When looking for a classic love story that delivers the romantic fantasy, emotional intensity and unforgettable characters, pick up a book by Lynne Graham.
The Belfast Telegraph newspaper declared Graham a “mega-selling author”. She’s written over 120 books and sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. The Irish News reports that her debut book was first published in 1987 and she’s considered the most successful Harlequin Mills & Boon author.
If you haven’t read her work, start with either of these fan-favorites.
Bond of Hatred is an enemies-to-lovers romance that starts with a punch and takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. Sarah is overwhelmed with grief and anger when her sister dies in childbirth. She wants revenge on the father of the child as well as his family who denied support and acceptance.
But that means she has to face Alex, the head of the family. They despise each other, and yet they are very similar. Both are considered sensible and even unemotional until they cross paths. The energy between them is electric and, at times, destructive. Sarah and Alex will do anything to protect their families, even sacrifice their individual freedom.
Alex believes Sarah is a gold-digger. What will it take for his family to adopt the baby? Sarah names her price: He has to marry her.
The emotional blackmail satisfies her need to look after the baby and her need for revenge. But when Alex is prepared to enter a forced marriage with a woman he despises, is Sarah prepared to marry the enemy?
Originally published in August 1995, Bond of Hatred is a classic revenge romance. Alex is a force to be reckoned with, but he has met his match with Sarah.
In addition to the emotional intensity, marriages of convenience and arrogant heroes, a frequently found element in Lynne Graham stories is the virginal heroine.
Some scholars have argued that these heroines are, in fact, demisexual. This means that the heroine will only be sexually attracted to someone with whom she shares a strong emotional connection.
In her research, The Consummate Virgin, Jodi McAlister explains that the “virgin narrative” in romance fiction became more heightened in the 2000s due to the sexual climate. and developed into an “unofficial sub-genre of category romance.”
Many of Graham’s fan-favorites are from this decade. What’s the appeal to these stories? McAlister says that “the heroine ultimately gains, rather than loses, power through virginity loss” and goes so far as to suggest that the loss of virginity is the defining and most significant moment of the love story.
At times, the heroine’s virginity is an important part of the plot. In The Cozakis Bride by Lynne Graham, Olympia was accused of infidelity while being Nik’s arranged fiancé. There was an expectation about her innocence and she’d brought shame to her family. She had to leave Greece under a cloud of scandal.
When the book first starts, Olympia is defeated by circumstances. In order to get the help she needs for her ailing mother, the heroine reluctantly makes a pact with her wealthy grandfather. She will marry Nik, the ex-fiancé who broke her heart years ago. But Nik doesn’t want anything to do with her, and then he starts considering vengeance. Nik decides he wants something out of the arranged marriage: an heir.
Originally published in 2000, the playboy billionaire clashes with the rebellious virgin in this marriage of convenience romance. The glamorous international settings, emotional family drama and scorching sexual tension make the vintage Harlequin Presents pure escapism!
To find out more about Lynne Graham and her work, visit her website.