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I’ve finished this study now and really enjoyed it. As a romance reader of long standing, it was interesting to consider why I and literally millions of other women do so. And why critics, particularly male critics, are so scathing of romantic fiction and even more so of the women who read it – are they actually threatened by women who seek and find solace in romantic fiction which, largely written by women, indicates what women really want and, no doubt it’s not the pompous male critics they fancy. And why some women critics can be the same – I sometimes wonder if these women are so enamoured of feminism that they have crossed some sort of irrational mental border and really, secretly want to be men thus being so very disparaging of women who read romance. A very interesting look at social trends, historical changes, the “liberation” (or not) of women over the past 2 centuries. Interesting ideas about the effects of cinema on women, war on women, fiction on women, the pill, available abortion, vastly improved job prospects, more education. A look at Betty Neels, Georgette Heyer, Violet Winspear and many, many others like E M Hull and Ethel Dell. Even consideration of whether jihadi brides are perhaps partly enamoured of desert sheiks – very popular early hearthrobs in the 20th century. Easy to read, not so scholarly that you need a dictionary and some very interesting ideas. I had no idea of the extent of research that has been done in this area – the bibliography was extensive though the text of the book is only 200 pages of very interesting reading. No mention, however, was made of the MEN who write romantic fiction, nearly always under a female pseudonym. THAT would be an interesting study!