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The Harlequin/Mills & Boon Medical Romance Line

Recently Harlequin USA put out a call seeking novels for their Medical Romance line. Jessica at RRR noted this in a links roundup post and wondered who the audience for them was, because she didn’t know anyone who read them. Commenters, myself included, quickly replied that she did indeed know some readers, but her post reminded me that very few blogs and review sites talk about them, especially those written by readers based in the US. But anyone who regularly reads the Harlequin Presents line has probably read books from the Medical line, because several Presents authors write for both and occasionally their Mills & Boon Medicals are distributed as HP Extras. And, of course, the Queen of Dutch Doctors, Betty Neels, wrote dozens of doctor-nurse romances, complete with confusing medical jargon and status/occupation rankings that are baffling to American readers.

I have loved doctor-nurse romances ever since I found Cherry Ames, Student Nurse in my junior high school library. I don’t know why, because I’ve never wanted to be either a doctor or a nurse. My doctor relatives and friends are good at their jobs but we rarely talk about them, and until I was middle-aged I spent almost no time in hospitals. It must be because I like worldbuilding, and hospitals really are their own unique, almost self-contained worlds. In the olden days, medical romances featured handsome, brilliant, and usually rich doctors who fell in love with either beautiful, feisty, yet competent nurses or jolie-laide, shy, yet competent nurses over the course of 192 pages. But while that still happens, we now have the greater likelihood in real life of male nurses and female doctors. Have Medicals changed along with real life? What kind of lives and romances do these books portray now?

Like every other Harlequin line, Medicals have a set of distinguishing characteristics. First, the hero and heroine have to be medics. Women can be doctors, although men are not yet allowed to be nurses (if someone has a contradictory example, please comment!). They can have related medical occupations, like EMT, and they can work in hospitals or in private practice. The majority of Medicals are set in either Australia or the UK, probably because that is where their authors live, but there are a handful of writers who set their stories in the US, such as Dianne Drake, Janice Lynn, and Laura Iding.

There are Billionaire Docs, Posh Docs, Royal Docs, and even Sheikh Docs. But there are also Ordinary Docs. A current release by Alison Roberts, Wishing for a Miracle, features a decidedly middle-class EMT hero. An appealing feature of heroes and heroines in Medicals is that even when they have HP-like attributes, there is a maturity and sense of purpose to them that makes them grounded (Lynn Spencer pointed this out in a comment to Jessica’s post). Being a Billionaire, Royal, or Sheikh (or for that matter Spanish or Italian) isn’t going to matter when you’re in an operating room engaged in a high-risk operation, or sitting in an office telling a patient he or she has a brain tumor. The hero has to be convincing as a professional, and since many readers have much more experience with illness and disease than they do with high finance or running multinational companies, the authors have relatively demanding standards of authenticity to live up to. Similarly, while there are still a few young, ingenuous heroines (Carol Marinelli has a recent release, A Knight on the Children’s Ward, with a student nurse heroine), most heroines are at the very least highly competent and often quite experienced. The hero is usually the more powerful of the couple, which can be especially acute in a medical setting, but many authors are careful to stress the importance of the subordinate occupation. An excellent book by Amy Andrews, Top-Notch Surgeon, Pregnant Nurse, has a brilliant surgeon hero, but the heroine is the head of the Surgical nursing unit, and her staff is integral to the success of a high-risk operation on conjoined twins.

Ah, those conjoined twins. There aren’t very many of those, but there are plenty of standard-issue twins in Medicals, and even more singletons. There are just babies all over the place. Either the babies are patients in the children’s ward and the heroes and heroines are OB/Gyns, Pediatricians, Childrens’ Surgeons, or Children’s nurses, or the hero or heroine has a child when the story begins. Or, of course, the heroine becomes pregnant during the course of the story, usually accidentally or because of the hero’s Miracle Penis (Caroline Anderson has a recent release,The Surgeon’s Miracle, which features a Miracle Vagina for a change). If condoms actually failed at the rate they do in Medicals, the companies that make them would have been sued out of business by now. The authors do their best to make these accidental and miraculous pregnancies believable, and the best books are pretty successful, but it is definitely a trope. I don’t mind babies in my category romances, but even I get burned out after a while.

The prevalence of miscarriage plots exemplifies the greater level of angst found in Medicals. Perhaps it’s because so much of the drama comes from serious illness/disease or unexpected pregnancy, or perhaps the seriousness of the setting and the occupations feeds it. But while the stories can have plenty of lighthearted elements, several authors write intense books (Marion Lennox is a master at these). It’s difficult to pack complicated backgrounds and foregrounds into the category format, and sometimes the complications go over the top, but when the authors pull it off, the books can be really memorable.

Despite the abundance of babies, Medicals are well worth reading for the relationships and the contexts, especially if you like UK and Oz/NZ settings. For those who like US settings, the ones I’ve read have ranged from the Deep South to rural Utah, and I hope the variety will be maintained as the US list expands. The sex is less explicit and frequent than in the HP or Blaze lines, but usually more steamy than the Harlequin Romance line. All those babies have to start somewhere! And there are some absolutely terrific authors. Among my favorites are Sarah Morgan, Kate Hardy,Marion Lennox, Amy Andrews, and Fiona Lowe, and I’m always looking for new authors.

