Without Harlequin Romance, What Will The World Mock?

May 16th, 2005 · 8 Comments
by Booksquare

One of our top Trench-Coat Operatives contacted us with some rather bizarre news, so bizarre it required phone calls and coded email. Not necessarily in that order. As of September, 2006, Harlequin (the conglomerate) will cease to publish both Harlequin and Silhouette Romances — yes, those sweet, short books that serve as shorthand for all types of mockery will no longer exist.

But wait! Do not despair. Do not panic. Do not think you will be forced to read books filled with minimal romance and lots of sex. While it’s the end of the world as we know it, there’s a whole new being on the horizon. Yes, you guessed right: emerging from the ashes of the two Romance lines is a new six-book series with a broader international focus. We’re sure details will be made clear as soon as is humanly possible. Associate Senior Editor Bryony Green of the UK office will be the point person.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

8 responses so far ↓

  • Kerry Madden // May 16, 2005 at 9:32 am

    Great to meet you at Book Promotion 101 on Saturday. Thanks for all your help, tips, suggestions on blogging for kids and blogging in general – avoiding the cheese sandwich blog. Thanks very much! I will work on updating my site to link others too. Thanks!

    Kerry Madden

  • Caro // May 16, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    Hmm. I have a feeling the end of the actual “Harlequin Romance” line isn’t going to stop the mocking, especially since most of the people I hear using that phrase to deride romances also talk about “heaving bosoms” and lots of sex.

    If nothing else, Harlequin certainly has succeeded in the branding aspect of marketing!

  • jmfausti // May 17, 2005 at 7:41 am

    They’ve certainly had a good run! I can’t imagine how they stayed in business since my grandmother passed away 11 years ago. I was sure she must have been their best customer… she plowed through 2-3 of those things a day.

    The funny thing is, they have always been a big joke to me, but they have the brand recognition of Kleenex and Jello.

    Their readers have nothing to fear. With the surge in “chick lit” even the old Janet Evanovich titles written for Harlequin, or a similar company, are being repackaged and reprinted.

    RIP Harlequin, you can never be forgotten as THE name in cheesy romance stories and the forebear of the chick lit genre.

  • Booksquare // May 17, 2005 at 8:33 am

    Kerry — It was so great meeting you at the workshop, and I just loved your moonshiner photos. Especially the fact that he wore one of those protective belts — safety first! I wish we could have talked more (like about where you got that great green sweater…I’m a sucker for great green sweaters!).

  • Booksquare // May 17, 2005 at 8:38 am

    I think there’s an underestimation of both the power and quality of the Harlequin romance line. It was the first mainstream, easily digested fiction geared toward women, and, hard as it is to believe, had a lot to do with ushering in feminism and changing our culture. No, I’m not joking. The essence of these stories was that women had choices and, while the happy endings always feature a man, they make it clear that this is the right decision for the woman in question. She’s not settling for anything less than what’s best for her. I think that’s a really important message.

    I’m not saying the writing is equal to Tolstoy, but there is a lot to recommend the stories. Given that the Romance line is (I believe) close to a hundred years old, the universal appeal is obvious. But I think the world has changed and while the sweetness of the romances are still appealing, they reach a smaller audience.

  • Sierra Donovan // May 18, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    Thank you, Booksquare, for acknowledging what Harlequin and, more recently, Silhouette, have had to offer readers. I’m an author of sweet romance, and I hate to see these flagship lines die. Still, I have high hopes for a healthy reincarnation. May there always be room out there for traditional romance.

  • Booksquare // May 18, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    I do believe there will always be room for traditional romance. Times may change, but there’s a certain magic to (and this is a compliment, I swear!) to sweet, idealistic love. I wish they’d done something save the “name”.

  • Indigo Raiyne // Nov 17, 2005 at 9:51 am

    It is a sad, sad day that there will be no more Harlequin Romance. It is through these books that you can really chart the rise of feminism and how the role of women in society has changed throughout the years.