I am going to say this now and perhaps a few more times in this post. This is my personal opinion — no one else has to agree with me. But as an online friend recently told me, “If you can’t vent in your own safe place, where can you?” I Am Not Bashing Harlequin or Mills and Boon…I am, however, voicing my opinion.
I learned of Harlequin’s decision to end the Harlequin Desire Line late in 2022. I was (and still am) devastated by this news. Desire has, in my opinion, some of the very best series or returning worlds out there in the vast publishing world. Second only to the Harlequin Presents Line, those two Lines are where I buy the most titles from on a monthly basis.
Only J D Robb’s “In Death” could come close in comparison to a long, ongoing storyline that I follow religiously, again, in my opinion. So, this loss was huge to me, personally.
I have read Harlequins since I was 16 years old. I am now 71 (yes, I’m ancient and probably no longer in the desired dynamics of the customers the company is looking to attract – I get that), but that is a span of 55 years of being completely loyal to a publishing house on a monthly basis. Do the math. I’ve spent a lot of my hard-earned cash on books every single month of those 55 years from this publishing house over the years and only recently some (very few) ARCs.
I believe I have a right as a buying customer to my own opinion of any move that a company makes. It is my opinion; no one else has to share it… but I believe many will and do.
I feel that the loss of the Desire Line is a huge mistake. I believe there are loyal customers/readers who, like me, will question this decision. I’m equally certain that there were studies, charts, perhaps PowerPoint presentations, and opinions as to why ending Desire was a profitable decision for the company. I’m not stupid, I know that the bottom line for any company is ultimately profit.
Yet, honestly, I cannot fathom why adding the Afterglow Line and keeping Desire wasn’t a viable decision. It makes no sense to me to end something that gave enjoyment to so many readers — other than profitability.
My opinion will make no real difference in the grand scheme of things. Desire will end, and Afterglow will enter our lives. The company will (cannot) turn back now. But the moment that I buy that last book in the Desire Line is going to be one of the saddest days as a reader that I’ve ever experienced. And I will mourn the loss of the stories that might have been. (And worry about where I can find those types of stories within the Lines that Harlequin will offer in the future… and the authors whose work have loved throughout the years.)
On a purely ironic note, I can guarantee that the chances of being auto-approved (or even request by request approved) by Harlequin through NetGalley are never going to happen. They probably wouldn’t anyway since I don’t have the “numbers” that are needed for that auto-approval. I accept this, but once again, this is an opinion piece. And I value my own opinions.
I repeat: I am not bashing Harlequin. I am voicing a personal opinion. And the absolute truth is… this hurts, and it’s going to hurt for a very long time.