 

I’ll be doing monthly mini-review roundups of a number of the Harlequin and Mills & Boon releases. The timing of releases is a bit complicated, because Harlequin doesn’t release Medicals a month early the way it does the other lines, and there is a lag between US and UK releases. Moreover, not all the M&B are released as US Harlequins, so the books may not always be reviewed in the month they’re available in the US. But I’ll try mostly to review those that I know will be released in the US, and if there is reader interest, I’d be happy to do reviews of backlist books that are still available in e-form.

If you’ve read this far and want to try out a Medical, There are several available as free online reads at the Harlequin and Mills & Boon website. Harlequin has a new one by Fiona Lowe, Return to Love, and and Mills & Boon’s online read library has stories by Melanie Milburne, Laura Iding, Dianne Drake, and Alison Roberts.

If you have authors and books to recommend, either in the Medical line or elsewhere, I’d love to hear about them.

[CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE: I get some free Medicals each month from Harlequin through DA, but in addition to the DA books I also read and buy M&B and print releases on my own dime. I proposed writing this post because I like the line and think it deserves more attention, and Jessica's post (as well as this one at SBTB) made me realize that there may be quite a few of us out there who think the same way.]

Sunita has been reading romances since she ran out of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse and Chalet School books and graduated to Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. Other old favorites include Mary Burchell, Betty Neels, Elsie Lee, and Edith Layton. Among current writers, she reads and rereads Anne Stuart, Tamara Allen, Jordan Castillo Price, Sarah Morgan, Marion Lennox, Josh Lanyon, and Susanna Kearsley.

84 Comments

  1. Jill
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 07:28:03

    So excited about this! I’m a big fan of all the UK editorial lines.

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  2. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 08:11:19

    One of my favorite category reads this year is Olivia Gates’ “Billionaire, MD.” Gates is a hospital doctor in RL so has knowledge to draw on. I never thought I’d love an amnesia story, but she really makes it work.
    It came out as a Man of the Month Silhouette Desire book, so you might not have found it, but if you love medical romances, go for it!
    One of my writing friends, and the only man writing for the main Harlequin category lines writes for Medical. Roger, aka Jill Sanderson.

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  3. Diana Peterfreund
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 08:24:55

    I had never read medicals before this year, when I read some as part of my RITA panel. I loved them! Sadly, neither of the two medicals I received were finalists this year, but I gave them top scores.

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  4. Amy
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 08:38:15

    Since I saw the call on the PAN loop I’ve been reading several Medicals and I have to say I’m really enjoying them. They seem to mix several aspects of Harlequin lines, except in a Medical setting. I’m reading Wishing for a Miracle now and it’s fantastic. The first scene is an EMT dangling off a bridge trying to save lives during a horrific train wreck, hooking me right in.

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  5. Julie
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 08:54:20

    It’s great that you’ll be featuring more Medicals on the site. I thoroughly enjoy reading them and like how they manage to merge all the fantasy of romance with a warm-hearted and realistic edge.

    I love all the authors you mentioned. Although you really MUST read Maggie Kingsley. She wrote one of my all-time favourite books, A BABY FOR EVE, which is quite ground-breaking as the heroine had an abortion in her twenties and meets up with the man whose baby she aborted years later and falls in love with him again. She’s a new book out in September which I can’t wait to read.

    I also love Anne Fraser, Lynne Marshall, Margaret McDonagh and Gill Sanderson (who if I am not mistaken wrote a book about a male midwife.)

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  6. Hannah
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 09:09:28

    I enjoyed The Sheikh Surgeon’s Proposal by Olivia Gates.

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  7. Ros
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 09:12:32

    I don’t think I’ve knowingly read a Medical story since I was about 14. Something about the whole doctor/nurse thing just strikes me as a bit creepy, somehow. I want my doctors and nurses to be focussed on patient care, not falling for each other!

    But I did read a Romance line book recently about a paediatrician. In the title he was described as a British Billionaire. As far as I could see he was not independently wealthy. And in fact, he didn’t live like a billionaire at all – he had a perfectly nice house in surburban Surrey but not a vast mansion. I just couldn’t quite believe that anyone thinks that even consultant paediatricians, well-paid though they may be, could possibly become billionaires! Especially not when they work for the NHS!!!

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  8. K
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 09:47:44

    Getting reviews of backlist books would be great, especially if you review your favorites!

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  9. Brian
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 11:28:31

    These kind of books aren’t my thing, but a friend of mine loves them. She asked me to look online and see if I could find a listing of all the various Miniseries they’ve done under this label, such as the “Lyrebird Lake Maternity” series by Fiona McArthur.

    Anyone know where I can find such a list?

    TIA

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  10. Courtney Milan
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 11:35:31

    Like Diana, I read a Medical on my RITA judging panel last year, and even gave one a 9–which I almost never do.

    It was fabulous stuff. I don’t think the line is available in the US except as direct sales, sadly.

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  11. Diana Peterfreund
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 12:20:43

    They aren’t all “doctors and nurses” though. I read one that was about a small town doctor and a vet. I read another that was about two surgeons vying for a head resident position. The best have this lovely “workplace romance” vibe.

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  12. Sunita
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 12:36:42

    Thanksk so much for the encouragement and all the great comments! I have to go offline for most of the day but I’ll be back this evening. I am so glad to see the interest, these authors totally deserve it.

