Wench Classic: The First Romance

Word Wenches has been going strong for over four years (!), which means a LOT of posts by now for each Wench. Sometimes we go through the archives and find something we'd like to bring out again – kind of like discovering a favorite old sweater in the back of the closet that you forgot you had!
So I've picked one and spiffed it up a little …

The First Romance

Susan here!

Redrose Do you remember the first romance you ever read? Did you know at the time that it was a romance, either romance genre or something with strong romantic elements? Romance Writers of America defines a romance novel in this way: "Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending."

What was the first novel you ever read that met these criteria? More specifically, what was the first romance novel you ever read, even if you didn't know it qualified at the time–and how did it shape your reading tastes later in life?

Wolf and Dove
I used to think that the first romance I ever read was when I was in grad school, and happened to be confined to bedrest for a while with nothing else to do. A well-meaning friend brought me a tattered copy of The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss, because I was in medieval studies. It was an addictive, life-changing reading experience. I searched out more like it. I hid my growing reading habit for a while, too, not sure I could own up to it in the hallowed halls of the academic institution where I otherwise delved into very different romances—the medieval and epic sort, the kind written in Middle English or medieval French.

Dunrobin_castle_libraryYet I had loved reading fiction since childhood, and didn't realize until later that I had cut my reading (and writing) teeth on romance novels—and romantic fiction–long before The Wolf and the Dove found me. I haunted libraries as a kid, toting out armloads of books on a weekly basis … I remember vividly the wonderful smell of that old small-town library–the mingled scents of books, of paper and binding leather, of wooden floors, marble, brass. It’s a scent that newer libraries don’t seem to have, an aged, solid smell that’s part materials and part magic, that holds promise and enchantment and freedom to learn and explore.

Eyre
It was in that old library that I first began reading romantic stories, like Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird PondLittle Women and the romantic thread with Jo March and her Professor Bhaer … and Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester:

    "..Are you anything akin to me, do you think, Jane?"

Leighton_paintershoneymoonI could risk no sort of answer by this time: my heart was still. "Because," he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you–especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you,–you'd forget me."
"That I NEVER should, sir: you know–"  Impossible to proceed.

>THUD<  Ah…a little melodramatic and OTT for us today, yet its romantic power runs very deep, and catches a romantic soul all unaware, and for life.

Moonspinners

Later I discovered Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney and got hooked on romantic suspense and gothic romance. I gobbled everything I could find from Daphne Du Maurier to Elizabeth Peters, and then began to munch my way through historicals, such as medievals by Rosemary Hawley Jarman, and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind (which I read four times in high school). I read Jane Eyre again … and then discovered Anya Seton. If she or Mary Stewart had left grocery lists around somewhere, I would have pounced upon them as poetry.

But noooooo, I never read romance until The Wolf and the Dove. Yet since childhood I had been reading rich, romantic, heart-rending, classic romantic novels, stories that were emotional and exciting, often beautiful written and totally captivating. I was not only becoming a romance reader, I was becoming a romance writer. And I thought I was headed for art school and then academia ….

 
What I savored in those books was that feeling of having my heart seem to turn within me, that emotional wrench, that sense of emotional satisfaction and uplifting emotional reward. And then I found that all those feelings and more were in this thick, battered paperback of The Wolf and the Dove–  along with some crazymaking exasperation (how could she fall for such a jerk? how could he be such a pig, and she so stupid? Ah, but I wanted it to all work out in the end, and it did, and somehow I forgave their stupid but sensual pigheadedness and I wanted more, more, more!)

So I went from there to so many wonderful historical romances (historical in particular!) that I could barely count them. I had always wanted to write, had lots of stories in my head and had tried my hand at it in different ways, and I began to feel a true urge to write stories that would capture the feelings and the excitement that reading gave me. 

 
Queenhereafter_
What I found was that over the years of “not” reading romance, I had absorbed the sensibilities of romance thoroughly. I had long been an addict and afficionado, and I had come to understand the forms and features of the genre without realizing it. And what I learned now infuses, I hope, everything I write, whether it's romance fiction or historical fiction with a touch of romance.

I go back now and then to some of the same early reads, and I still get a renewed sense of that early wonder and anticipation – Jane Eyre, Rebecca, anything by Mary Stewart. The writing, too, is infinitely lovely and the dated quality has timeless charm.

Where did you start reading romance? Was it Austen and Heyer, or Holt and Stewart, was it Jane Eyre and Little Women, or something else? And how have those reading patterns influenced your choices now?

~Susan

95 thoughts on “Wench Classic: The First Romance”

  1. Ah! one’s first Romance! A bit like one’s first kiss – but better, because you can go back to it again and again.
    For me, it was Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’. It’s got everything: passion, drama, colour and a vividly drawn historical background. Katherine’s a terrific heroine. She’s beautiful and spirited but with a touch of vulnerability. And who could resist John of Gaunt with his leonine blond good looks and blue eyes?
    When, years later, I found myself teaching Shakespeare’s Richard II, I realized I already knew many of the play’s central characters, thanks to my youthful avid reading of ‘Katherine’.

    Reply
  2. Ah! one’s first Romance! A bit like one’s first kiss – but better, because you can go back to it again and again.
    For me, it was Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’. It’s got everything: passion, drama, colour and a vividly drawn historical background. Katherine’s a terrific heroine. She’s beautiful and spirited but with a touch of vulnerability. And who could resist John of Gaunt with his leonine blond good looks and blue eyes?
    When, years later, I found myself teaching Shakespeare’s Richard II, I realized I already knew many of the play’s central characters, thanks to my youthful avid reading of ‘Katherine’.

    Reply
  3. Ah! one’s first Romance! A bit like one’s first kiss – but better, because you can go back to it again and again.
    For me, it was Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’. It’s got everything: passion, drama, colour and a vividly drawn historical background. Katherine’s a terrific heroine. She’s beautiful and spirited but with a touch of vulnerability. And who could resist John of Gaunt with his leonine blond good looks and blue eyes?
    When, years later, I found myself teaching Shakespeare’s Richard II, I realized I already knew many of the play’s central characters, thanks to my youthful avid reading of ‘Katherine’.

