What book started it all…

Recently I was asked what book introduced me to romance, and what do I remember about it?

Long story, actually. 🙂 I grew up as the only non-athlete in my family. I was little, scrawny, and completely uncoordinated. I was a wallflower, and the only thing that made me come to life was a book. The town library was my favorite place in the entire world. It sat directly between school and home — the perfect place to lose myself for hours.

This being in the days before cell phones and internet, I really have no idea what my mom thought I was doing all afternoon. Her only rule was, be home before the street lights came on. Fine by me. I’d sneak into the very back of the library where there were big, comfy bean bag chairs, and uncategorized romance novels on racks and racks. I’d open a Chem book, or whatever that day’s homework was, and then stick one of the naughty historicals from the racks right inside my school book. I started with Kathleen Woodiwiss The Flame And the Flower and then promptly inhaled everything she wrote and moved onto Judith McNaught.

I’d found my world, reading about juicy, forbidden love affairs between deliciously alpha heroes and the heroines I could only pretend to be. I got way more out of those books than I ever got out of Sex Ed class. A girl can’t get a better education than a good old fashioned historical romance.

How about you? What book started it all, introduced you to romance? And what do you remember about it?

57 Comments on “What book started it all…

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  1. Seems we both started out the same. The Flame and theFlower was my absolute favorite at the time. Judith McNaught and of course Johanna Lindsey! And, now way too many to even list….❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  2. Kathleen Woodiwiss The Flame And the Flower was also my first book. I didn’t get into reading until later in life – my daughter was put in the hospital & of course I stayed with her so a friend loaned me a book to read & I was hooked .

  3. I always hated reading. I always did the bare minimum. I was a math and science girl. I didn’t read for fun until I was an adult and teacher no less. I had major surgery that had me laid out for 8 weeks. A friend brought me Judith McNaught’s Paradise. I hated it at first. The beginning was so boring that I smack my friend with the book when she visited. But she told me to give it a few more pages. I could not put the remaining 600 pages down! Best. Book. Ever! That started my love of reading romance books. It also made me the perfect example to my students (without them knowing my love for romance). Find an author/genre you love. Then you will find your love for reading. For me it’s authors…Judith McNaught, Shalvis, and Lori Foster!

  4. I found Eugenia Price and read through all of her books which are New Orleans historicals and romances. Then one day I found Kathleen Woodiwiss and have read through hers. And, the rest is history as they say.

  5. Catherine Coulter’s Sherbrooke Bride that I found left behind in a seat back on airplane – then I was hooked on Historical Romances.. this past year and a half I’ve gotten a bit burned out on reading just historical romances and started reading contemporary and luckily discovered Jill Shalvis! Now have been trying to catch up on all the great contemporary romances.

  6. I have been addicted to reading since I was 4 when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    I worked at libraries at different times.

    I was a reading snob. I did not understand how women could read “romance novels”. Surely they were better than that.

    After Mr Wonderful dumped me for a newer and better model, I moved to a new city, far from friends and family.

    I lived not far from a library and of course eventually felt like that is where I needed to be. I found the fiction section and there was a book by Judith McNaught – Until You.

    I recognized why -within that book there was love and happily ever after – I have never looked back.

  7. I believe I was in 6th grade and it was Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. A friend let me borrow it. I just started reading everything I could. Valerie Sherwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss, etc. When I got a little older I bought the 4 Harlequin books every month. My first monthly bill!

  8. I remember sneaking a peak at my older sisters book Valley of the Dolls which I don’t think I would call romance. I do remember Shanna and then I read Julie Garwood and I loved Judith McNaught. Judith McNaught was actually the first author I ever met. I wen to a book signing in March of 2003 and that book is very special to me.

  9. A friend lent me a copy of Sandra Brown’s French Silk. That was the first. I moved on to Heather Graham, Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught. By the time I finished high school I’m pretty sure I had read each one’s entire library!

  10. Mary Stewart- Moonspinners after seeing the movie. But Katherine Woodwiss was wonderful. I read every one as soon as it came out. A friend at work introduced me to them.

  11. The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers was my first romance. I was a reader from the time I learned to read. I have always loved the library. I was the same way, I could stay at the library all day.
    I don’t remember too much about The Wildest Heart anymore, it has been 44 years ago I read it, but I remember I was hooked on romance from then on. I have read 1000’s of them since then. I really enjoy you books, some of my favorites.

  12. It was Flame and the Flower for me too. I discovered it on my grandmother’s bookshelf while visiting and secretly read it. Then I gobbled up all of Woodiwiss’s other works. Then I found my mom’s romance novels.

    I was the girl in high school who always carried a novel with her. Susan Johnson’s _Outlaw_ was one of my favorites.

  13. YES!! The Flame and the Flower for me too. It was the most engrossing story I had ever read. I was hooked.

  14. Oh so many years ago I was a best sellers list reader. My daughter who was at UC Davis came home one weekend and said “mom you have to read this bike, you’ll love it”. That was a Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was hooked. Now I read a variety but if there is a Carr, Shalvis , Mallery or Putney around it is read. I discovered Brenda Novak recently and guess I had better add it to the list too. There are really too many to list. Reading is my escape .

  15. My mother-in-law lent me the first book and I can’t remember the title. After I read it I realized I’d been reading romances since my pre-teen days. I loved to read Janet Lambert’s young adult books which were romances.

  16. Whitney, My Love was my first introduction (16 years old and in love with all those Dukes and Earls), it was quickly followed by Lisa Kleypas, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn. Then I discovered a taste for contemporary (you, Sarah Morgan, Susan Mallory just to name a few).

  17. I don’t remember the name of it (because I’m older than dirt) my girlfriend snagged it from her mom’s room. Holy moly it was about pirates. The heroine became a pirate and I was so on board with that. Books are my escape from reality. Movies are good, however nothing can match your own imagination and your own pictures in your head.

  18. I have no idea, I just picked up an M&B book one day in the library (I escaped there every day to get away from home) and never looked back

  19. The Flame and the Flower was my first. Followed by Rosemary Rogers’ books then on to Valley of the Dolls.

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