Downsizing: What Will Romance Novels Do Without Dashing Moguls?

The Financial Times reports that the economic crisis has taken a toll on a staple of romance novels: businessman heroes.

Square-jawed heirs to fortunes and self-made moguls are a staple of the romance novels, but recent shenanigans have tarnished the tycoon's image. Says one Mills & Boon editor, "The hero has to own the company, build it up themselves through strength and integrity. They are not answerable to anybody. The key to their success is they made it themselves. You never see characters who've got something for nothing." Although writers will probably take a hiatus from captains of industry, she adds that after a time, there may be an opportunity for redemption stories: "They can lose everything but they have to get everything back."

Romantic heroes have always been subject to trends; apparently ER's popularity launched a generation of dashing doctors. The latest leading men? Rugby players. In fact, Mills & Boon has partnered with the Rugby Football Union for a series of officially-sanctioned rugby romances. As The FT points out, "this is a sport untainted so far by the sex scandals that have plagued the football scene." To say nothing of Wall Street!

Romatic Heroes [Financial Times]