Andrea here. In this month's Ask A Wench, we're all dishing on the first romance book we ever read. The answers and musings are so much fun, I won't waste time on a flowery intro—let's just jump right into the stories! (But be sure share what YOUR first romance book was in the comments!)
Anne: The first romance (in the sense of a love story) I read was These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer which I borrowed from my local library when I was eleven. I didn't really think of it as a romance at the time, just a really good book with a lovely happy ending. I loved the various characters and the brilliant humor and the story, which contained so many things I later discovered were popular tropes in romance. The story contained elements of the "chick-in-pants", "Cinderella," "The Lost Heir," "The Secret Identity," the "Innocent and the Jaded Rake" and more, which all made for an enticing and engrossing read. I went on to read (and reread) all her other books.
The impact it had on me is pretty obvious. Georgette Heyer is the reason I write Regency-era historical romance. I don't try to imitate her — that would be impossible — but because of her, and because I discovered her books so young, I almost feel as if I grew up in that particular Regency World and it feels a bit like home to me. It wasn't until years later, when I was setting out to become a writer, that I learned that there was a whole genre devoted to historical romance, and when I discovered that publishers were publishing Regency-era romance, I knew then it was what I wanted to write. And so I did.