Mills & Boon Did Astrology?!

In 1974, Mills & Boon – the world’s leading publisher of mass market romance – published a series of ‘astral guides’ to love. They were titled “Your Aries Man and You,” “Your Taurus Man and You” and so on through the zodiac.

The romantic-industrial complex was clearly more profitable for the company as these did not stay in print. Aside from those presumably held in private libraries, there are only seven left in the world, one on Etsy and six on Ebay – the latter are all from one person’s collection so perhaps they decided not to sleep with the other half of the zodiac. 

Annoyingly, there are no quotes of note to parse so we can’t really assess the vintage astro-relating advice but what’s up with the covers? Any 70s book featuring sex, love and/or astrology should feature garish neon Mars and Venus symbols, crumpled satin sheets and a zoom-in of China-red lacquered lips, right?

For the era, these covers are so subdued they’re almost sepucral. I think the artist is the same one who illustrated the early Day Of The Triffids covers and dismal advertisements where women were stricken with self-doubt over things like laundry liquid and deodorant because he’d never tell you.

They don’t look like couples enjoying the mandatory HAE (Happy Ever After) ending of all M & B novels.  Could things have gone so horribly to s**t just because she finally figured out his Sun Sign?

The only person who seems remotely happy to be in a relationship is the Libra guy with the hint of the Mona-Lisa smirk.  Aries looks like he’s about to bolt and is wondering where he left his “I’m with the band” attire. Mr Taurus gets the good hair and clean jawline but may also be ignoring his perky-lilac robed love interest because he’s waiting for his food delivery…or dealer.

The lady with the slightly smirking Libran is the only one with jewellery I think – she’s about to go clubbing while he’s lost in his reverie. She’s in another book already. The Scorpio has the air of a man in a mugshot who knows damn well that his lawyer’s paid off the senate enquiry board already. However, his companion does seem the least gloomy – perhaps she is supposed to be his barrister?

Is the Saggo vexed about Seventies issues like stagflation or has he just realized his wife is tranquilized/communing with extra-terrestial intelligence? It feels as if there is more going on here than just ‘her Sagittarian man.’  And Aquarius appears to be from the artist’s next project, the skeevy yet compelling saga of telekinetic siblings who discover that there was more to the mysterious lab incident that they were ‘born’ from than they realized.

Straight after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Mills & Boon famously donated 800,000 copies of their romance novels to East German women. It was a brilliant marketing coup – some would say propaganda – but you wonder what would have happened if they’d given them their astral guides instead?


11 thoughts on “Mills & Boon Did Astrology?!”

  1. The illustrations remind me of 70s daytime TV that I saw as a kid. The 70s also had that brown shagpile grimness in addition to the plastic fantastic colour explosion. Women probably still weren’t allowed to own a house in their name in most parts of the world when these were published – it feels more like ‘Choose your flavour of entrapment’. And as a Scorpio male, that guy on the cover has already destroyed the evidence and is thinking about his next meal 🤣. Aquarius is giving me come up to my apartment and view my etchings vibes.

  2. oooh I SO LOVE astrology-based portraits! and guessing signs/ascendants/moons from the physical aspect! does anyone know any illustrated book please? I only have one from the early ’80s, which is very accurate from the physiognomic point of view. I found another one in a second-hand bookstore ages ago and stupidly didn’t buy it: 30 years later I can still remember the scorpio lady and being transfixed by her stare (venus, mars and neptune in scorpio), and even though i didn’t know much of astrology at the time I found her slightly seedy but not druggy rock chick look very appropriate = vibing extra DEEP (battered black leather jacket, deep-neck black top, minimal necklace, slightly dishevelled dark mid-length hair, no make up). I could almost smell her (patchouli oil or ‘opium’ by ysl).

  3. Astrology was ‘everything’ in the late 60s early 70s & I can almost smell the musty pages of these dime store paperbacks!

  4. whoah, i would love to read these.
    wonder if Barbara Cartland wrote these aswell as her M& B novels???

  5. “…so perhaps they decided not to sleep with the other half of the zodiac.”😂😂

    1000% about the aquarius man. The shirt and tie on the Sadge looks like a front though. He’s too weathered for that. Why isn’t he wearing a battered sleeveless khaki shirt? Or is he in academia now after half a lifetime of “field research” in the central Mexico peyote fields? So I propose that he is in the import/export business but not all of his shipments are entirely on the books if you know what I mean. Also i feel that Aries and Taurus should be swapped around so that Aries gets to be the hot one. Mostly because I am set against Taurus men and very much pro- Aries

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