my grandmother.

        I remember a point in time when I was early grade school that I hated reading. I would do everything I could to avoid it. I tripped over Nancy Drew books and got interested, but it was a sporadic interest. Once I found V.C. Andrews that sporadic became voracious.

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