Consuming Passion (TV Movie 2008) - Plot Summary Poster

(2008 TV Movie)


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  • Three intertwined stories to celebrate the the centenary of romance-publishing house Mills and Boon. The first, concerning Charles Boon's tempestuous relationship with his wife Mary, is complemented by storylines set in the 1970s and the present day.

  • Three stories to celebrate the centenary of the British publishers of romantic fiction, Mills and Boon, are cross-cut. In 1908 Mary Boon, from a wealthy family and recently married to the lower-class Charlie, supports him financially when he and his business partner, Gerald Mills, start a publishing house specializing in brightly-packaged, inexpensive, and easy-to-read fiction. Charles' innovative idea is that the readers will also be the writers, actually being invited to submit their own plotlines for publication. When the First World War breaks out and Charlie enlists in the Royal Navy, Mary runs the publishing house herself. She is aware of the lack of passion in her own marriage when she accidentally witnesses a married male employee having sex with a female colleague. On Charlie's return she has become a much more forceful character and it is her idea that Mills and Boon specialize in love stories aimed at the female reader, telling her husband that "Women need romance." In the 1970s Janet, a clumsy, much put-upon secretary, accompanies her elderly, widowed mother to hospital for the latter's hip replacement and develops a crush on the handsome doctor performing the operation, ultimately making a fool of herself by stalking him and gate-crashing his party, where she falls into a hot-tub. On the plus side, she creates a romanticized version of them, with herself as the glamorous Nurse Violetta Kiss and him as a saturnine love object she seduces in his shower. The resultant novel that she writes about them is accepted by Mills and Boon and she is offered work as a staff writer for them. In 2008, buttoned-up thirtysomething Kirstie, a college lecturer specializing in the history of fiction, is living with her reliable but dull partner Nick when she becomes attracted to the aggressively-sexual Jake, a 23-year-old student who never seems to wear a shirt. After sparring with him in class, she succumbs to some passionate minutes with him in the college library, and starts to glam herself up more. Ultimately she leaves Nick for Jake, knowing that the age gap may provide difficulties but accepting, as Mary Boon had commented 90 years earlier, "Women need romance."


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