My First Romance (Novel)

Writing the previous blog got me thinking more about pre-teen and adolescent book particular, it reminded me about the first romance novel I ever read.

I was 11 years old and loved historical YA fiction--ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND, ANNE OF GREEN GABLES--so I thought I hit the jackpot when, on a trip to the city dump with my dad, I found two FREE (!) historical looking books on the take-it-or-leave-it shelf. The first was the entirely age appropriate CHRISTY by Catherine Marshall...the second was called LOUISA ELLIOT by Anne Victoria Roberts...and YA fiction it was not.

No, it was a dark, gothic romance about a governess who is nearly debauched by her licentious employer and then wooed into disgrace by a handsome sea-captain, only to learn, after eloping with him, that he is married to an insane woman (Jane Eyre style). It was epic and I was transfixed (evidently, as I still remember the plot in detail). I don't think I did anything but sit wide-eyed and glued to the couch reading for two days straight.

What was the first romance you ever picked up? Did it belong to your mom or an older sister? And what would you recommend to a friend looking to get hooked? (I recently had my 19-year-old twin sisters start with DEVIL'S BRIDE and my college roommate with LORD OF SCOUNDRELS.)


Blogger joy said:

Great post!

There are two seminal moments in my romance reading history:

1) On the bus, in 6th grade when Jenny Douglas handed me Sweet Valley High's Dear Sister. I read it that night, cried like a baby and was hooked. On that SVH, and then all the other quite innocent YA romance imprints: Couples, Silhouette YA, Swept Away historicals, Wildfire contemps and historicals.

2) On the bus, in 7th grade when Tammy Wyckoff handed me Sandra Brown's Thursday's Child from Loveswept. I read it before dinner and got an eye-popping surprise of *that's* really what happens? And I was hooked (on category), and the rest is history.

(Although, even though I love them now, I can honestly say that I never read the longer romances until after college. And it's weird to say, but still to this day, I've never read a true bodice ripper.)

I don't really have a recommendation of my own to get people to read romances...what ends up happening is that they're already reading the genre, and I just recommend my own list of favorite authors...

1:57 PM  

Blogger Pam P said:

Those two are great recommendations for a new romanc reader. LOS is at the top of my alltime favorites list.

After I went through all the gothics and other mysteries through my teens, my aunt gave me Danielle Steel and Rosemary Rogers, but the one that turned me onto historical romance was The Wolf and the Dove by Woodiwiss, recommended by a girlfriend at work.

7:32 PM  

Blogger Jessica Coe said:

I love these types of conversations! A friend sent me something on facebook that asks you to list the top 15 influential books in my life. You're supposed to do it quickly without much thought so as to get a reactionary response. I overthought it, of course, so I haven't written back...

This, however, I think I know the answer to. My first: "Gone with the Wind". Read it in the 8th grade in one sitting; I didn't sleep at all that night.

Thereafter, I checked out whatever was available at our local library. I don't remember titles, but some influential authors: Julie Garwood, Catherine Coulter, Amanda Quick, and Sandra Brown.

11:21 PM  

Anonymous Juliana Stone said:

wow, though I dont' remember the first romance book I read exactly, it would have been my mom's and either a western, or a pirate...she loved those! The first book I remember reading that I should not have read, was, for a youngun that taught me more than Health class for sure!

8:37 AM  

Blogger Amanda said:

Oh, Sweet Valley High---I loved the Sagas (which chronicled the love stories of all the of the generations leading up to Elizabeth and Jessisca's parents--and I think the did one for Lila Fowler's family too)

12:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home