When I read that KFC had branched out into romance publishing. I had to take a look. Tender Wings of Desire: A Mother’s Day Novella by Colonel Sanders is free to download from Amazon. Catchy title, but why?
According to KFC’s Director of Advertising, George Felix, “The only thing better than being swept away by the deliciousness of our Extra Crispy Chicken is being swept away by Harland Sanders himself.” He went on to say, “This Mother’s Day, the bucket of chicken I get for my wife will come with a side of steamy romance novella. Dinner is taken care of and she’ll have the time to escape her busy schedule.”
Lucky Mrs Felix, she won’t even have to worry about the washing up. And neither will the millions of moms who are treated to fried chicken on Mother’s Day, KFC’s biggest day of the year.
As a childless vegetarian, I am not in KFC’s target market. However, I am a connoisseur of the romance genre. For what it’s worth, here is my review:
Lady Madeline is artlessly beautiful and hopeless at embroidery. She has a mind of her own and yearns for adventure. Her social-climbing parents arrange her engagement to Reginald, Duke of Sainsbury: tall and handsome, with all the personality of a loaf of white bread. When Reginald announces, they are to honeymoon in “London or the country,” Madeline can’t bear it, she was hoping for “the Continent.” Forsaking both her family and her fiancé’s fortune, she lands a job as a barmaid in a seaside town far from her father’s estate. Enter the enigmatic Harland – the most handsome sailor she’s ever seen despite his glasses.
The Main Theme
Madeline knows what she doesn’t want and runs away from it as fast as she can. By having courage, no clue how the world works, and quite a lot of luck, she discovers her heart’s desire.
My Honest Thoughts
The cover shows jolly old Colonel Sanders, with muscled arms and slim hips, carrying a jeans-clad redhead. Somewhat misleading as in the book the Colonel is young while Lady Madeline has chocolate brown curls and wears frocks that would make Scarlett O’Hara green with envy.
Harland’s late entry into the story means zero conflict between hero and heroine, a staple of the romance genre. In fact, all the angst and most of the action is in the first half. And my favorite romance trope, the bad-girl who has her hooks in the hero’s heart, is absent. Ditto a rival for our leading lady’s affection. What fun if the evil clown, Ronald McDonald, were to cast a lustful eye in Lady Madeline’s direction.
Conflict is not the only thing missing: the steam, alluded to by George Felix, happens off-page. And why is England the setting? Somewhere closer to Gone With The Wind territory would make more sense. Like Kentucky.
Tender Wings of Desire is 97 pages. From my reckoning, that’s about 32,000 words. Several hundred, if not several thousand, of which end in -ly, as in: terribly, truly and really.
But my biggest bugbear is the lack of research. For example, “‘Oh please call me Madeline, Duke,’ Madeline awkwardly replied.” No wonder she felt awkward, a duke should be addressed, by someone of a lower rank as Your Grace, at least in the first instance after which time she could call him Sir. When married she could call him Duke as they’d be on the same level, though she’d probably opt for Reg. But I digress, a few paragraphs later, we learn that Madeline’s younger sister hasn’t “debuted yet.” Wrong! The young woman, “hasn’t been presented yet” as in, presented to society.
On the plus side, I’m happy to report Tender Wings of Desire has inspired some entertaining reviews on Amazon. Here are two examples:
I get that this novella is KFC’s attempt to have a little fun. Pity it lacked wit, creativity and well, fun. In fact, it’s about as creative as giving a bucket of fried chicken as a gift on Mother’s Day.
For a piece of advertising that nails it, here’s the very first Kentucky Fried Chicken advert I ever saw – I can still remember all the words.
YouTube Channel: eat4freeatkfc
Featured image via KFC
h/t Business Insider