Thanks to Kate Duffy, who sent me a link to the Times online article, I have reason to start haunting the travel airfare sites (pass the smelling salts, omgwtfbbq) for airfare to Manchester. The Mills & Boon exhibit of book cover art is now open at the Manchester Public Library through 30 July – before it goes on a national tour. I’ve been wondering lately as I chase Fabio (who will not return my calls, dammit!) why some of the cover art isn’t re-examined as art, even pop art. Granted, some of the cover images of the 80’s are the height of absurd, but the talent of the illustrators is considerable, especially when depicting the loving windswept curls of the average heroic mullet. So to have M&B art displayed as a journey through the cultural evolution of romance is very cool, indeed. According to the article, the art is placed in an order that “serves as a guide to the changing patterns of courtship through the decades:”
Mills & Boon celebrates that other “right to choose” – the young girl’s ability to choose a mate, at the one and only time in her life when young men queue up and she does the picking and choosing. But what is going on in Utility Wedding (1946)? Is this the body language of the tormented man, back from the war? It looks like it. Behind, in the houses, lies the possibility of domestic bliss, but will she say yes? In her eye we read: “Do I mean to put up with him and his neuroses, or shall I say no?” For once, doubt and emotional distress enter in. But mostly what comes next, true and lasting love, is never in doubt.
The companion book will be published in August. Hopefully I will cross the pond by then, but I’m not holding my breath. With gas prices, I don’t even drive that much – to say nothing of the fact that due to the toll structures, you have to pay to get out of Jersey (it’s free to get back in).
If anyone is near Manchester and checks out the exhibit, would you please let me know what you think?