The Harlequin Desire line, a staple in the category romance genre, is ending and will be replaced by a new line called “Afterglow.” The closure signifies the end of an era.
The End of Desire
The Desire line is being replaced with a “sexy, contemporary romance line called Afterglow,” according to Harlequin.com.
In reply to the post, I mentioned that the last brand new Desire I purchased was Ann Major’s A Scandal So Sweet in 2012. While there have been some great romance novels released in the last 15 years, the Desire line, similar to my favorite Harlequin Presents, became too focused on “princes and billionaires” and moved away from the enjoyable, mature relationships that they used to excel at.
Simon and Schuster launched their Silhouette imprint of category romances with their “Romance” line in 1980 to compete with Harlequin and Dell in the successful category romance genre. This started the legendary “category romance wars.” The wars basically ended when Harlequin bought out Silhouette in the mid-1980s.
After testing the names Rapture and Rendezvous, Silhouette launched their “short and sexy” Desire line in 1982. They featured women in various stages of life who had objectives, were searching for meaning, and were open to their sexual natures.
Authors such as Diana Palmer, Debbie Macomber, and Stephanie James (Jayne Ann Krentz) wrote for the line.
I subscribed to the Desire line during the 1990s, and my favorite authors were Lass Small and Elizabeth Lowell. The Desires weren’t as unpredictable as the Bantam Loveswepts, but they were more off-beat and zany than the Harlequin Temptations.
The Desire line outlasted its competition, Harlequin Temptations, which started in 1983, as well as the Lovewespt and Dell Candlelight Ecstasy series. All of which catered to contemporary audiences seeking consensual, emotional romances.
But the series romances weren’t as innovative and exciting in 2023 as they were in 1983. Then again, what is?
Forty years isn’t a bad run in the publishing industry. Here’s to those red romances that were simmering with Desire.
Were you a fan of the Silhouette/Harlequin Desire romance line? If so, who were your favorite authors or books? What do you think of the end of an era?
As always, please leave a comment, and let’s talk romance.