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  13. Heather Massey
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 12:58:24

    although men are not yet allowed to be nurses

    I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but that kind of mentality bothers me. A lot.

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  14. Wendy Marcus
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 13:17:17

    I am a new fan of medical romance. I love author Janice Lynn. I’m glad to see medical romanc getting more mainstream attention. I look forward to your monthly roundups! I just added this page to my favorites!!!

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  15. Jane
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 13:19:18

    @Julie My own blog is defeating my commenting efforts. I have never read this scenario in a romance book so I must order it.

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  16. Janine
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 13:46:38

    @Julie: My reaction is much like Jane’s. Although I have encountered a heroine who had an abortion before, in Megan Chance’s historical, The Gentleman Caller, it wasn’t the hero’s baby that she aborted. That is truly groundbreaking and I want to read it.

    ETA: Just ordered a copy.

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  17. FD
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 14:09:20

    Her Baby Out Of The Blue by Alison Roberts had a nurse hero who is a nurse with no ambitions to be anything else.
    For a baby book, I actually really liked it. And the heroine does not give up her career.

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  18. Ros
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 14:12:03

    @Brian: I would think that romancewiki is your best bet. Try here as a start.

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  19. Fiona Lowe
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 15:53:11

    Thanks, Jane for highlighting what we HMB Medical authors think is a line with great scope for really emotional stories! Believe me, we have been struggling for TPTB to put us on shelf in the US for far too many years. We think US readers should have the chance to enjoy us as much as most of Europe, UK, Australia, India (you get the picture) does.
    We are on ebooks too. Thanks again. Wishing all your readers Happy Reading.
    Cheers
    Fiona Lowe
    medical romance author

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  20. Brian
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 16:19:44

    @Ros: Thanks Ros, I’ll take a look.

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  21. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 16:41:43

    How exciting to see such a great rap for medicals! Being one of their authors I many well be biased but it truly is a line of such variety that there’s something for everyone.
    I’d like to comment on the level of sensuality. Medicals are often thought to be “sweet” and many of them are but a lot of them are quite “hot” too. I’ve just won the RuBY award (RITA equivalent here in Oz) for one of my titles and I won it in the sexy category – very exciting to have a medical acknowledged as being a sexy read. My other medical collegaue Sharon Archer took out the RuBY in the sweet section. 4 out of the 8 shortlisted books for the RuBY were medicals too btw.
    So please don’t be put off by the pastel pink covers – medicals have a range of sensuality as wide as diverse as their plot lines.

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  22. RRRJessica
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 17:35:14

    Thanks so much for this, Sunita! I am making notes and taking names. And I am thrilled that this will be a regular feature at DA.

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  23. melanie milburne
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 17:53:05

    Great to hear all the talk about Medicals. I am one of the authors who writes for both Presents and the Medical lines and like Amy Andrews I write sexy not sweet. I also use non medical personnel such as cops. I have never written a doctor nurse story apart from a continuity I was asked to do for Presents.
    The world building is absolutely true in a Medical. The hospital or country clinic is a world of its own and gives great scope for emotionally gripping tales.
    I haven’t had an accidental pregnancy in any of my Medicals but not for any other reason that it didn’t fit the story idea or the characters.

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  24. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 17:59:19

    Brian, as long as I’ve been writing for them there have only been a couple of continuity series done in the medical line. Admittedly that’s only 6 years but continuities are only a relatively new concept anyway.
    It started with the Crocodile Creek series – of which there were 3 lots of linked books all set in Oz. They have a Penhally Bay one that is still current – I think – and its set in the UK featuring multiple UK authors.
    Individual authors often set linked books in one setting like Fiona’s Lyrebird Lake. My Top Notch Doc(as mentioned in Sunita’s post) for example is 3 linked books all set in the one hospital featuring 3 sisters.
    That’s quite common.
    Hope that helps.

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  25. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 18:09:51

    lol Melanie – most of my 22 books have been Doctor/Nurse. I guess that’s largely because I am a nurse and I feel so totally at ease writing the heroine from this perspective. But no way are my nurses mere handmaidens to the big powerful doctor. Nuh uh. They are the epitomoe of a pateint advocate and they’ll take on anyone, no matter how senior or how medical to ensure sure their patients needs are met.

    Having said that I’ve had paramedics, a vet and have just done my first psychologist. I’ve set stories on tsunami ravaged islands with an army medic who specialises in mosquitoes, at a community drop-in clinic with a heroine as an uptight beaurocrat trying to shut it down, an eye clinic in the outback and in a MASH type unit to name a few.

    I thought it was interesting what Sunita said about the heros having a softer side. I think she’s absolutely spot on there. The medical hero is a true alpha male – top of his profession, successful, admired/envied. But its because his job involves “caring” that he has this marvellous added dimension.

    And now I’m going to shut up! :o)

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  26. Fiona Lowe
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 18:11:16

    My apologies…Thank you Sunita for the article. It was 6am when I txted! My next door neighbour had the entire Cherry Ames Set of books which I read as a kid. As an Australian some of things were foreign to me but you know what? A good story is a good story and will drag the reader in no matter the setting. I read books set all over the world
    Cheers
    Fiona

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  27. Jane
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 18:40:55

    @Fiona Lowe Yep, it is Sunita that wrote up this post. She has me very intrigued with medicals. I appreciate the authors coming to share the details of the line, though. It is super helpful.

