Over the weekend, I was going through my bookshelf, and lo and behold, I found a dog-eared copy of GONE WITH THE WIND
which I first read when I was in my mid-teens.
I was pretty oblivious, then, of the social and racial implications of the book—I was just caught up in the story of Scarlett and Rhett.

That got me to thinking about the books that got me into this romance business to begin with—books that influence me to this day. Beside GWTW I was a complete Victoria Holt addict.

It didn’t matter that the stories were all pretty much the same (it didn’t take long to figure that all out!). I just loved her.

As a teenager, who could resist her stories of young women (and they were always barely out of their teens) who were facing all sorts of emotional angst. These women were usually orphans, sent off into unknown territory, and faced with figuring out their lives, their loves, and navigating themselves through a big, dark, scarey house.

From Holt I also learned the rules: blonde men are bad; dark-haired men seem to the bad, but they are good; young, genteel women will probably betray you, but the plain-spoken maid is your friend.

I always love to hear the books that got readers into romance. Believe it or not, there is one called JANE-EMILY by Patricia Clapp that I’ve had at least three fellow editors absolutely rave over. I adored it, and to this day I remember the ghost in the shiny metal garden ball….


Blogger Adele G said:

Jane Eyre is one of the first books that gave me a love of romance. I'd never read anyone like Mr. Rochester before - he was real swoon-territory, with that determination to go after what he wanted without counting the cost, yet tempered by occasional playful humor. Once I'd read that plus GWTW, I'd sworn off blonde men forever.

4:24 PM  

Anonymous Lucia said:

I know--that St John Rivers was also blond (I think!)

5:42 PM  

Blogger Camy Tang said:

I loved those old Coventry Romances series--does anyone remember those? I still have several in my bookshelves. My first and favorite is REGENCY MISS by Alix Melbourne.

1:00 AM  

Blogger Carol Burge said:

Like most everyone, I read my first romance as a teen (70's).

The first romance novel I remember reading is Rosemary Rogers' SWEET SAVAGE LOVE, and of course, Kathleen Woodiweiss. I've been hooked ever since!

~Carol B.

12:13 AM  

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