There’s something fascinating about Mills & Boon. Churning out romance novels since 1908, the British publisher is often dismissed as the purveyor of slushy, hackneyed reading material for bored housewives and old biddies. Until relatively recently, their plots were almost always characterised by swoony heroines and brooding, uber-masculine love interests, prompting sharp criticism from some feminists.
Yet the books remain astronomically successful. Modern novels like The Prince and the Midwife and Wedded, Bedded, Betrayed sell by the bucket-load, while the vintage titles have acquired cult status for their wonderfully corny covers and frankly bonkers titles. (Grace Before Meat, anyone?)
Racy-by-numbers love stories, it seems, will never go out of style – but colouring books for grown-ups are most definitely a product of the moment. The two are combined to pleasingly kitsch effect in The Art of Romance, a colouring book collection of Mills & Boon’s most iconic vintage covers from the last century.
Here at Stylist.co.uk, we’re giving our readers an exclusive first glimpse at three of the book’s best illustrations. Filled with the urge to get colouring? Simply click on each image below to enlarge and print out. Happy colouring!
Romance Goes Tenting by Phyllis Matthewman (1956)
Brittle Bondage by Rosalind Brett (1966)
Beware the Beast by Anne Mather (1976)
Mills & Boon: The Art of Romance is published by Harlequin (£9.99)