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  28. Statch
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:01:11

    Another great post, Sumita. I was reading it thinking that I would comment that I’ve recently discovered Marion Lennox and Amy Andrews, and how much I’ve been enjoying their books. Then I saw that Amy Andrews had posted, so I get to tell her so ‘in person’! ‘A Doctor, A Nurse – A Christmas Baby’ was about a nurse who’s 10 years older than the doctor. It was wonderful.

    I’m off to get something by Melanie Milburne and Fiona Lowe…

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  29. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:16:04

    Hey Statch, thanks for that. A Doctor, A Nurse: A Christmas Baby was the one I’ve just won the RuBY for :o)

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  30. Sally
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:39:00

    Great post, Sunita! I love reading medicals and I look forward to your mini-reviews. I don’t have anything against baby stories either, but they sure are EVERYWHERE in the medical romance line. (at least, currently, anyway…)

    If anyone is looking for a recommendation, try looking for Emergency: Wife Lost and Found by Carol Marinelli. It’s a very intense read, but oh so awesome~!

    I have also enjoyed books from Jessica Matthews and Amy Andrews, to name a few.

    @Brian: There are three books listed in the miniseries you mentioned, here: http://www.fictiondb.com/author/fiona-mcarthur~30805.htm

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  31. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:44:31

    Hey Sally. Pleased you like my books :o)Yes, babies are a very popular theme in medicals. Our readers, by and large, adore these plotlines and we aim to please :o)

    I woul agree wholeheartedly about Carol’s book – she’s another one of our fab medical writers who also writes for Presents.

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  32. peggy h
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 19:50:57

    I’ve made a note of the recommendations Sunita and the commenters made in this post, and will be looking into getting them!

    I’ve tried a few Medicals, but have generally been disappointed except for a couple by (I think) Sarah Morgan.

    Two things have disturbed me the most–one is that I have yet to read a book where the hero is not vastly superior in education/experience/intellect/authority/power/wealth compared to the heroine (though this is true of a lot of HPs as well). The second is that a lot of the Medicals I’ve read were a minefield of info-dump. It’s like the author found a fascinating disease or procedure and I skipped through 20-30% of the book because there was just a peripheral connection between the tense “in-hospital” jargon and explanations and the romance and story itself.

    But looking forward to trying some of the recommended books. I’ve been afraid to pick up another one just based on an interesting-sounding summary! Thanks!

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  33. Sharon Archer
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 20:01:58

    Great post, Sunita! I’m another medical romance author and it’s so exciting to read your comments.

    The medical line is interesting to write for because it does allow for such flexibility in the story tone and sensuality. As well as a variety of characters – there’s obviously medical personnel but I’ve had a story with a veterinarian heroine and another with a fireman hero published.

    Anyway, thanks again for your post!
    :)
    Sharon

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  34. Fiona Lowe
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 20:13:08

    @peggy h: Dear Peggy, I am not sure how long ago you read a Medical Romance but I’ve been writing for five years …15 books and as a strong feminist my H & H are very much equals, in fact, often it is the heroine who is kicking the butt of the hero. Lately I have been writing two doctors and I am currently writing a female surgeon. I like to use the medical scenes as jumping off points for my H*H’s internal conflict. Anyway, I hope you take another look and that you’re pleasantly suprised.
    Best wishes
    Fiona Lowe

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  35. peggy h
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 20:34:48

    Thanks, Fiona! I’ll be checking out the Medicals again, for sure. I guess the last one I read was maybe 3 to 4 years ago…can’t be sure now. I admit I didn’t try that wide of a variety of authors, and instead got books by authors whose non-Medical books I’d enjoyed.

    But I’m definitely looking forward to try some of them again…!

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  36. Amy Andrews
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 20:44:20

    So happy to hear that you will try some more, Peggy. Like Fiona I write strong heroines. My first book opens with my heroine taking on a boardroom full of stuffy old obstetricians! :o) Modern nurses dont take a lot of crap from doctors so that’s definitely the way I write ‘em :o)

    Another good thing about the heros, imho, is that they may be “wealthier” but its not as in your face. You know they must be doing alright for themselves because of their job and they drive a decent car but the “rich” lifetsyle is not entwined in every aspect of the book. They really are more about the caring/family/connection angle.

    Having said that I have written a billionaire doc…. but I cut him off at the knees in the first chapter by giving him a debilitating flu leaving him weak and naked and completely vulnerable and at the mercy of the heroine…. :o)

    As far as info dump goes – some medicals go more deeply into the medical detail than others and its our avid fans who read us all the time that really like this. Other books can be quite light on.
    Have a mosey around – I bet you’ll find some real keepers amongst the lot.

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  37. Brianne
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 23:39:32

    I love medical romance novels. I think it would help if the Harlequin Medical Romance books were offered in stores here. Many more readers would buy them. The only places in the U.S. that you can get them is at some of the big bookstores, but otherwise it’s over the internet. I bought one and loved it. I know if they were sold in Walmart or ShopKo I would definitely buy them. I have read close to 100 of them and love them. Hope this helps. Have a wonderful week everyone.

