When I was around eleven or twelve, I was reading well above my age level and was obsessed with Victoria Holt. After devouring almost all of her novels, I went in search of more reading material on my mother’s bookshelves, which were full of scantily clad women in the arms of a handsome (often shirtless) man.

I wasn’t entirely sure what the books were about, but I loved the gowns these women wore, so I picked one up. When my mother found me reading it a couple of hours later she was like no no no—and took it from me. I can remember asking her why and she said I was too young for a romance novel—-especially a Harlequin romance novel (emphasis on the Harlequin bit).

Being a curious pre-teen, I went to my grandmother’s bookshelf looking for something new to read that might be more fitting, I mean she was into her 80s at that time, and found her shelves full of the same mysterious Harlequin romances. So I grew up thinking that that’s just what women read or maybe more that that’s what women of a ‘certain age’ read. I came to realize that romances were for everyone. No matter what age.

When I was in my teens, there wasn’t a large YA genre like there is now so I basically went from Anne of Green Gables to classics to romance novels. In my early twenties when I picked up my very first Harlequin romance novel and I remember feeling so adult holding that book…..until I started getting strange looks from my fellow co-workers who teased me mercilessly about my ‘trashy bodice ripper romance novels’. That was the first time I realized that not ever woman read romance novels and in fact if you read one, it was considered ‘low brow’ lit.

I continued reading many Harlequin romances though because I loved how happy I felt after finishing one. There was always a happy ending and the charm of each hero was pitch perfect. It was a welcome escape from the more serious lit I was reading for college etc. I would find myself smiling and feeling content and happy for the characters and even if there was some sex or maybe some flowery and chiche descriptions, I still felt happy and that’s more than I could ever say about some other books I would pick up. I have made it one of my reading goals, to share Harlequin romances with many of my reader friends and family and I always urge them to just give it a chance because you might be surprised how fun they are to read.

Here I am now, almost in my 40s and I get to read so many new romances from Harlequin and I am even writing a romance novel with the idea of submitting it to Harlequin for consideration. Harlequin has been a large part of my reading life in ways that I never could have imagined.

That is why this new campaign from Harlequin is so important to me! They are rolling out a new slogan for their books and it’s call ‘THAT HARLEQUIN FEELING‘. I absolutely know what that feeling is and I want all of my readers to consider picking up one of their books! Right now you can download 2 free Harlequin books and see for yourself just by going to this website!

I know that a lot of people feel silly carrying around a book with a scantily clad woman on the cover in the arms of a shirtless man, because everyone knows exactly what you’re reading—-that’s the beauty of Kindle and audiobooks! No one needs to know so really there is no excuse. Over the years, Harlequin books have brought such fun reads with family drama, fresh starts, romance, and happiness to my life and I urge you all to just pick up one book and see what you think.

There is literally something for everyone and every reading taste! Part of the overhaul campaign includes an updating of the Harlequin Series cover designs, where research helped define the distinctive characteristics of each line (Harlequin Series includes 12 romance lines with recognizable branded packaging and a set number of books published on a reliable monthly schedule, publishing 66 original romance novels each month).

I also wanted to include this. Harlequin recently released this press statement and I thought it was so spot on that I am sharing it here with you guys!

Unapologetically Celebrate Positive Feelings with Harlequin

Toronto, ON and New York, NY, February 24, 2020

Two years of extensive consumer research has reaffirmed what Harlequin has believed for 70 years: that reading a Harlequin romance novel makes women feel uplifted, inspired and empowered. As a result, Harlequin is launching That Harlequin Feeling, a new national campaign that celebrates the powerful and positive feelings that millions of readers get from Harlequin books.

That Harlequin Feeling campaign is an unapologetic celebration of the happiness Harlequin brings to readers’ lives,” says Farah Mullick, Senior Director, Retail Business Development at Harlequin. “Harlequin romance novels have it all: hopeful fresh starts, dramatic family sagas, unexpected twists and turns. Readers feel a deep emotional connection to the characters and their happy endings.”

With two books sold per second worldwide, Harlequin reaches readers internationally in 32 languages. An innovator in the billion-dollar romance industry, Harlequin pioneered the series romance model. Harlequin Series includes 12 romance lines with recognizable branded packaging and a set number of books published on a reliable monthly schedule. Sixty-six original titles are released in print and ebook formats across the 12 Harlequin series every month. Each series offers a unique type of romance, from suspenseful reads to inspirational stories of faith and family.

Harlequin’s consumer research helped define the distinct characteristics of each series for readers and influenced new cover designs that communicate the incredible variety of stories. “The new look drew heavily on insights from thousands of romance readers,” says Tony Horvath, Creative Director, Series & Digital Publishing at Harlequin. “The results are contemporary, spontaneous covers that reflect what readers want to see in 2020. Similar to a movie poster, the book covers tell a story with one image.”

Harlequin is encouraging women in North America to discover That Harlequin Feeling by downloading two free ebooks from ThatHarlequinFeeling.com.

About Harlequin

Harlequin is a leading publisher of commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. The company publishes more than 100 titles a month, in both print and digital formats, that reach audiences globally. Encompassing highly recognizable imprints that span a broad number of genres, the publisher is home to many award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world. Through HarperCollins’s global publishing program, Harlequin titles are published in 17 countries and 16 languages. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com and Facebook.com/HarlequinBooks. Follow Harlequin on Instagram and Twitter: @HarlequinBooks.

One thought on “Special Feature: THAT HARLEQUIN FEELING

  1. Just like you, I read every Victoria Holt book ever written as a young girl. I loved her books. In middle school, my science teacher actually kept Harlequin and Barbara Cartland books on a shelf in her classroom, which she let us borrow. So, having exhausted all of the books by Victoria Holt (and Phyllis A. Whitney, another favorite), I started reading Harlequins. Back then, I think they were all “clean” romances, which are the kinds I still prefer today. Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane!

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