Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Harlequin Medical Romance!

As folks following me on Twitter know, I’ve been working through Harlequin Medical romances published from Jan 2011-May 2014 for a research project. I haven’t read them all, by any means, but I’ve read many, and for all the rest I’ve read blurbs, samples, and reader reviews. A few things really surprised me. I thought I’d see if I could surprise a few of you.

(Answers below the cut)

1. Which plot NOT is a real one?

a) Hero and heroine both utilized IVF to conceive, but the sperm samples were mixed up, and they now have each other’s kids. They meet to fix the problem and fall in love. HEA.
b) The heroine and hero had a relationship in medical school, but it ended when she handcuffed him to a bed and stole his fellowship. They meet up again years later and fall in love. HEA.
c) The heroine agreed to serve as gestational surrogate for her friend, but after getting “weird vibes” from the bio-dad, she ran off with the baby. She meets a nice doc. They fall in love. HEA.
d) The heroine is a gestational surrogate. When the bio-mom dies and the bio-dad refuses custody, the heroine tracks down the bio-dad. They fall in love. HEA.

2. As of right now, how many Medicals are published each month?

a) 3
b) 4
c) 6
d) 8

3.The doctor (hero)/nurse (heroine) pairing was once so common in medical romance that they were called “Doctor Nurse” romances. Today, what percentage of heroines in Harlequin Medical romance are nurses?

a) 75%
b) 50%
c) 35%
d) 25%

4. Of the recent Harlequin Medical romances that feature a nurse protagonist, how many feature a nurse hero?

a) 1
b) 3
c) 5
d) 7

5. Which one is NOT a setting for a recent Harlequin Medical?

a) Cruise ship
b) Hero’s desert kingdom
c) Space station
d) Liberia
e) Orient Express

6. What percentage of protagonists start the story as a single parent?

a) 10%
b) 15%
c) 25%
d) 35%

7. How many female protagonists are POC?

a) 2
b) 4
c) 6
d) 8

8. Which ridiculous reason was NOT used to end or prevent a relationship?

a) The heroine ran off to get her child an experimental treatment for a fatal disease against the objections of the hero, her husband.
b) The hero has cancer, and leaves the pregnant heroine to spare her.
c) In Liberia, the heroine insists on setting up a plastic surgery clinic which the hero thinks is frivolous.
d) The hero dumps the heroine because he wants to dedicate his life to eradicating a measles outbreak while training as an assassin to eradicate Jenny McCarthy.

9. A Harlequin Medical opens with:

a) the heroine’s point of view most of the time
b) the hero’s point of view most of the time
c) a roughly even split between hero and heroine’s point of view

10. Which health issue is NOT faced by a protagonist in recent Harlequin medicals?

a) postpartum depression
b) elective preventative mastectomy
c) alcoholism
d) macular degeneration
e) multiple sclerosis

11. Only one of the seven continents is unrepresented as a setting for a recent Harlequin medical. Which is it?

a) Asia
b) Africa
c) North America
d) South America
e) Antarctica
f) Europe
g) Australia

12. What is the most common profession for heroines who are NOT nurses?

a) doctor
b) midwife
c) paramedic/EMT
d) unemployed

13. What surprised this post author the MOST about Amazon.com reviews of Harlequin Medical romances?

a) The high frequency of the sentence “I skipped the sex scenes.”
b) How uncannily the wording tracked the jacket copy.
c) How well the reviewers seemed to know the author and her work.
d) How bitterly angry the reviewers were about the similarity of the names “Caroline Anderson” and “Catherine Anderson” and their own tendency to buy the wrong author.

14. How likely is it for the heroine to be sexually inexperienced?

a) Extremely unlikely
b) Somewhat unlikely
c) Likely
d) Very likely

15. By the end of the book, or at least by the next book in a continuing series, how many of the couples are parents?

a) All
b) Most
c) About half
d) Some

ANSWERS (Remember, these only apply to the time period 1/11-5/14):

