I'm too busy repeating "it was written in 1953" from between gritted teeth to write anything very insightful about Margaret Malcolm's Cherish This Wayward Heart but here's the blurb, from a 1983 Harlequin reprint:
All her life Judith had tried to make up for not being the son her father had wanted. She was determined to be as good as any man.
Now, with her father's death, Windygates Farm was hers. And right from the start she resented the new estate manager, Charles Saxilby.
But, in the ensuing battle of wills between them, Charles taught Judith to be a woman!
Obviously, this heroine is doomed to fail: there is no way she can run a farm as well as a man could because
Men and women were different. Had and ought to have a different outlook on life so that each was not the same as the other but complementary. Right from the beginning it had been been impossible for her to take the place of the son that her father had wanted so fervently, and she should never have been allowed to try. Life had always been frustrating because she had attempted to live it in a way that was foreign to a woman's nature, only she had been too stubborn to see that or admit it if she had.
And that, of all reasons, was the real one why she had hated Charles. He, with the normal man's approach, had taken it for granted that she would rely on him - that she would need to, just because he was a man and she a woman. And he had compelled her to admit it to herself, if no one else. He had always been there when she needed help - and she had needed it. (553-554)
The novel teaches that a woman simply can't do a man's job, because men and women are different and are therefore naturally best suited to different jobs. It's interesting, though, that the blurb says Judith needs to be "taught [...] to be a woman" because Simone de Beauvoir has argued that
"One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." By this, Beauvoir means to destroy the essentialism which claims that women are born "feminine" (according to whatever the culture and time define it to be) but are rather constructed to be such through social indoctrination. (Mussett)
I doubt that's quite what the blurb writer had in mind, though. Personally, I think Beauvoir was correct, and I'd suggest that Cherish This Wayward Heart provides evidence that romance novels can, on occasion, help with "social indoctrination."
Malcolm, Margaret. Cherish This Wayward Heart. In The third anthology of 3 Harlequin Romances by Margaret Malcolm. Toronto: Harlequin, 1983. 385-574.
Mussett, Shannon. "Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
An untamed North African Elephant Shrew, via Wikimedia Commons.