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…

  1. I also found the love of romance novels in a Kathleen novel The Wild and The Dove. After that one I was hooked forever. I do read other genres and a lot of non-fiction but when I need an escape from life Romance is my go to.

    Thank you for all your hard work to bring us the ability to escape.

  2. I loved the Flame and the Flower. Whatever got you interested was a good thing because I do enjoy your books.

  3. I started with The Flame and The Flower as well. Then moved on to Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, Mary Higgins Clark. Now I have a whole different set of favorite authors.

  4. Don’t forget The Wolf and The Dove.
    I was in the library so much that they offered me a job at 16!
    I was using my mom’s card to read.

  5. Janet Dailey’s Tidewater Lover when I was around 12 years old. Been reading voraciously ever since.

  6. I started reading at age 10 a gothic romance but can’t remember the name but the first “long” romance I read outside of category ones was The Flame and the Flower.

  7. While it may sound like I’m trying to suck up to you (maybe I am), the truth is: Animal Attraction. It was the puppy on the cover. That led to reading book one and three (available at the time), which led to Lucky Harbor, and so on. It’s all your fault. 😉

  8. Susan Elizabeth Phillips “This Heart of Mine.” It had humor and a happily ever after. The heroine wasn’t anywhere close to being a model, but she still got the sexy, pro football hero.

  9. I honestly don’t have a clue…it was a long time ago…in a galaxy far, far away… All I know is that I haven’t stopped since!

  10. I have to say – I’m not really sure which book it was! But I’m pretty certain I’ve been reading some version of romance since my teens…so at least 23 years of loving romance books. But I do remember the “bodice rippers” my mother used to read every summer when she was out sunning.

  11. I read a few of those teenage romance books back in middle school. This was before the bodice rippers which I devour once they came out. Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, Judith McNaughton, Cynthia Wright, Beatrice Small, Johanna Lindsay, were all part of my daily reading. In fact I still own some of those originally released paperbacks.

    Jill – I hid my books inside the textbook IN CLASS. As long as I was in the back of the room.

  12. Like you my first modern romance writer was Kathleen Wodiwiss and “Flame and the Flower”. I’m older than you so that I also raid Rosemary Rogers, and anything that had a swash-buckling hero and damsel in distress. Another of my favorite authors at the time was Laurie McBain, Devil’s Desire. This was all in the 70s! By the mid80s and 90s, I got into Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, etc.

  13. My introduction was like yours. I started with Woodiwiss, then McNaught. From there I was hooked. I found an erotic writer, Roberta Latow, hose characters were bigger than life. I also discovered you, for lighter reading, and Sharon Sala for books that made you think. Along the way I have added more authors. I do not like wimpy females, nor do I like abusive men. Within those guidelines I have SEP, Nora Roberts, Jill Barnett, and a few other excellent authors who make my days bearable.

  14. The first romance I read was so long ago I have no idea which it was! I graduated from The Bobbsey Twins to teen romance & then onto historical romance, Temptation, where I first read Jill Shalvis 🙂 I read a long list of contemporary romance authors where the one & only Jill Shalvis is right at the top!
    By the way, imagine my surprise when I took Chasing Christmas Eve off the tbr shelf, opened it up to find that the book had an autograph! Thanks Jill. Good reading but I’m just getting started!

  15. All of the above and then some! Mine started with Gothic novels and morphed into Historical and back to contemporary. They all have to have a happily ever after or I’ll know the reason why. I remember back years ago my sister in law loaned me her copy of The Flame and The Flower, I was gobsmacked. Oh, and I never returned it. And she’s also the one to get me to read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon which I’ve read twice. Really a great series.

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