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Summer of Romance

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Missing in action

We’ve received hundreds of shelfies over the course of the Summer of Romance project (because our participants are the coolest participants, obviously). But there are a few books that are eluding us! Can you help us find them?

Margaret Way’s Master of Maramba is one of these titles. We have two books by Margaret Way on our list, and the other one, A Faulkner Possession, has been found a couple of times, but Master of Maramba seems determined to hide. Help us master Maramba and find it!

We’ve also not yet found Just a Little Sex by Miranda Lee, although her two other books on the list, Rendezvous with Revenge and The Playboy’s Ruthless Pursuit, have revealed themselves to us. So if you could have just a little look for this one, that would be much appreciated.

Print copies of Alison Kelly’s The Baby Deal has also proved elusive, as have copies of both the Joan Kilby titles on our list, Beach Baby and The Second Promise. As we come up to the end of the project, keep a special eye out for these ones – we’d love to be able to tick all fifty books off the list!

– Jodi

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#libraryshelfie day!

Today – January 25 – is Library Shelfie Day. On Twitter, Instagram, and a bunch of other platforms, people are posting pics of library shelves with the hashtag #libraryshelfie.

And you know what you often find on the shelves of libraries? Mills & Boon books, of course!

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Mills & Boon spinner at Ashfield Library, December 2016

We’ve had several shelfies come in of our fifty books on library shelves, and they’re all super interesting. We’ve even found copies of our books in other languages!

So when you’re taking library shelfies today, keep an eye out for our fifty books. Who knows? Maybe you can add #loveyourshelfie to that #libraryshelfie hashtag…

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Portuguese edition of The Playboy Boss’s Chosen Bride (2006), by Emma Darcy, found at Marrickville Library, December 2016

Looking for Collections

In the 2016 season of The Bachelorette Australia, one of the earliest challenges featured Bachelorette Georgia Love and her posse of suitors shooting covers for Mills & Boon novels.

These covers were used for collections of books. Each book featured reprints of three novels by some of Australia’s best-loved Mills & Boon authors: Emma Darcy, Barbara Hannay, Marion Lennox, and Michelle Douglas.

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All four of these authors are on the Summer of Romance list of 50 books, and the Barbara Hannay Bachelorette anthology actually features one of our titles: Claiming the Cattleman’s Heart (2006). (And this cover also features Georgia with eventual winner Lee, so if that’s not a good omen for our project, I don’t know what is!)

When you’re hunting for our 50 books, keep your eyes open for collections. These absolutely count for the purposes of our search: so if you come across one of our titles in a collection, make sure you snap a shelfie and post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

– Jodi

Questing for Books

I spent a couple of weeks in my home state of New South Wales in December, and as well as going to academic conferences and seeing friends and family and celebrating the holidays, I decided to add something else to my agenda: going on book quests.

I was determined, in my time in NSW, to find at least a few of the fifty books on our Summer of Romance list. I thought this was something I could do idly – that if I saw a secondhand bookshop or a library or something, I could just pop in and browse their books and see what they had. (And, I should point out, this is a totally valid form of book hunting!) But for me, as it turns out, there was nothing idle about it: hunting for books became totally addictive. Hunting down these fifty books became my own personal form of Pokémon Go – I was determined to catch ‘em all!

I tweeted all my adventures at my personal Twitter account (@JodiMcA), and later turned them into Storifies using our project account (@ShelfieSummer). I’ve included links to all these Storifies at the bottom of this post.

As you can see, some of these quests were pretty fruitless. On my first book quest around Marrickville and Dulwich Hill in the inner west of Sydney, I visited six places before I finally hit the jackpot. Some, like the quest I did with my mum in Shellharbour and Warilla in the Illawarra, were an absolute bonanza of books. I guess it goes to show that you never know what you’re going to find!

Fruitful or not, I decided to document all my experiences. I used our project hashtag #loveyourshelfie for the books I found (of course), but – because I really like taking shelfies – I still took a few photos in places where I didn’t find books and used the hashtag #no50books instead. Feel free to do the same if you decide to go on a book quest of your own.

One thing that all my quests had in common was that I had a lot of fun doing them. I mean, who doesn’t like a good quest? Finding one of the books on the list became incredibly satisfying: so much so that, after dragging my mum on a quest around my hometown of Kiama on the South Coast of NSW, she got just as addicted as me. The next day, when we were supposed to be cooking for our enormous family meal on Christmas Eve, we went out questing in the nearby municipalities of Shellharbour and Warilla instead. You can see what we found in the fifth Storify below.

My mum’s not a romance reader (although I did turn her on to Betty Neels over the holidays). So if you’re not a romance reader either, never fear. All you need to go on a book quest is our list of fifty books and the drive to hunt them down!

– Jodi

Jodi’s book quests

Quest #1: Marrickville and Dulwich Hill

Quest #2: Ashfield

Quest #3: Sydney CBD and Newtown

Quest #4: Kiama

Quest #5: Shellharbour and Warilla

Finding my first Barbara Hannay

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.

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My copy was significantly more battered than this one!

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!

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Spoilers: that handsome gentlemen bachelorette Georgia is with on the horse is Lee, the eventual winner.

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!

– Jodi

The Summer of Romance begins!

It’s finally here! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, summer is upon us, and it’s time to get hunting!

If you have a moment – obviously you’re very busy looking for our fifty books – have a look at this guest post on Book Thingo by Jodi, where she takes you through everything you need to know to participate in the Summer of Romance.

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