M and B – Hearts, Roses and Cliches

Have you read any M & B? Wait a moment, let me rephrase the question. Do you know what exactly M & B is? No! It is not the 13th and 2nd letter of English alphabet. Okay, it is, technically. But you’re well past the nursery age, so of course, it would be silly of me to talk about alphabets with you. Not that I cannot be silly. Being silly is something I excel at. Every day I strive to outdo myself! Anyway, as I was saying, M & B, albeit individually are English alphabets, together they are something else altogether. A very famous something else, at that!

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It’s a publication house—Mills and Boon—a romance publication! How many of you winced at that? Very many, I assume.

Well, trust me, most people cringe, or wince at the mention of Mills & Boon. It’s pretty infamous for cheesy, formulaic, rather unrealistic romances.

But you know what? Most people who have a word or two to say against M & B haven’t actually read them! That isn’t really fair, don’t you agree? Not that I am saying they should read it. A person only ought to read what appeals to his/her tastes, I figure. Then again, not reading is one thing. Having barrels of words to say against something you haven’t even read another. It’s ridiculous, if I may be pertinent enough to say so. You are but a charlatan if you criticize M & B without reading one.

Probably you go on hearsay. Even if you criticize it based on another person’s views, let it be known that your views are based on what you heard, not read. That’s only fair. You won’t vote for a party simply because another person said it’s nice. It’s only reasonable for you to research on it, do some background checks, and weigh the pros and cons and then vote. Likewise, read a book and then decide whether or not you like it.

Coming to M & B . . .

Honestly, everything you’ve heard is true. After all, opinions aren’t wrong! They only differ from one person to another. Like, I personally wouldn’t cringe or wince at the mention of M & B. Perhaps I’d roll my eyes. Because seriously, they aren’t as bad as they seem, if you ask me. At times, they’re downright awesome. I’ve read books I’d want my dog to chew and then bury whatever is left of them. I’ve also read ones I’ve loved every word of.

They are formulaic and sickly romantic. The plot and the characters tend to steer clear of realism, by several miles no less. As a reader, you know what you pay for when you buy one. There are hardly any surprises, or twists as some would call.

They can’t be read all the time or by everyone, I’d figure. You’ve got to be in a certain mood to read them. If asked to read one now I’d rather sleep. There are times one doesn’t want to read something serious. That is when I read M & B. It’s a no-brainer, so to speak. When I’d rather not apply my head but I really crave a read, I pick one out. When I don’t have time to read but I can’t go without it (for whom reading is a passion, would know what I mean), I pick one out. It’s happy, and it’s short!

There’s a hero, tall, dark and handsome. There’s a heroine, pretty as a picture. There’s lots of getting lost in another’s eyes and cheesy dialogue. Sometimes you’ll find plenty of tripping and falling right into the arms of the heroes. (Personally, I’d love to read the guy falling into the girl’s arms!) You get the idea, right?

M & B is like a Hindi serial—albeit one that is not a chewing gum! Indian soaps are chewed and stretched so much you want to kill the producers or writers. M & B is dramatic, sometimes over the top, but not never-ending. Also, you won’t find multiple love interests or god knows how many marriages in it. It’s a tried and tired formula. You can call it clichéd.

Personally, I prefer the old ones to the recent ones. The old ones had a decent plot, I feel. In the more recent ones, I find they are on the one track line, if you know what I mean ( Like the one track mind, you know?). If someone asked me if I like M & B, I wouldn’t have a definite answer. It depends from book to book.

Also, many people see the cover and mistake it for porno. In my view, even the ones categorized as blaze aren’t that explicit. What with books like fifty shades in the market!

Talking about other books of romance genre, they may be formulaic too. Different publications, different formulas, but in essence all are rather alike. A hero, a heroin, a conflict and a happy ever after!

If I were to recommend to a first time reader a romance, M & B would certainly be no option. Mainstream romance books, the hardcovers’ as they may be called, are better. Far . . . far better! Maybe because the restrictions on the author as to number of pages or plot structure aren’t that many!

Every book has a readership it targets. M & B and the likes have their own readership. You’re not among them, well, that is all good and fine. I wasn’t one four years back, too!

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