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  38. Fiona Lowe
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 23:44:27

    @Brianne: Brianne, if you would like to see Harlequin Medical Romances on shelf in the US then please write to Harlequin in Toronto. The more readers who demand us on shelf, the more chance we have. Believe me, the authors want it and have wanted to be on shelf for a long, long time. The power lies with consumers though and not the authors.
    Best wishes
    Fiona

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  39. maggie.kingsley
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 06:56:03

    This is a great discussion! As a medical romance writer myself I can safely say that I think the line is one of HMB’s best kept secrets. Don’t ask me why we’re not more widely known – it’s a mystery to us writers, too. And I don’t think we’ve ever been told ‘no male nurse’. In fact, I don’t think any of us have ever been given a list of ‘forbidden subjects’. Our editors might gulp a bit when they hear our ideas, but then that’s the beauty of the medical romance line. We can cover so many scenarios, and can have gorgeous heroes or just ‘ordinary Joe’s', beautiful heroines or women who look just like you and me. And the stories can be sweet and tender, hot and sexy, very funny and/or deeply emotional. We can have vets and nurses, nurses and firemen, paramedics, flying doctors, warring consultants, country GP’s, and our heroes and heroines can work in just about any medical department you can think of. The days of the hero being a hot shot, drop dead gorgeous, doctor, and the heroine being a nurse who does nothing but gaze adoringly at the doctor are long gone. That nurse is much more likely to chop the drop dead gorgeous doctor off at the knees, and tell him he’s an arrogant twit. My guess is, if you love Gray’s Anatomy, House, and ER, then you’ll love the medical romance line, so if you haven’t tried any do give them a go!

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  40. DS
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 07:52:34

    I like Eileen Dreyer’s suspense novels set in hospitals. I don’t know if she has written any medical romances as Katherine Korbel, but she always had an inside view of hospitals that felt realistic.

    The only Harlequin medical set stories I have read are Betty Neels’ and they lost steam as soon as her heroine left the medical setting.

    I had a friend whose mother ended her medical career as a cruise nurse. She was really well paid but said there was a lack of intrigue and romance. People who become cruise doctors, according to her, tend to have issues.

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  41. Sunita
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:04:06

    Wow, what a great discussion! And thanks so much to the Medical authors for all their contributions.

    A couple of quick points, while I have internet here in the Nevada high desert (great spot for cowboy-themed romances, BTW):

    I would love to see a male nurse story, I just never have, and I imagine he inhabits the same realm as an HP hero who is a Personal Assistant. That is, logically possible but highly unlikely. I want to reiterate the point I made briefly and a number of authors have made, which is that the stories have come a very long way from the old Doctor-Nurse romances. There are plenty of women doctors, as well as heroines who are the equivalent job grade as the heroes. But even when the heroes are doctors/surgeons and the heroines are nurses, they are *not* doormats* or just looking to marry a doctor. I love that nurses are usually presented as professionals who are critical to the proper functioning of the institution and patient care. If you’d like to see a powerful medical type get his comeuppance, there are plenty of books that will fulfill that wish.

    The infodump and medical jargon issue varies across authors. Of course all of them have some, but how much isn’t constant. There are a couple of authors who put in way more than I want to know but whose romantic storylines are really good, so I just skim when it gets to be too much. But there are also authors who don’t do this, so if you’re willing to look around you can get a sense of how each author deals with the jargon. The online reads are good for that.

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  42. Sunita
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:19:34

    @Fiona Lowe:No worries, I’m glad you liked the post. “The Playboy Doctor’s Marriage Proposal” was one of the books that got me hooked on Australian medicals.
    @Statch: @Amy Andrews: I love that book, I’m so glad it won an award! I couldn’t believe you had written a 40-year-old heroine who kept turning down the gorgeous younger man. It’s a terrific read.

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  43. Sunita
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:26:37

    @peggy h: One of my favorites is by Kate Hardy, “His Honorable Surgeon.” It is the third of her Posh Docs trilogy and it features a heroine who is a very accomplished surgeon and is dedicated to her career, and the hero respects her immensely for that. It’s a cross-class romance because she’s the daughter of a Baron and he’s middle class at best (I think he was raised by his grandmother). It’s got a fair amount of infodumping but the romance made up for it for me.

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  44. Penni
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 09:32:54

    THERE HAVE BEEN AT LEAST TWO MALE NURSES! (Sorry for the shouting, but I’m afraid my post will be lost among the many.) Unfortunately, I cannot remember which books (I shipped all my medroms off to someone to get her hooked on the line! with instructions that she was to pass them on).

    One of the male nurse stories was a good 5 or more years ago! The love interest was a new doctor. He had a PhD in nursing but didn’t flaunt it – he just wanted to be the best nurse he could be. I remember really liking him (well, we should like the heroes in the romances we read, shouldn’t we?).

    If I were stuck on an island and could somehow magically get one line of series romance – and only one – it would be the HMB Medical Romance.

    “Why?” you ask. Just a few reasons listed here.

    Because within the medrom line you get everything from sweet and tender to Presents-level passion (but without the alpha jerk heroes).

    You get to learn about your characters through how they interact with friends, colleagues, and patients (I always like romances with good supporting “casts”) as well as multiple difficult situations.

