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How Mills & Boon made medicine romantic

In the 20th century, doctors and nurses became sex symbols and romantic heroes and heroines as medical Mills & Boon novels grew and spread with the newly created NHS. Agnes Arnold-Forster explores the surprisingly nuanced pictures of women’s lives and clinical labour that they depict.

Words by Agnes Arnold-Forster

  • In pictures

About the author

Black and white, head and shoulders portrait of Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster.

Agnes Arnold-Forster

Dr Agnes Arnold-Forster is a writer and historian of healthcare, medicine, and the emotions. She is the author of two books, ‘The Cancer Problem’ (OUP, 2021) and ‘Cold, Hard Steel: The Myth of the Modern Surgeon’ (MUP, 2023) and her third, ‘Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion’, will be published by Picador in April 2024. She is a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and together with Caitjan Gainty, she runs the Healthy Scepticism project.