    Reply
  4. Ah! one’s first Romance! A bit like one’s first kiss – but better, because you can go back to it again and again.
    For me, it was Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’. It’s got everything: passion, drama, colour and a vividly drawn historical background. Katherine’s a terrific heroine. She’s beautiful and spirited but with a touch of vulnerability. And who could resist John of Gaunt with his leonine blond good looks and blue eyes?
    When, years later, I found myself teaching Shakespeare’s Richard II, I realized I already knew many of the play’s central characters, thanks to my youthful avid reading of ‘Katherine’.

    Reply
  5. Ah! one’s first Romance! A bit like one’s first kiss – but better, because you can go back to it again and again.
    For me, it was Anya Seton’s ‘Katherine’. It’s got everything: passion, drama, colour and a vividly drawn historical background. Katherine’s a terrific heroine. She’s beautiful and spirited but with a touch of vulnerability. And who could resist John of Gaunt with his leonine blond good looks and blue eyes?
    When, years later, I found myself teaching Shakespeare’s Richard II, I realized I already knew many of the play’s central characters, thanks to my youthful avid reading of ‘Katherine’.

    Reply
  6. Well, if you’re getting that sort of technical (I usually site “First Love, Wild Love” by Janelle Taylor as my first romance novel), I’d say: Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The courtship of Almanzo Wilder and Laura was so swoon-worthy. *LOL* When she has that horrible job from hell and he drives every weekend–including during that horrendous snow storm–to come get her, even when she says “I have no romantic feelings for you!”–that’s the stuff of romance right there.

    Reply
  7. Well, if you’re getting that sort of technical (I usually site “First Love, Wild Love” by Janelle Taylor as my first romance novel), I’d say: Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The courtship of Almanzo Wilder and Laura was so swoon-worthy. *LOL* When she has that horrible job from hell and he drives every weekend–including during that horrendous snow storm–to come get her, even when she says “I have no romantic feelings for you!”–that’s the stuff of romance right there.

    Reply
  8. Well, if you’re getting that sort of technical (I usually site “First Love, Wild Love” by Janelle Taylor as my first romance novel), I’d say: Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The courtship of Almanzo Wilder and Laura was so swoon-worthy. *LOL* When she has that horrible job from hell and he drives every weekend–including during that horrendous snow storm–to come get her, even when she says “I have no romantic feelings for you!”–that’s the stuff of romance right there.

    Reply
  9. Well, if you’re getting that sort of technical (I usually site “First Love, Wild Love” by Janelle Taylor as my first romance novel), I’d say: Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The courtship of Almanzo Wilder and Laura was so swoon-worthy. *LOL* When she has that horrible job from hell and he drives every weekend–including during that horrendous snow storm–to come get her, even when she says “I have no romantic feelings for you!”–that’s the stuff of romance right there.

    Reply
  10. Well, if you’re getting that sort of technical (I usually site “First Love, Wild Love” by Janelle Taylor as my first romance novel), I’d say: Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The courtship of Almanzo Wilder and Laura was so swoon-worthy. *LOL* When she has that horrible job from hell and he drives every weekend–including during that horrendous snow storm–to come get her, even when she says “I have no romantic feelings for you!”–that’s the stuff of romance right there.

    Reply
  11. I, too, read all of the romantic suspense novels of the 60’s. Mary Stewart is my favorite and her books still hold up for me. My favorite is Wildfire at Midnight. I also love Anya Seton’s Green Darkness – a reincarnation story. I didn’t read romance during college but came back to it afterwards. These days I stick to older Regencies and historicals, although I do like chick lit author Katie Fforde.

    Reply
  12. I, too, read all of the romantic suspense novels of the 60’s. Mary Stewart is my favorite and her books still hold up for me. My favorite is Wildfire at Midnight. I also love Anya Seton’s Green Darkness – a reincarnation story. I didn’t read romance during college but came back to it afterwards. These days I stick to older Regencies and historicals, although I do like chick lit author Katie Fforde.

    Reply
  13. I, too, read all of the romantic suspense novels of the 60’s. Mary Stewart is my favorite and her books still hold up for me. My favorite is Wildfire at Midnight. I also love Anya Seton’s Green Darkness – a reincarnation story. I didn’t read romance during college but came back to it afterwards. These days I stick to older Regencies and historicals, although I do like chick lit author Katie Fforde.

    Reply
  14. I, too, read all of the romantic suspense novels of the 60’s. Mary Stewart is my favorite and her books still hold up for me. My favorite is Wildfire at Midnight. I also love Anya Seton’s Green Darkness – a reincarnation story. I didn’t read romance during college but came back to it afterwards. These days I stick to older Regencies and historicals, although I do like chick lit author Katie Fforde.

    Reply
  15. I, too, read all of the romantic suspense novels of the 60’s. Mary Stewart is my favorite and her books still hold up for me. My favorite is Wildfire at Midnight. I also love Anya Seton’s Green Darkness – a reincarnation story. I didn’t read romance during college but came back to it afterwards. These days I stick to older Regencies and historicals, although I do like chick lit author Katie Fforde.

    Reply
  16. Ah, what a wonderful post (truly a Wench classic!) It will have me scurrying back to my keeper shelves! I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine” when I was very young as well, about the same time I read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub” and discovered Mary Stewart. I can’t remember the very first romantic novel I read but I expect it was something I wouldn’t have immediately have thought of as a romance in those days. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, perhaps.
    I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers!

    Reply
  17. Ah, what a wonderful post (truly a Wench classic!) It will have me scurrying back to my keeper shelves! I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine” when I was very young as well, about the same time I read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub” and discovered Mary Stewart. I can’t remember the very first romantic novel I read but I expect it was something I wouldn’t have immediately have thought of as a romance in those days. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, perhaps.
    I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers!