    You have professionals who are dedicated to many things and who respect each other (no wussy nurses!). A couple of years ago, one of Amy Andrews’s books had a younger (early 30s – compared to the heroine’s age and other surgeons of his calibre, he was younger), brilliant surgeon and the love interest was the surgical nurse who ran the whole unit. This stands out to me as one (of the many) example(s) of how skilled both sides (h / H) are in medroms, even if it is an old-fashioned “male-doc-female-nurse” situation. They were working on separating conjoined twins and of course had to plan for months. No lack of skill or respect on either side there.

    I cannot think of a single medrom where the h and H are not both highly skilled or where they don’t respect each other or where they’re not dedicated to their professions.

    And you do get the variety of professions as mentioned before. Yes, lots of docs and nurses and midwives but also paramedics and other emergency personnel and vets.

    I’m sure I could come up with more reasons for getting the medroms delivered to that island I’m stuck on, but those are some just for starters. I would start listing the authors, but I’d forget someone!!

    And I’ll stop there.

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  45. Sunita
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:03:25

    @Penni: Thanks for weighing in! With Harlequin, *any* sweeping statement is likely to be wrong. Now I totally have to go track down these books.

    The Andrews book you’re referring to is the one I linked to in the post. I love that book. And she’s older than he is, *and* they have a one-night stand before each knows whom the other is.

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  46. Sunita
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:06:13

    Or is that who the other is? Anyway, they’re strangers …

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  47. Penni
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:13:12

    @Sunita,
    In my first draft I mentioned that you had mentioned that Andrews book, but I cut too much out! Sorry about that.

    The big question now is, “Have we sold Jessica at RRR on the medroms?” :)

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  48. Cherie Denis
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 10:38:12

    I received the whole set of Cherry Ames nurse books for my 9th Christmas. I was in heaven and looked for every medical novel I could find that my mom would let me read.
    I discovered Betty Neels several years ago and normally don’t like ‘sweet’ romance, but have enjoyed every one of her books I’ve found hidden on some shelf in libraries and friends homes. I read them simply because they are so different from what I write. It’s like taking a vacation. If I could, I would have all her books in my library.
    I write erotica and at the moment am finishing a manuscript: Strictly Physical about a physical therapist and a policeman. My female PT is turning out to be strong and tough. The ms is part of a series of 4 books: Stud Service. Book one: Strictly Professional by Sandy Sullivan is available from Siren Bookstrand and is a war between two strong doctors.
    I’m not writing this for the promo, I’m just writing to say medical romance can be funny, romantic, erotic and informative without a lot of info dump. Okay, I will admit there is a baby in Strictly Professional.

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  49. Deb Kinnard
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 11:33:20

    Korbel did write a medical, and a superb one at that — SOME MEN’S DREAMS. I believe it was a Harlequin Super a few years back. I cannot recommend it more highly. Good length, multi-layered plot, characters with twists I didn’t see coming, terrific writing.

    He and She are both doctors — that makes the plot interesting on all counts.

    Around here (I work in a large teaching hospital) nurses don’t marry doctors. They tend to link up with first-responders such as EMTs or policemen. The docs are busy romancing each other). Wonder why the nurse-marrying-doc trope has been so standard?

    ReplyReply

  50. MaryK
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 11:34:19

    @Diana Peterfreund @Courtney Milan: I don’t suppose you can share who the high scorers were? Confidentiality or some such?

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  51. MaryK
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 12:53:02

    I didn’t know these came out in the US at all. I generally read categories by author so I’m not likely to stumble across a Medical. Also, I usually avoid baby books, though I do like Oz/NZ settings.

    Hmmm. Looks like your reviews will be of great use. :)

    On a side note, I have a bone (or two) to pick with HQN/M&B. Why do they make it so hard to find particular books? They change titles, change covers, republish multiple titles in one volume, then it’s like the books don’t exist once they’re no longer current. Author booklists with cross-references would be so very helpful. Normally, I’d think providing booklists would be the author’s responsibility, but HQN is so reader oriented I tend to look to them for that info.

    I was on Annie West’s website the other day, and she lists all the alternate titles and covers for her books. I was so happy to see it I sent her a thank you email.

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  52. Miss Moppet
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 17:28:57

    Delurking to ask…does anyone remember Sue Barton? Loved these books as a kid. I remember Sue’s class being very firmly told as probationers that ‘the hospital finds that doctors and nurses work better together when the personal element is not allowed to enter their relationship.’ And then Sue almost lost her cap for having tea with Dr Barry.

    I love the idea of the nurse as patient advocate, putting the arrogant male surgeons in their places, as I’ve come across a few arrogant male surgeons over the years.

    ReplyReply

  53. peggy h
    Aug 25, 2010 @ 20:25:50

    Thanks for the recommendations, Sunita and Amy!

    ReplyReply

  54. Carol
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 04:14:14

    I like Harlequin’s medicals and pick them up when I see them.

    ReplyReply

  55. Sunita
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 08:42:20

    @Cherie Denis: Yes! Sue Barton! I had completely forgotten about her, but I definitely read those books.

    @DS: @Deb Kinnard: Some Men’s Dreams is a terrific novel, I remember reading it when it came out. It reminded me how many great writers there are in the category lines and encouraged me to try new authors. I think that doctor-nurse were really popular back in the day for the same reason boss-secretary romances were, i.e., women couldn’t easily be doctors or executives so they were crowded into the support positions. Also, doctors were considered good marriage catches.