1. Trick question. They are all real.
2. 6, up from 4 not too long ago.
3. C, but actually it is only 32%
4. A
5. C
6. C. This number includes secret babies (of which there are many), foster kids, step-kids, and random minor relatives whom the h/h has taken under his or her wing. I didn’t count, but I would guess at least half, and maybe slightly more than half, of the single parents are dads.
7. A (An Asian woman of an origin I could not determine from the sample, but probably Indian, and a Brazilian woman)
8. D, although that would make an awesome plot, especially if Laura Kinsale writes him as a ninja.
9. C. I didn’t actually count, but this is my sense. If anything, they tend to start with the hero’s point of view, and then switch mid-chapter to the heroine’s. I was really surprised by that for some reason.
10. E
11. E. I hereby challenge someone to write a romance featuring climate change scientists on a research mission. Bonus points for outdoor sex.
12. A. there are more doctor protagonists than anything else. Nurses are second, midwives a distant third. A random assortment of professions including dietician, counselor, EMT, veterinarian, physical therapist, public relations expert, and helicopter pilot comprise the rest.
13. All of these showed up more than I expected, but the number of times objections to sex scenes or compliments of “tasteful” or “brief” sex scenes occurred really surprised me. I know Medicals are published in large print in some areas, which makes me think “older reader,” but they are only published in digital in the US, which makes me think “younger reader” so who knows.
14. A. I didn’t look for this specifically, but I can only recall two virgins in the 200+ books I reviewed, although there may have been a few more.
15. A. Again, I didn’t “code” for this, so there could be an exception I missed. Also, unless I missed it, all of the infertile couples for whom infertility was a relationship issue (a half dozen or so) had biological children by the end of the book.

15 responses

    • Yes, although I haven’t read it. I’m going by the blurb, sample and reviews on that one. It’s UNCOVERING HER SECRETS by Amalie Berlin (HMED-659, March 2014).


  1. I did really well just by guessing which is a form of social engineering – what do I know that might apply? E.g. saw a study recently that showed doctors marry doctors and not nurses. Re the readers and sex scenes conundrum; I was thinking of a comment by Moriah Jovan about how modest dressing for her daughter’s generation is much more conservative than for her growing up in the 1980’s. So are American medical romance readers not so much older readers but more likely to be conservative Christian? It would be interesting to see if there are differences between UK/AUS/USA readerships.

    I just aced the British citizenship test thanks to my fiction reading habits – magistrates in UK don’t need legal qualifications by the way.

    Also one of the Antarctic research stations lost power recently that could be a great romantic suspense plotty thing and there are always medical staff as part of the crew.


    • I know that the idea that nurses are husband shopping at work is one of the most despised stereotypes of the profession, and only a few books I reviewed bought into this, notably one 3-book miniseries about student nurses who were all supposedly on the prowl for doctor husbands (although that may have been a false impression left by the blurb and promo material).


  2. I don’t believe I have read any medical category romances in a couple decades, and yet I guessed 7 correctly. Some things truly haven’t changed much, but others did surprise me, such as the number of doctor heroines.


  3. Great quiz, and I would so buy the McCarthy-assassinating hero book…

    I’m not sure you can equate sexually inexperienced with virginity… gently-used heroines are the new virgins, in Harlequin Presents, at least.


    • I love that term “gently used.” Actually, I would say there is a range of sexual experience. The number of heroines who initiated a “no strings attached” affair with the hero, often with the intimation that this was a norm for them (but also often with the implication that they had been burned by a fiance or boyfriend and therefore were trying out casual sex) really surprised me.


  4. I admit to loving the old Doctor nurse romances or even just doctor with random chick romances. I don’t read a lot of Medical Romance these days and I think in part it is because of the sex and what goes with it. It is very rare to find a virgin in a medical romance and this goes back a long way. The percentage of virgins in Medicals started falling before most of the other category lines and I would suggest there are two reasons for this. The age of the heroines because of training and also…reality. Most nurses I know are pragmatic about sex. What does sort of annoy me is the number of single parents in the Medical line…excuse me…you are among the most educated about reproduction and you still have more unexpected pregnancies than the general populace of romancelandia? I realise that babies are a thing that sells Medicals but that aspect does annoy me. But I’m not a big single mother fan in romance anywhere. I have seven kids. I want to escape from the demands of children and I have totally had cutesy kids whose dialogue inevitably shows how brilliant they are. Except for the children with a disability…sorry got one of those too. I know a lot of people like children and that’s fine, just not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Medical and yet I got 9 of these questions right. Proof that I have been properly brainwashed by Harlequin, no doubt ๐Ÿ™‚



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