    Reply
  18. Ah, what a wonderful post (truly a Wench classic!) It will have me scurrying back to my keeper shelves! I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine” when I was very young as well, about the same time I read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub” and discovered Mary Stewart. I can’t remember the very first romantic novel I read but I expect it was something I wouldn’t have immediately have thought of as a romance in those days. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, perhaps.
    I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers!

    Reply
  19. Ah, what a wonderful post (truly a Wench classic!) It will have me scurrying back to my keeper shelves! I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine” when I was very young as well, about the same time I read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub” and discovered Mary Stewart. I can’t remember the very first romantic novel I read but I expect it was something I wouldn’t have immediately have thought of as a romance in those days. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, perhaps.
    I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers!

    Reply
  20. Ah, what a wonderful post (truly a Wench classic!) It will have me scurrying back to my keeper shelves! I read Anya Seton’s “Katherine” when I was very young as well, about the same time I read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub” and discovered Mary Stewart. I can’t remember the very first romantic novel I read but I expect it was something I wouldn’t have immediately have thought of as a romance in those days. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, perhaps.
    I’m looking forward to everyone’s answers!

    Reply
  21. Hmmm…I found in a box, what I thought at the time because they were so well worn, a couple of books when I was in fifth grade that I read and read again and yet again because they were such gripping mysteries! Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendoric. (Little did I know they were recently published so someone must have loved them as much as I. And I still have them after…never mind how many years.) From there, I devoured every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. But I never thought of them as romances until I was old enough to really understand what a romance was. In fifth grade, who knew?
    I read the classics in high school because they were part of my English lit class. I don’t know if I’d have chosen them on my own, but loved them.
    I still didn’t consider myself a romance reader though and for a long time, read murder mysteries and such, never noticing the common theme behind them that there was always a relationship in the background, usually between the tough as nails investigator and the sassy reporter or vice versa. They weren’t classified as romance on the shelf, so who knew?

    Then someone handed me a copy of a time traveling Scottish romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and a historical romance (Rose in Winter) and that was it. Everything became clear! I was a Romance Reader! And to top it off, all the things I’d written back in high school and later on as lyrics for my music or little short stories that swam in my head, they all had a place, a real genre.
    Romance!
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    btw, the only Mary Stewart I’ve ever read was The Crystal Cave. I still have that copy and I still re-read it.

    Reply
  22. Hmmm…I found in a box, what I thought at the time because they were so well worn, a couple of books when I was in fifth grade that I read and read again and yet again because they were such gripping mysteries! Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendoric. (Little did I know they were recently published so someone must have loved them as much as I. And I still have them after…never mind how many years.) From there, I devoured every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. But I never thought of them as romances until I was old enough to really understand what a romance was. In fifth grade, who knew?
    I read the classics in high school because they were part of my English lit class. I don’t know if I’d have chosen them on my own, but loved them.
    I still didn’t consider myself a romance reader though and for a long time, read murder mysteries and such, never noticing the common theme behind them that there was always a relationship in the background, usually between the tough as nails investigator and the sassy reporter or vice versa. They weren’t classified as romance on the shelf, so who knew?

    Then someone handed me a copy of a time traveling Scottish romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and a historical romance (Rose in Winter) and that was it. Everything became clear! I was a Romance Reader! And to top it off, all the things I’d written back in high school and later on as lyrics for my music or little short stories that swam in my head, they all had a place, a real genre.
    Romance!
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    btw, the only Mary Stewart I’ve ever read was The Crystal Cave. I still have that copy and I still re-read it.

    Reply
  23. Hmmm…I found in a box, what I thought at the time because they were so well worn, a couple of books when I was in fifth grade that I read and read again and yet again because they were such gripping mysteries! Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendoric. (Little did I know they were recently published so someone must have loved them as much as I. And I still have them after…never mind how many years.) From there, I devoured every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. But I never thought of them as romances until I was old enough to really understand what a romance was. In fifth grade, who knew?
    I read the classics in high school because they were part of my English lit class. I don’t know if I’d have chosen them on my own, but loved them.
    I still didn’t consider myself a romance reader though and for a long time, read murder mysteries and such, never noticing the common theme behind them that there was always a relationship in the background, usually between the tough as nails investigator and the sassy reporter or vice versa. They weren’t classified as romance on the shelf, so who knew?

    Then someone handed me a copy of a time traveling Scottish romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and a historical romance (Rose in Winter) and that was it. Everything became clear! I was a Romance Reader! And to top it off, all the things I’d written back in high school and later on as lyrics for my music or little short stories that swam in my head, they all had a place, a real genre.
    Romance!
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    btw, the only Mary Stewart I’ve ever read was The Crystal Cave. I still have that copy and I still re-read it.

    Reply
  24. Hmmm…I found in a box, what I thought at the time because they were so well worn, a couple of books when I was in fifth grade that I read and read again and yet again because they were such gripping mysteries! Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendoric. (Little did I know they were recently published so someone must have loved them as much as I. And I still have them after…never mind how many years.) From there, I devoured every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. But I never thought of them as romances until I was old enough to really understand what a romance was. In fifth grade, who knew?
    I read the classics in high school because they were part of my English lit class. I don’t know if I’d have chosen them on my own, but loved them.
    I still didn’t consider myself a romance reader though and for a long time, read murder mysteries and such, never noticing the common theme behind them that there was always a relationship in the background, usually between the tough as nails investigator and the sassy reporter or vice versa. They weren’t classified as romance on the shelf, so who knew?

    Then someone handed me a copy of a time traveling Scottish romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and a historical romance (Rose in Winter) and that was it. Everything became clear! I was a Romance Reader! And to top it off, all the things I’d written back in high school and later on as lyrics for my music or little short stories that swam in my head, they all had a place, a real genre.
    Romance!
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    btw, the only Mary Stewart I’ve ever read was The Crystal Cave. I still have that copy and I still re-read it.