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  56. Sunita
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 08:46:25

    @Miss Moppet: Oops, you had the Sue Barton reference. See above …

    Cherie Dennis, I know exactly what you mean about Betty Neels. The stories are so different from the way I live and my own ambitions in life, but I own every single one of her books and have read and reread them for the last 30+ years. I can’t explain it but just try to take my ancient copies of Nurse Peters in Amsterdam, Tabitha in Moonlight, etc. away from me.

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  57. Sunita
    Aug 26, 2010 @ 09:02:57

    @MaryK: Oh, do not get me started on the name changes. The only way I know to find the pertinent information is by going to author websites. Several Oz/NZ/UK authors will list the titles and release dates for the different markets, but there is no centralized place.

    I totally missed the 1st book of Kate Hardy’s Posh Docs trilogy when it came out in the US because the name and line had changed from Medical (Her Celebrity Surgeon) to HP Extra (The Millionaire Boss’s Reluctant Mistress). I know the HP titles often don’t reflect the story, but this was so far afield it was ridiculous. If Hardy weren’t an autobuy for me, I would never even have read the synopsis.

    ReplyReply

  58. Statch
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 11:40:21

    I thought I’d come back and report that I did try books by Fiona Lowe and Melanie Milburne and thoroughly enjoyed both. I read somewhere that Harlequin is working hard on digitizing its backlists, which will be great. (Fiona Lowe mentioned here that she’s written 15 books but I could only find a few as ebooks.) I’m really enjoying the Medical line; it seems to have so much more depth than the ‘tycoon’ stories.

    I also read a book by Carol Marinelli because of this thread, and loved it too.

    Rediscovering Harlequins has been great fun. I’ve cut way back on buying other romances because of the ebook price increases. With the lower cost of Harlequins I can indulge my ebook habit without guilt.

    Sunita, thanks again for the post, and sorry I mis-spelled your name the first time!

    ReplyReply

  59. Sunita
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 12:12:02

    @Statch: Thanks so much for reporting back! Harlequin is indeed digitizing its backlist, and they are open to requests. They are starting with books from the last 10 years or so, because they are easiest in terms of both rights issues and technology.

    Between the eHarlequin deals and the Amazon deals, category romances are a great buy.

    And don’t worry, I misspell my name all the time when I’m typing. I have to double-check on a regular basis!

    ReplyReply

  60. Sarah Morgan
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 14:54:05

    Medicals are so much fun to write and throughout August the editorial team at Richmond have been fast tracking submissions to encourage new authors.

    Personally I don't think it matters whether the central romance is between doctor/doctor, doctor/nurse, doctor/paramedic etc – the important thing is to have to two compelling characters and an exciting romance. The medical background is there to add colour and intensity to the story and to show aspects of character, not to make the reader faint or fall asleep.

    @Stach @Sunita you're right that Harlequin is working hard on digitizing the backlist. I had an email last week to say that a bunch of my earlier medical titles are being re-released as ebooks which is great news because I receive a lot of emails from readers asking when they will be available. There has been a recent post about it here http://www.iheartpresents.com/2010/08/ebook-backlist-presents-coming-soon/ In the past, a few of my medicals have been released in Harlequin Presents which is why a couple of them are on that list, but they are also releasing other medicals and if anyone wants details of my medical ebooks scheduled for release they are welcome to email me: [email protected]

    @Sunita @MaryK I completely agree that it's confusing when books are re-released with different covers, different titles, or as part of an anthology. To my knowledge the only way to check this at the moment is on the individual author websites.

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  61. Fiona Lowe
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 15:07:42

    @Statch:
    Statch, wow you don’t let the grass grow under your reading feet! I am so glad you enjoyed the books. As Sarah said, Harlequin is busy digitalising books so hopefully backlists in eformat will happen for Medical Romance too. I have a newsletter which I send out when I have new releases and If you contact me at [email protected] I’d be happy to put you on the list.
    Happy Reading
    Cheers
    Fiona :-)

    ReplyReply

  62. Statch
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 15:49:32

    @Sarah: That must have been where I saw the news about the backlist digitization, because I do follow that blog. I’m reading your ‘Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc’ now, and really enjoying it, so it’s great news that more of your medical titles are being digitized.

    Let me ask those of you who are Harlequin authors: Someone mentioned that readers could write to Harlequin in Toronto and request more of what they like. Do you think that an e-mail carries the same weight as a snail mail letter? If it does, what would be the best e-mail address to use? I suspect there are others here who would like to write to support more digitization and more of the Medical line.

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  63. Sarah Morgan
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:05:46

    @Statch: I think an email would be fine. Amy Wilkins at Harlequin Digital would be a good person to contact in the first instance as she is involved in digitizing the backlist – if you post the question on http://www.iheartpresents.com site I’m sure she will answer as soon as she is back in the office after the weekend. Alternatively I’d be happy to contact her for you and pass you the details. If you’d prefer me to contact her on your behalf then just drop me an email.
    I’m so pleased you’re enjoying Dare She Date – I had a lot of fun writing that book – especially with Lexi, the teenager.

