This is all Aishwarya's fault. In an email conversation, she was bragging about all the Sweet Valley Highs she's recently found and which she has promised to blog about so that we can all turn our brains to mush.
Naturally I had an attack of nostalgia for the two Mills and Boons I used to read every day back in college during exam time while everyone else around me was going quietly insane mugging up quotations or whatever else it is they did. I didn't actually go and get these Mills and Boons; two enterprising friends went to GK1 and became members or whatever - they paid a deposit, like you do with soda bottles, and got back two MBs every single day. What with the three of us sharing two books a day, it was an orgy of feverish skimming.
I have to do a whole post dedicated to Mills and Boons, but suffice it to say that by the end of three years' exam-giving, I was an expert. I had read several variations on the same tired theme and I thought I's read 'em all.
So when I picked up three books the day before yesterday in celebration of the long-ago time of brain-dead-ity, I was expecting more of what I already knew. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by the Silhouette Desire* I picked up called Odd Man Out (yes, it's on Amazon**, can you believe it?)
It's terribly written (did you doubt that? But it's especially terribly written). But it's unusual in that the whole romance is from a man's point of view. Man is persuaded by colleague an mentor to move in with a woman that the mentor actually fancies but cannot get into a relationship with. Man moves in and keeps house (and holds down his job) while woman goes off to save the world from environmental disaster. Lots of steamy sex later, Man proposes and Woman politely declines, thus causing the kind of heartbreak that women usually suffer in these books.
I found it quite interesting for its simple role reversal and because right up to the end, it's the woman who categorically does not want to get married; who kind of assumes that this is just one of a series of relationships. Of course, these books have a rigid structure, so she's has to marry the man in the end, but at least the resistance was refreshing. As was her logic that the future needs ecological warriors and therefore it was her duty to go forth and multiply.
*Of course, being a Silhouette Desire from 1989 (a particularly steamy year in romance fiction), this one has pages and pages of sex. I was amused to note that the previous owner had flagged down relevant pages.
** I'm baffled by the dinky car, though.