    Reply
  25. Hmmm…I found in a box, what I thought at the time because they were so well worn, a couple of books when I was in fifth grade that I read and read again and yet again because they were such gripping mysteries! Mistress of Mellyn and Bride of Pendoric. (Little did I know they were recently published so someone must have loved them as much as I. And I still have them after…never mind how many years.) From there, I devoured every Victoria Holt novel I could get my hands on. But I never thought of them as romances until I was old enough to really understand what a romance was. In fifth grade, who knew?
    I read the classics in high school because they were part of my English lit class. I don’t know if I’d have chosen them on my own, but loved them.
    I still didn’t consider myself a romance reader though and for a long time, read murder mysteries and such, never noticing the common theme behind them that there was always a relationship in the background, usually between the tough as nails investigator and the sassy reporter or vice versa. They weren’t classified as romance on the shelf, so who knew?

    Then someone handed me a copy of a time traveling Scottish romance (Kiss of the Highlander) and a historical romance (Rose in Winter) and that was it. Everything became clear! I was a Romance Reader! And to top it off, all the things I’d written back in high school and later on as lyrics for my music or little short stories that swam in my head, they all had a place, a real genre.
    Romance!
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    btw, the only Mary Stewart I’ve ever read was The Crystal Cave. I still have that copy and I still re-read it.

    Reply
  26. Hmmm…all my little “grins” are gone…must go back to the smiley faces :o)
    And when I mentioned the well worn Holts, I thought when I found them that they were ancient. Little did I know… ;o)

    Reply
  27. Hmmm…all my little “grins” are gone…must go back to the smiley faces :o)
    And when I mentioned the well worn Holts, I thought when I found them that they were ancient. Little did I know… ;o)

    Reply
  28. Hmmm…all my little “grins” are gone…must go back to the smiley faces :o)
    And when I mentioned the well worn Holts, I thought when I found them that they were ancient. Little did I know… ;o)

    Reply
  29. Hmmm…all my little “grins” are gone…must go back to the smiley faces :o)
    And when I mentioned the well worn Holts, I thought when I found them that they were ancient. Little did I know… ;o)

    Reply
  30. Hmmm…all my little “grins” are gone…must go back to the smiley faces :o)
    And when I mentioned the well worn Holts, I thought when I found them that they were ancient. Little did I know… ;o)

    Reply
  31. I thought I was the only one on earth who read and adored Rosemary Jarman. Back in the pre-internet days, being a reader was a pretty lonely pursuit. None of the popular girls would admit to it, so I kept my nerdish love of books to myself.
    I started out with the gothics–my mom used to bring them home. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and a young Susan Howatch are the ones I remember but there were plenty of others.
    Did any of you fall in love with Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose, where the heroine crosses continents to find the man she loves, if I recall correctly, knowing only his first name?
    I stopped reading historical romance when the sexy, historically shaky stuff came in.
    Then I logged onto GEnie and stumbled into Romex, and after listening into the brilliant romance authors who were discussing craft and history there I had to go read their books. And what books they were! I discovered Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverly, and Alicia Rasley, and got hooked again.

    Reply
  32. I thought I was the only one on earth who read and adored Rosemary Jarman. Back in the pre-internet days, being a reader was a pretty lonely pursuit. None of the popular girls would admit to it, so I kept my nerdish love of books to myself.
    I started out with the gothics–my mom used to bring them home. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and a young Susan Howatch are the ones I remember but there were plenty of others.
    Did any of you fall in love with Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose, where the heroine crosses continents to find the man she loves, if I recall correctly, knowing only his first name?
    I stopped reading historical romance when the sexy, historically shaky stuff came in.
    Then I logged onto GEnie and stumbled into Romex, and after listening into the brilliant romance authors who were discussing craft and history there I had to go read their books. And what books they were! I discovered Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverly, and Alicia Rasley, and got hooked again.

    Reply
  33. I thought I was the only one on earth who read and adored Rosemary Jarman. Back in the pre-internet days, being a reader was a pretty lonely pursuit. None of the popular girls would admit to it, so I kept my nerdish love of books to myself.
    I started out with the gothics–my mom used to bring them home. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and a young Susan Howatch are the ones I remember but there were plenty of others.
    Did any of you fall in love with Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose, where the heroine crosses continents to find the man she loves, if I recall correctly, knowing only his first name?
    I stopped reading historical romance when the sexy, historically shaky stuff came in.
    Then I logged onto GEnie and stumbled into Romex, and after listening into the brilliant romance authors who were discussing craft and history there I had to go read their books. And what books they were! I discovered Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverly, and Alicia Rasley, and got hooked again.

    Reply
  34. I thought I was the only one on earth who read and adored Rosemary Jarman. Back in the pre-internet days, being a reader was a pretty lonely pursuit. None of the popular girls would admit to it, so I kept my nerdish love of books to myself.
    I started out with the gothics–my mom used to bring them home. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and a young Susan Howatch are the ones I remember but there were plenty of others.
    Did any of you fall in love with Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose, where the heroine crosses continents to find the man she loves, if I recall correctly, knowing only his first name?
    I stopped reading historical romance when the sexy, historically shaky stuff came in.
    Then I logged onto GEnie and stumbled into Romex, and after listening into the brilliant romance authors who were discussing craft and history there I had to go read their books. And what books they were! I discovered Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverly, and Alicia Rasley, and got hooked again.

    Reply
  35. I thought I was the only one on earth who read and adored Rosemary Jarman. Back in the pre-internet days, being a reader was a pretty lonely pursuit. None of the popular girls would admit to it, so I kept my nerdish love of books to myself.
    I started out with the gothics–my mom used to bring them home. Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and a young Susan Howatch are the ones I remember but there were plenty of others.
    Did any of you fall in love with Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose, where the heroine crosses continents to find the man she loves, if I recall correctly, knowing only his first name?
    I stopped reading historical romance when the sexy, historically shaky stuff came in.
    Then I logged onto GEnie and stumbled into Romex, and after listening into the brilliant romance authors who were discussing craft and history there I had to go read their books. And what books they were! I discovered Laura Kinsale, Jo Beverly, and Alicia Rasley, and got hooked again.