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  64. MaryK
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:07:10

    I was just writing a very whiny post about how it’s very hard for US readers to even try Medicals because if they’re published here they’re in disguise. Then I decided to google for a Medical-to-whatever key in case somebody has put one together. Guess what? Harlequin Medical Romance is now listed in the series romance list at eharlequin.com! You can buy them with the Medical covers and everything.

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  65. Sunita
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:15:24

    @Statch: And if you’re on twitter you can send amy a tweet (@HarlequinBooks). She’s usually quick to respond.

    Jane has been compiling the backlists as she gets them and updates them about once a month, so you can go to the “easy resources” tab at the top of this page and click on the harlequin backlist link.

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  66. Sunita
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:17:27

    @Sarah Morgan: I’m so glad to hear your backlist is being digitized! I am one of those rare readers who came to your books through Medicals rather than HP. In the first draft of this post my example book was The Rebel Doctor’s Bride, which I liked very much. But even Harlequin doesn’t keep free books free forever, so I switched to the online reads examples.

    ReplyReply

  67. Amy Andrews
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:37:38

    MaryK, Medicals have always been listed in the series list at eharlequin. Or they have as long as I’ve been round – the last six years.
    I just think we get “overlooked” amidst the other better known lines.

    ReplyReply

  68. MaryK
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 16:48:03

    @Amy Andrews: Huh. I have definitely overlooked them.

    ReplyReply

  69. Sarah Morgan
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 17:08:21

  70. Sunita
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 17:18:58

    @Sarah Morgan: I also really liked Dare She Date … I hope they are digitizing your Glenmore series.

    ReplyReply

  71. Sarah Morgan
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 17:27:38

    @Sunita: A Bride For Glenmore (the first of the Glenmore series) is on the list Amy sent me last week so it’s coming. The Rebel Doctor’s Bride is already digitized, as is Dare She Date, so the only one they haven’t done is the second one, Single Father, Wife Needed (Logan’s story). If I hear that it’s coming, I’ll let you know

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  72. Sunita
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 17:52:49

    @Sarah Morgan: Oh I hope it is, I’ve been looking forward to that one. If not, the UBS is my friend. :-)

    ReplyReply

  73. Penni
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 18:13:42

    To request specific books or authors for the backlist books, you can email

    ebookrequests at harlequin dot ca
    (using “regular” format and yes that’s dot ca for canada and not dot com)

    or post a comment (you need to be a member of the eHarl community) at Backlist Books

    ReplyReply

  74. Penni
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 18:15:24

    Sorry, that Backlist Books link didn’t work (I’m sure I missed a quote mark or something – I am so out of practice with html and I apologize for the long link).

    Here it is long to cut and paste.

    http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/alternative-formats/backlist-books-what-would-you-see-re-issued

    ReplyReply

  75. MaryK
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 01:34:08

    I came across a Eurasian hero while puttering around on the internet looking at Medicals. I know some of y’all particularly like them so I thought I’d let you know. It’s A Woman To Belong To by Fiona Lowe.

    ReplyReply

  76. Monday Morning Stepback: Evening Edition « Read React Review
    Aug 30, 2010 @ 20:08:02

    [...] promised, Sunita posted a terrific article on the Harlequin Mills and Boon line over at Dear Author. And with 75 comments, many including suggestions for great titles, [...]

  77. Lynne Connolly
    Aug 31, 2010 @ 08:03:52

    Medical authors also know how to have a good time! (No name, no pack drill).

    ReplyReply

  78. Harlequin’s 12 Days of Christmas: 50% off List Price on eBooks Today | Dear Author
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 13:49:50

    [...] Sunita is a big fan of the medical romances. [...]

  79. Masturbator
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:49:50

  80. Angelique Lussier
    Mar 31, 2011 @ 18:50:32

    The world returns to Lexington in April 2011 for the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the new Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup!  

    ReplyReply

  81. Marie-Louise
    Apr 12, 2011 @ 07:30:16

    Hi Sunita, I see these postings are not recent, but I wondered if you’ve come across your male nurse hero yet? I encountered a memorable one in Rescuing Pregnant Cinderella by Carol Marinelli last December. I am from South Africa and write Afrikaans medical romances. Our audience is probably not ready for that yet, although our heroines are strong (often doctors instead of nurses). Thanks for an interesting read.

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  82. Ayom
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 10:13:30

    Can anyone help with this? I am looking for an old medical romance I read a while back. the plot is about two doctors working in the same hospital (one a senior consultant and the other a junior doctor) who fall in love. The guy invites her to live with him, he pays off her student loan and buys them a lvely house. But his parents though married have an awful marriage and he has sworn off marrigae and babies for life while she secretly loves babies and yearns to have her own child. they visit her family, he finds out and breaks it off when they return, she moves out, he is attacked at the hospital and then they make up. Can anyone help me with the title and author details? Thanks

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  83. Fiona Lowe
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 17:50:03

    Hi Ayom.
    I have put the call out to the Medical Romance Authors to ask them if it rings bells. Will get back to you when I have news. When you say ‘student loans’ was this book set in the US? If you let me know that would help narrow the search down.
    Cheers
    Fiona

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  84. What Sunita is Reading in late September and early October - Dear Author
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 11:31:25

    [...] Baby for Eve by Maggie Kingsley. When I did my post on the Harlequin Medical Romance line last year, a commenter suggested this book. Not only does the heroine have an abortion, she goes on [...]

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