Friday, August 15, 2008

When did you fall in love with romance?

For me it was in the sixth grade. The first romance I read was one of the old "malt shop romances" written in the 40s and 50s. I think they were already out of print by the time I read them in the mid-70s. Do any of you remember Rosamond du Jardin? She was my favorite. I devoured all of her books. My favorite was Marcy Catches Up, set in Colorado, which is now my home. The young love and happy endings enthralled me.

Also in sixth grade, I discovered Harlequin. Back then they only published the sweet romances, but for an adolescent girl, reading about adult love was very exciting! The first one I read was called Helping Dr. Medway. I don't recall the plot or the author, but I do recall being totally immersed in the story.

A year or so later, I stumbled upon a book called Forever by Judy Blume. Now I know you've all read that one! Though not technically a romance, because the hero and heroine don't actually end up together, it was a graphic depiction of a young woman's first sexual experience. Remember Ralph? LOL.

So my question today is, what is the first romance you ever read? For some of you, it will be The Flame and the Flower. Naughty me -- I only read that one for the first time two years ago! But I did discover Danielle Steel when I was younger, and a new series called Silhouette showcasing some new authors, one of whom was an unknown named Nora Roberts.

I can't wait to read all your responses!

Helen
www.helenhardt.com

15 comments:

Lara Dien said...

I discovered romance novels probably around 13 or so. Up til then, it was either non-fiction or mystery novels. My parents would let me read any genre, but if they found out...well, then they had a say in it!

So, I remember lots of Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring; Barbara Cartland (but immediately followed by a still-favorite Georgette Heyer); Harlequins, which my mother hated, and one of Harlequin's (I think) first American romances by Janet Dailey. I was probably 15 or 16 when I discovered the new Silhouette line ....somewhere in there was Kathleen Woodiwiss, any gothic I could get my hands on (early romantic suspense, I suppose), Shannon Drake....

I read about 20 books a week when I was a teen, so the timing is a bit iffy LOL

Lara

Devon Gray said...

I can't remember the name, but I know it was geared for teens and it featured a Native American hero. To this day, they are still my favorite heores to read about. As for "Forever", I remember sneaking it into the pile of books my mom bought me at the store. She saw the name Judy Blume and gave it the nod of approval. **snicker** I absolutely love the book "Summer Sisters" by Judy Blume. It is written for adults, but has the feel of her books we all loved as teens.

Kristin said...

My first romance novel... I was 12. Danielle Steel's The Promise. That was 1978. My friend gave me the book and I still own it today. It made a huge impression on me as a young girl, planted the seed for the dreams and wishes for that kind of love and romance when I grew up. Still gives me goosebumps when I think back on it...

Kristin Daniels

Liza James said...

I read my first romance novel on the drive home from a trip to the U.P. of Michigan with my now hubby and his parents. My mom had always been a romance reader, so when my MIL and I were browsing the shops on main street and came across a used book store, I decided to buy her (my mom) a couple of her favorites - The Flame & the Flower (don't laugh, Helen!) and the Wolf & the Dove by the late great Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

I honestly can't recall for sure which one I read first (TWATD I think), but I fell hard and fast. After that, I read a novel a day (sometimes up to 10 books a week) for years. I think the 3rd book I read was Loves Tender Fury by the late Jennifer Wilde (Tom Huff), which I'll never forget. :-)

TamiC said...

I just started reading any books about a year and half to two years ago. The first book I read was Kiss the Moon by Lisa Jackson. And now I read allllllllllllllllll the time. I have a few authors that if I see a book of theres I grab it, I don't even pay attention to what it is just have to have it!

Karen H in NC said...

The first romance book I read was 'Gone With the Wind' followed by 'Forever Amber' (early 60s). Later, in the 70's, I read a lot of Valerie Sherwood and Patricia Matthews, my 2 favorite authors of that time.

DawnM said...

Can't remember really. Think I picked up one of Mum's Mills & Boons. I was more interested in SF/Fantasy when I was younger so I prob didn't read a romance til I was 17 or so. Got an idea it was a Helen Bianchin... forced marriage, kinda got me hooked on bodice rippers. Well it was the 80s. First real romance was Wolf and the Dove.

Lara Dien said...

Isn't it interesting that so many of us (I've seen this other places, too) got our romance "start" reading the Divine Ms. W? Whether it was in the 70s, or much more recently, whether we stuck with historicals or found something else, seems like everyone who read her found an attraction to the genre that stuck...

Lara

Debra St. John said...

I discovered romance reading in high school when I got an advertisement in the mail for free books from the Harlequin American line. I subscribed and was in heaven each month when my four new books would arrive! I think it was then that I decided I wanted to be a writer some day. (Although I can also remember reading Judy Blum's "Forever" back in Junior High. I also remember thinking how scandalous it was to be reading such things at such a 'tender' age!)

Laura K said...

You know my mom introduced me to romances in the sixth grade, too. I can't remember the first one from Harlequin Romance. I remember loving those presents, too. My favorites were Violet Winspear, Carole Mortimer, and Janet Dailey. I bet if I look I'll find some of those and some Barbara Cartlands up in my attic!

Lyn said...

I started with Harlequin romances in 6th grade, I remember one title in particular "The Three Princes" but I couldn't tell you who wrote it. I also read a lot of Barbara Cartland, then went on to Johanna Lindsey and Danielle Steele. I stopped reading romance for years and didn't get back into it until the mid-90's with Jayne Ann Krentz, Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood.

Now I read all the different genres of romance, and when I found e-books it opened a whole new world. Books to store on the computer so my husband couldn't complain about there being no more space, what could be better?! :-)

Lyn

Cherie J said...

Actually got hooked on romance by Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Went from there to Harlequin and eventually silhouette. Since then I have been hooked. Currently I am heavily into paranormal and fantasy romance.

Pam P said...

I was more into mystery thrillers and then read all the gothic authors. Then my aunt sent me a Rosemary Rogers, but I really got into romances when my friend said forget that and try The Wolf and the Dove by Woodiwiss, which started me looking for more of her and other historical authors, along with the gothics, and another great author I discovered, Anya Seton. Moved on to Heyer and so many others, and still love historical romance today.

Liza James said...

Lyn, our romance stories are somewhat similar. I burnt myself out reading so much that I quit for a few years, too. And Jayne Ann Krentz, Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood are three of my fave authors. A Kingdom of Dreams is my all-time favorite book and Honor's Splendour is in my top five. :-) And I went through a phase where I read like 40 of JAK books one after the other...LOL She's actually the reason I discovered RWA, I even mention her on my Donna Marie Rogers website.

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Helen! I didn't know you were here this day. So I'll post even if I'm late! I've always loved being a romantic, incurable that is. I discovered romance novels through Harlequin. But I always thought there should be sci-fi/paranormal subplots! Well, now there are!