    Reply
  36. I started genre romance in 4th grade with the SAME book. I remember it having a white cover though. I was at church, avoiding services, and I found it in whatever hidey hole I’d taken myself off to. I finished it in one sitting.
    Within a year I was ‘working’ at a used bookstore after school for trade in credits and consuming all sorts of things. All in secret. The old man caught me with a copy of The Captive Bride by JL and there was heck to pay until my gothic loving grandmother stepped in.

    Reply
  37. I started genre romance in 4th grade with the SAME book. I remember it having a white cover though. I was at church, avoiding services, and I found it in whatever hidey hole I’d taken myself off to. I finished it in one sitting.
    Within a year I was ‘working’ at a used bookstore after school for trade in credits and consuming all sorts of things. All in secret. The old man caught me with a copy of The Captive Bride by JL and there was heck to pay until my gothic loving grandmother stepped in.

    Reply
  38. I started genre romance in 4th grade with the SAME book. I remember it having a white cover though. I was at church, avoiding services, and I found it in whatever hidey hole I’d taken myself off to. I finished it in one sitting.
    Within a year I was ‘working’ at a used bookstore after school for trade in credits and consuming all sorts of things. All in secret. The old man caught me with a copy of The Captive Bride by JL and there was heck to pay until my gothic loving grandmother stepped in.

    Reply
  39. I started genre romance in 4th grade with the SAME book. I remember it having a white cover though. I was at church, avoiding services, and I found it in whatever hidey hole I’d taken myself off to. I finished it in one sitting.
    Within a year I was ‘working’ at a used bookstore after school for trade in credits and consuming all sorts of things. All in secret. The old man caught me with a copy of The Captive Bride by JL and there was heck to pay until my gothic loving grandmother stepped in.

    Reply
  40. I started genre romance in 4th grade with the SAME book. I remember it having a white cover though. I was at church, avoiding services, and I found it in whatever hidey hole I’d taken myself off to. I finished it in one sitting.
    Within a year I was ‘working’ at a used bookstore after school for trade in credits and consuming all sorts of things. All in secret. The old man caught me with a copy of The Captive Bride by JL and there was heck to pay until my gothic loving grandmother stepped in.

    Reply
  41. I started out as a hardcore Science Fiction fan, back in grade school. All very hero-with-a-ray-gun and high adventure. There was not so much romance in S.F.
    I can’t say for sure the first Romance I read. I remember McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile, a YA with strong Romantic elements.
    Somewhere along about there I discovered Heyer and Sergeanne Golon.
    Never looked back.

    Reply
  42. I started out as a hardcore Science Fiction fan, back in grade school. All very hero-with-a-ray-gun and high adventure. There was not so much romance in S.F.
    I can’t say for sure the first Romance I read. I remember McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile, a YA with strong Romantic elements.
    Somewhere along about there I discovered Heyer and Sergeanne Golon.
    Never looked back.

    Reply
  43. I started out as a hardcore Science Fiction fan, back in grade school. All very hero-with-a-ray-gun and high adventure. There was not so much romance in S.F.
    I can’t say for sure the first Romance I read. I remember McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile, a YA with strong Romantic elements.
    Somewhere along about there I discovered Heyer and Sergeanne Golon.
    Never looked back.

    Reply
  44. I started out as a hardcore Science Fiction fan, back in grade school. All very hero-with-a-ray-gun and high adventure. There was not so much romance in S.F.
    I can’t say for sure the first Romance I read. I remember McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile, a YA with strong Romantic elements.
    Somewhere along about there I discovered Heyer and Sergeanne Golon.
    Never looked back.

    Reply
  45. I started out as a hardcore Science Fiction fan, back in grade school. All very hero-with-a-ray-gun and high adventure. There was not so much romance in S.F.
    I can’t say for sure the first Romance I read. I remember McGraw’s Mara, Daughter of the Nile, a YA with strong Romantic elements.
    Somewhere along about there I discovered Heyer and Sergeanne Golon.
    Never looked back.

    Reply
  46. I loved Jane Austen first– when I was in grade school.– and of course, Little Women. Then read Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier because my mother had them around.
    Skip to graduate school– I went through a period of reading mysteries,– but only those written by women. Dorothy Sayers wrote one of the greatest romances ever written, disguised as 2 mysteries– Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. I was always more interested in the character development and the romance than the mystery.
    Elizabeth Peters was one of the “transition to romance” mystery writers for me. On a summer vacation I picked up an Amanda Quick and liked it–and then the genre opened up for me and I found writers I really love. (wenches are heavily represented in my favorites)
    But really what I’m always looking for is more “jane austen-like” writing and perception. I won’t pick up a book if the sentences are too short. My husband asked me if all romances are set in Regency England– and I said no– only the one’s I read. Maybe one of the effects of historical romances is that writers are free to use the English language in a way that doesn’t have to feel too modern, and can use a different kind of rhythm– what do you wenches think– can you write differently because you are writing historical novels?

    Reply
  47. I loved Jane Austen first– when I was in grade school.– and of course, Little Women. Then read Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier because my mother had them around.
    Skip to graduate school– I went through a period of reading mysteries,– but only those written by women. Dorothy Sayers wrote one of the greatest romances ever written, disguised as 2 mysteries– Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. I was always more interested in the character development and the romance than the mystery.
    Elizabeth Peters was one of the “transition to romance” mystery writers for me. On a summer vacation I picked up an Amanda Quick and liked it–and then the genre opened up for me and I found writers I really love. (wenches are heavily represented in my favorites)
    But really what I’m always looking for is more “jane austen-like” writing and perception. I won’t pick up a book if the sentences are too short. My husband asked me if all romances are set in Regency England– and I said no– only the one’s I read. Maybe one of the effects of historical romances is that writers are free to use the English language in a way that doesn’t have to feel too modern, and can use a different kind of rhythm– what do you wenches think– can you write differently because you are writing historical novels?

