Mills and Boon Celebrates 100th Anniversary

An excellent, I thought, programme last night on BBC Four celebrating Mills and Boon's 100th Anniversary. For a few more days you can watch it again at this link: BBC FOUR.

I was a little disappointed that nobody contacted me back about this celebration, as I know some past authors - or their estates - were involved in the 100th Anniversary. But although a few of my mother's books featured in the various programmes shown last night on the BBC, that was as far as her involvement went. Which is a disappointment, given her massive role in creating the modern face of Mills and Boon.

There was also the BBC Four documentary programme detailed below, "How To Write a Mills and Boon Novel", following the progress of novelist Stella Duffy as she attempts to write an M&B and discovers along the way that it ain't as easy as it might appear!

What amused me was how Duffy's natural instincts as a writer had her breaking and subverting the M&B paradigm as soon as she began to sketch out her initial plot, and that she then went on to produce a treatment for the more unusual M&B imprint, Nocturne, which features supernatural stories, rather than the traditional Modern Romance line she'd been originally pitching for.

How to Write a Mills and Boon:...

To mark 100 years of romance publishers Mills and Boon, literary novelist Stella Duffy takes on the challenge of writing for them. Romantic fiction is a global phenomenon, and Mills and Boon are among the biggest names in the business. The company welcomes submissions from new authors, but as Duffy soon finds out, writing a Mills and Boon is harder than it looks.

Help is at hand from the publishers themselves, a prolific Mills and Boon author and some avid romance fans, as Duffy's quest to create the perfect romantic novel takes her from London to Italy on a journey that is both an insight into the art of romantic fiction and the joy and frustration of writing itself.


  1. Dear Jane, I hope you are well. 2 years ago when I discovered this site, I emailed to tell you how much of a void your mother's passing had left in my reading world, and that I was tracking down all her M&B novels to complete my collection, but that Star-Crossed from 1976 was missing. I'd tried for years to get this book, and once in a while, someone from ebay would email me and say that one could be found with a search fee & £50 for the book itself, or a copy would appear on for silly money. I am pleased to say that I got into the habit of checking the latter from time to time, and lo and behold, on 13/11/08, a UK seller advertised one for £10 + £2.75 P&P. I snapped it up immediately, without even checking the state it was in, and am delighted to say that it turned up on the morning of my 40th birthday! The book is the 'Easy Reader' edition by Alpha Press and only 86 pages long, but it was just as great. I do have the French edition, but when I read the English one, it was clear that so much had been lost in translation. Getting the book took my mind off hitting that momentuous milestone. Unfortunately, in anticipation of the book arriving, I asked my hubby to help me catalogue my collection, and lo and behold, I discovered that Beware Of The Stranger is missing from my collection. It is the one and only romance novel of your mother's that I do not have, and so, it's now going to be my mission to track it down. I just thought I would let you know. Kind regards, Rita, London, UK.

  2. Rita, that's fabulous news! It really is. I wish you all the luck in the world with your quest. To collect all the romance novels of Charlotte Lamb is a prodigious feat, and I say that as someone who has tried but not yet managed to achieve that.

    With much admiration, Jane x

  3. Sono di Roma/Italy, y love sua madre, lettrice di tutti i romanzi di sua madre. Solo ora ho saputo che non c'è più, grande dolore
    ma anche grandi complimenti per il talento.
    Annunziata Scarponi/scrittrice italiana

  4. I loved all her books which I began reading and collecting in the 70's.
    I am so happy that i can find out more about this fabulous author on the site


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