Millennials say we want Tinder and 'ghosting'. But in our secret hearts we want Mills & Boon

Art from the cover of 'No Holding Back' by Kate Walker Credit: Mills & Boon

Mills & Boon, publisher of racy romance fiction for over a hundred years, knows well what women want – at least in their fantasies. And, surprise surprise, it isn’t the hyper-controlled, pre-meditated, and ultra-efficient possibilities of tech-mediated dating that we dream of.

No, it's sexy strangers appearing suddenly and out of nowhere, seducing us against our better judgement and without a careful read of his LinkedIn profile. Readers of Mills & Boon want luck, chance and fate to seal their fates, for control to be wrested by a passionate knight in shining armour. 

But fantasy is one thing and real life another, which – as its major new guide to modern romance suggests – the publisher also knows. The Rules of Romance, based on a survey of 2,000 people, is an attempt by Mills & Boon to knit together its fictional world – one of untrammelled, seemingly timeless romance – with the un-romantic...

To continue reading this article

Start your free trial of Premium

  • Access all Premium articles 
  • Subscriber-only events 
  • Cancel any time

Free for 30 days

then only £2 per week

Access one Premium article per week

To continue reading this article log in to your Telegraph account. Or register now, it's free.
Registered customers can access one Premium article per week
Unlimited access to exclusive stories.
Half price for one year.
  • Access all Premium articles
  • Subscriber only events
  • Cancel any time
Free for 30 days, then just £1 per week