    Reply
  48. I loved Jane Austen first– when I was in grade school.– and of course, Little Women. Then read Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier because my mother had them around.
    Skip to graduate school– I went through a period of reading mysteries,– but only those written by women. Dorothy Sayers wrote one of the greatest romances ever written, disguised as 2 mysteries– Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. I was always more interested in the character development and the romance than the mystery.
    Elizabeth Peters was one of the “transition to romance” mystery writers for me. On a summer vacation I picked up an Amanda Quick and liked it–and then the genre opened up for me and I found writers I really love. (wenches are heavily represented in my favorites)
    But really what I’m always looking for is more “jane austen-like” writing and perception. I won’t pick up a book if the sentences are too short. My husband asked me if all romances are set in Regency England– and I said no– only the one’s I read. Maybe one of the effects of historical romances is that writers are free to use the English language in a way that doesn’t have to feel too modern, and can use a different kind of rhythm– what do you wenches think– can you write differently because you are writing historical novels?

    Reply
  49. I loved Jane Austen first– when I was in grade school.– and of course, Little Women. Then read Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier because my mother had them around.
    Skip to graduate school– I went through a period of reading mysteries,– but only those written by women. Dorothy Sayers wrote one of the greatest romances ever written, disguised as 2 mysteries– Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. I was always more interested in the character development and the romance than the mystery.
    Elizabeth Peters was one of the “transition to romance” mystery writers for me. On a summer vacation I picked up an Amanda Quick and liked it–and then the genre opened up for me and I found writers I really love. (wenches are heavily represented in my favorites)
    But really what I’m always looking for is more “jane austen-like” writing and perception. I won’t pick up a book if the sentences are too short. My husband asked me if all romances are set in Regency England– and I said no– only the one’s I read. Maybe one of the effects of historical romances is that writers are free to use the English language in a way that doesn’t have to feel too modern, and can use a different kind of rhythm– what do you wenches think– can you write differently because you are writing historical novels?

    Reply
  50. I loved Jane Austen first– when I was in grade school.– and of course, Little Women. Then read Mary Stewart and Daphne DuMaurier because my mother had them around.
    Skip to graduate school– I went through a period of reading mysteries,– but only those written by women. Dorothy Sayers wrote one of the greatest romances ever written, disguised as 2 mysteries– Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon. I was always more interested in the character development and the romance than the mystery.
    Elizabeth Peters was one of the “transition to romance” mystery writers for me. On a summer vacation I picked up an Amanda Quick and liked it–and then the genre opened up for me and I found writers I really love. (wenches are heavily represented in my favorites)
    But really what I’m always looking for is more “jane austen-like” writing and perception. I won’t pick up a book if the sentences are too short. My husband asked me if all romances are set in Regency England– and I said no– only the one’s I read. Maybe one of the effects of historical romances is that writers are free to use the English language in a way that doesn’t have to feel too modern, and can use a different kind of rhythm– what do you wenches think– can you write differently because you are writing historical novels?

    Reply
  51. My first historical romance was Pride and Prejudice. I was nine years old and the two little old lady retired librarians who lived next door to us in the little village in England had two things my nine year old “yank” heart loved – an actual library in their house! And horses! I helped with their two hunter/jumpers and their Welsh pony and they let me sit in their library and read their beautiful books. They started me on Jane Austen, moved on to the Brontes and then Georgette Heyer. Before we moved back to the States they prepared a list of books to continue my “romance” education. The list included Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.
    I didn’t read much romance in high school. No time. Then in college I was something of a nerd, musicians spend their weekends practicing after all. My relaxation form of choice on the weekends was reading romance novels. I started with The Wolf and the Dove and the rest is, well, history!
    My favorite? Jane Eyre

    Reply
  52. My first historical romance was Pride and Prejudice. I was nine years old and the two little old lady retired librarians who lived next door to us in the little village in England had two things my nine year old “yank” heart loved – an actual library in their house! And horses! I helped with their two hunter/jumpers and their Welsh pony and they let me sit in their library and read their beautiful books. They started me on Jane Austen, moved on to the Brontes and then Georgette Heyer. Before we moved back to the States they prepared a list of books to continue my “romance” education. The list included Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.
    I didn’t read much romance in high school. No time. Then in college I was something of a nerd, musicians spend their weekends practicing after all. My relaxation form of choice on the weekends was reading romance novels. I started with The Wolf and the Dove and the rest is, well, history!
    My favorite? Jane Eyre

    Reply
  53. My first historical romance was Pride and Prejudice. I was nine years old and the two little old lady retired librarians who lived next door to us in the little village in England had two things my nine year old “yank” heart loved – an actual library in their house! And horses! I helped with their two hunter/jumpers and their Welsh pony and they let me sit in their library and read their beautiful books. They started me on Jane Austen, moved on to the Brontes and then Georgette Heyer. Before we moved back to the States they prepared a list of books to continue my “romance” education. The list included Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.
    I didn’t read much romance in high school. No time. Then in college I was something of a nerd, musicians spend their weekends practicing after all. My relaxation form of choice on the weekends was reading romance novels. I started with The Wolf and the Dove and the rest is, well, history!
    My favorite? Jane Eyre

    Reply
  54. My first historical romance was Pride and Prejudice. I was nine years old and the two little old lady retired librarians who lived next door to us in the little village in England had two things my nine year old “yank” heart loved – an actual library in their house! And horses! I helped with their two hunter/jumpers and their Welsh pony and they let me sit in their library and read their beautiful books. They started me on Jane Austen, moved on to the Brontes and then Georgette Heyer. Before we moved back to the States they prepared a list of books to continue my “romance” education. The list included Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.
    I didn’t read much romance in high school. No time. Then in college I was something of a nerd, musicians spend their weekends practicing after all. My relaxation form of choice on the weekends was reading romance novels. I started with The Wolf and the Dove and the rest is, well, history!
    My favorite? Jane Eyre

