I can still remember the first Barbara Hannay book I ever read. I picked it up in an op-shop when I was collecting Mills & Boon titles for my PhD. I bought a whole bunch of Mills & Boons at the same time, and I wasn’t being particularly picky about what they were, but I remember that this was the one I picked up first from my newly-purchased pile.
The book was her 2001 title Outback With The Boss, where heroine Grace and hero Mitch go scouting film locations in the outback together, and, because of circumstances beyond their control, have to survive in the wilderness for a few days before they’re rescued. And of course, during these few days, they find more than enough time to fall head over heels in love.
It’s one of those books I have a really clear memory of reading. I remember exactly where I was sitting (outside, next to the pool at my parents’ house). Our dog Ziggy came and sat next to me at one point and fell asleep with his nose on my leg. I was taking notes as I read for my thesis, but I couldn’t see my laptop screen properly in the glare, so I started underlining passages I wanted to take note of and dog-earing the pages so I could make note of them later. It was late afternoon in early summer, and as the sun slowly began to set, my dad brought me out a glass of wine. I’d half-finished it when I finished reading the book. It was a lovely afternoon.
And it made me wonder – just how many other people have fond memories like this of reading Mills & Boon novels?
I haven’t kept every Mills & Boon I’ve ever read, but I still have that dog-eared, much-underlined copy of Outback With The Boss. It’s currently sitting in a box in my sister’s cupboard in Wollongong to be transported down to Tasmania the next time someone I know makes the trip. I can’t wait to get my hands on that box again so I can go through it and see how many of our fifty books are hidden inside!
Outback With The Boss isn’t one of our fifty books, but there are four other titles by Barbara Hannay on the list: Outback Baby (2001), Claiming the Cattleman’s Heart (2006), Rancher’s Twins: Mum Needed (2011), and The Husband She’d Never Met (2016). This is just a small sample of Hannay’s total work – she’s written over forty romance novels in her career.
Many of Hannay’s romance novels have been reprinted in collections and anthologies – those of you that followed along with the most recent season of The Bachelorette will recognise this edition!
Our 2006 title Claiming the Cattleman’s Heart is in this Bachelorette anthology, listed under the name of the couple (Daniel and Lily). So if you see it – or any of our other Hannay titles – snap it and send us a shelfie, because we want to know!