    Reply
  55. My first historical romance was Pride and Prejudice. I was nine years old and the two little old lady retired librarians who lived next door to us in the little village in England had two things my nine year old “yank” heart loved – an actual library in their house! And horses! I helped with their two hunter/jumpers and their Welsh pony and they let me sit in their library and read their beautiful books. They started me on Jane Austen, moved on to the Brontes and then Georgette Heyer. Before we moved back to the States they prepared a list of books to continue my “romance” education. The list included Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney.
    I didn’t read much romance in high school. No time. Then in college I was something of a nerd, musicians spend their weekends practicing after all. My relaxation form of choice on the weekends was reading romance novels. I started with The Wolf and the Dove and the rest is, well, history!
    My favorite? Jane Eyre

    Reply
  56. Susan’s book list could be mine – kindred Susans!I had actually forgotten about Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart and I also devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books during summer holidays. I would add Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer to the mix but can’t honestly remember my first.
    My first book of the recent genre was Devilish by Jo – it was a Doubleday Book of the Month. I read it in one night and became a big fan.(Trust me to come in on the last book in a series)!

    Reply
  57. Susan’s book list could be mine – kindred Susans!I had actually forgotten about Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart and I also devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books during summer holidays. I would add Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer to the mix but can’t honestly remember my first.
    My first book of the recent genre was Devilish by Jo – it was a Doubleday Book of the Month. I read it in one night and became a big fan.(Trust me to come in on the last book in a series)!

    Reply
  58. Susan’s book list could be mine – kindred Susans!I had actually forgotten about Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart and I also devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books during summer holidays. I would add Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer to the mix but can’t honestly remember my first.
    My first book of the recent genre was Devilish by Jo – it was a Doubleday Book of the Month. I read it in one night and became a big fan.(Trust me to come in on the last book in a series)!

    Reply
  59. Susan’s book list could be mine – kindred Susans!I had actually forgotten about Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart and I also devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books during summer holidays. I would add Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer to the mix but can’t honestly remember my first.
    My first book of the recent genre was Devilish by Jo – it was a Doubleday Book of the Month. I read it in one night and became a big fan.(Trust me to come in on the last book in a series)!

    Reply
  60. Susan’s book list could be mine – kindred Susans!I had actually forgotten about Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart and I also devoured Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books during summer holidays. I would add Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer to the mix but can’t honestly remember my first.
    My first book of the recent genre was Devilish by Jo – it was a Doubleday Book of the Month. I read it in one night and became a big fan.(Trust me to come in on the last book in a series)!

    Reply
  61. The first romance novel I read was a Neville Shute one “Pastoral” which I absolutely adored. I read it in Primary School and at the time I just thought it was a good story (and I got my hands on it from my parents book shelf and not the library). I didn’t realise it was a romance story at the time because from a young age I was hooked on WWII stories, especially RAF ones. As I got older I realised what I had been reading. I still have a hankering for WWII books. And then there was Ian Hay’s “First Hundred Thousand” and “The Last Million”, both about WWI.
    As far as the first historical romances, I read Heyer as a youngster (again from Mother’s book shelf) and of course Anya Seton’s “Katherine” a bit later. From there I progressed to anything with a picture of a lady in a long dress. Sure to be historical and gorgeous. As I have got older I have learned to be a bit more discerning, but the early ones are still my favourites.

    Reply
  62. The first romance novel I read was a Neville Shute one “Pastoral” which I absolutely adored. I read it in Primary School and at the time I just thought it was a good story (and I got my hands on it from my parents book shelf and not the library). I didn’t realise it was a romance story at the time because from a young age I was hooked on WWII stories, especially RAF ones. As I got older I realised what I had been reading. I still have a hankering for WWII books. And then there was Ian Hay’s “First Hundred Thousand” and “The Last Million”, both about WWI.
    As far as the first historical romances, I read Heyer as a youngster (again from Mother’s book shelf) and of course Anya Seton’s “Katherine” a bit later. From there I progressed to anything with a picture of a lady in a long dress. Sure to be historical and gorgeous. As I have got older I have learned to be a bit more discerning, but the early ones are still my favourites.

    Reply
  63. The first romance novel I read was a Neville Shute one “Pastoral” which I absolutely adored. I read it in Primary School and at the time I just thought it was a good story (and I got my hands on it from my parents book shelf and not the library). I didn’t realise it was a romance story at the time because from a young age I was hooked on WWII stories, especially RAF ones. As I got older I realised what I had been reading. I still have a hankering for WWII books. And then there was Ian Hay’s “First Hundred Thousand” and “The Last Million”, both about WWI.
    As far as the first historical romances, I read Heyer as a youngster (again from Mother’s book shelf) and of course Anya Seton’s “Katherine” a bit later. From there I progressed to anything with a picture of a lady in a long dress. Sure to be historical and gorgeous. As I have got older I have learned to be a bit more discerning, but the early ones are still my favourites.

    Reply
  64. The first romance novel I read was a Neville Shute one “Pastoral” which I absolutely adored. I read it in Primary School and at the time I just thought it was a good story (and I got my hands on it from my parents book shelf and not the library). I didn’t realise it was a romance story at the time because from a young age I was hooked on WWII stories, especially RAF ones. As I got older I realised what I had been reading. I still have a hankering for WWII books. And then there was Ian Hay’s “First Hundred Thousand” and “The Last Million”, both about WWI.
    As far as the first historical romances, I read Heyer as a youngster (again from Mother’s book shelf) and of course Anya Seton’s “Katherine” a bit later. From there I progressed to anything with a picture of a lady in a long dress. Sure to be historical and gorgeous. As I have got older I have learned to be a bit more discerning, but the early ones are still my favourites.

    Reply
  65. The first romance novel I read was a Neville Shute one “Pastoral” which I absolutely adored. I read it in Primary School and at the time I just thought it was a good story (and I got my hands on it from my parents book shelf and not the library). I didn’t realise it was a romance story at the time because from a young age I was hooked on WWII stories, especially RAF ones. As I got older I realised what I had been reading. I still have a hankering for WWII books. And then there was Ian Hay’s “First Hundred Thousand” and “The Last Million”, both about WWI.
    As far as the first historical romances, I read Heyer as a youngster (again from Mother’s book shelf) and of course Anya Seton’s “Katherine” a bit later. From there I progressed to anything with a picture of a lady in a long dress. Sure to be historical and gorgeous. As I have got older I have learned to be a bit more discerning, but the early ones are still my favourites.

    Reply
  66. Sherrie, here. Susan, your post was lyrical and very well expressed. I can see why you love romance so much.
    I can’t remember my first real romance, but I do know that the genre sneaked up on me. I came to romance via the back door, all unaware. I started out with the gothics and found that I really liked the authors everyone else has mentioned: Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, etc. I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club at the time and faithfully bought hardback books every month by these authors.
    But during this time, romance as a genre was coming into its own. I continued buying books from Doubleday Book Club, blissfully unaware that my gothics had evolved into full-blown romances.
    I suppose if I were forced to name my first romance, I would have to say it was Forever Amber. Is there anyone who *hasn’t* read that book? *g*
    P.S. Theo, did you do your “grins” with a left and right carat symbol? If so, Typepad won’t recognize them. I get around that by using an asterisk like this: *g* ~Sherrie, wearing her admin hat

    Reply
  67. Sherrie, here. Susan, your post was lyrical and very well expressed. I can see why you love romance so much.
    I can’t remember my first real romance, but I do know that the genre sneaked up on me. I came to romance via the back door, all unaware. I started out with the gothics and found that I really liked the authors everyone else has mentioned: Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, etc. I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club at the time and faithfully bought hardback books every month by these authors.
    But during this time, romance as a genre was coming into its own. I continued buying books from Doubleday Book Club, blissfully unaware that my gothics had evolved into full-blown romances.
    I suppose if I were forced to name my first romance, I would have to say it was Forever Amber. Is there anyone who *hasn’t* read that book? *g*
    P.S. Theo, did you do your “grins” with a left and right carat symbol? If so, Typepad won’t recognize them. I get around that by using an asterisk like this: *g* ~Sherrie, wearing her admin hat

    Reply
  68. Sherrie, here. Susan, your post was lyrical and very well expressed. I can see why you love romance so much.
    I can’t remember my first real romance, but I do know that the genre sneaked up on me. I came to romance via the back door, all unaware. I started out with the gothics and found that I really liked the authors everyone else has mentioned: Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, etc. I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club at the time and faithfully bought hardback books every month by these authors.
    But during this time, romance as a genre was coming into its own. I continued buying books from Doubleday Book Club, blissfully unaware that my gothics had evolved into full-blown romances.
    I suppose if I were forced to name my first romance, I would have to say it was Forever Amber. Is there anyone who *hasn’t* read that book? *g*
    P.S. Theo, did you do your “grins” with a left and right carat symbol? If so, Typepad won’t recognize them. I get around that by using an asterisk like this: *g* ~Sherrie, wearing her admin hat

    Reply
  69. Sherrie, here. Susan, your post was lyrical and very well expressed. I can see why you love romance so much.
    I can’t remember my first real romance, but I do know that the genre sneaked up on me. I came to romance via the back door, all unaware. I started out with the gothics and found that I really liked the authors everyone else has mentioned: Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, etc. I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club at the time and faithfully bought hardback books every month by these authors.
    But during this time, romance as a genre was coming into its own. I continued buying books from Doubleday Book Club, blissfully unaware that my gothics had evolved into full-blown romances.
    I suppose if I were forced to name my first romance, I would have to say it was Forever Amber. Is there anyone who *hasn’t* read that book? *g*
    P.S. Theo, did you do your “grins” with a left and right carat symbol? If so, Typepad won’t recognize them. I get around that by using an asterisk like this: *g* ~Sherrie, wearing her admin hat

    Reply
  70. Sherrie, here. Susan, your post was lyrical and very well expressed. I can see why you love romance so much.
    I can’t remember my first real romance, but I do know that the genre sneaked up on me. I came to romance via the back door, all unaware. I started out with the gothics and found that I really liked the authors everyone else has mentioned: Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Georgette Heyer, etc. I belonged to the Doubleday Book Club at the time and faithfully bought hardback books every month by these authors.
    But during this time, romance as a genre was coming into its own. I continued buying books from Doubleday Book Club, blissfully unaware that my gothics had evolved into full-blown romances.
    I suppose if I were forced to name my first romance, I would have to say it was Forever Amber. Is there anyone who *hasn’t* read that book? *g*
    P.S. Theo, did you do your “grins” with a left and right carat symbol? If so, Typepad won’t recognize them. I get around that by using an asterisk like this: *g* ~Sherrie, wearing her admin hat

    Reply
  71. Sherrie, I did. *sigh* You know, (OT here) uniformity in at least the coding on websites would be so nice!
    Okay, back to our regular program…
    I am also ashamed to tell you, I have never read Forever Amber (though people keep telling me I must) and I have Wolf and Dove on my shelf, but haven’t been able to read that one either. Something about it makes it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Don’t know what because I can’t put my finger on it.

    Reply
  72. Sherrie, I did. *sigh* You know, (OT here) uniformity in at least the coding on websites would be so nice!
    Okay, back to our regular program…
    I am also ashamed to tell you, I have never read Forever Amber (though people keep telling me I must) and I have Wolf and Dove on my shelf, but haven’t been able to read that one either. Something about it makes it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Don’t know what because I can’t put my finger on it.

    Reply
  73. Sherrie, I did. *sigh* You know, (OT here) uniformity in at least the coding on websites would be so nice!
    Okay, back to our regular program…
    I am also ashamed to tell you, I have never read Forever Amber (though people keep telling me I must) and I have Wolf and Dove on my shelf, but haven’t been able to read that one either. Something about it makes it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Don’t know what because I can’t put my finger on it.

    Reply
  74. Sherrie, I did. *sigh* You know, (OT here) uniformity in at least the coding on websites would be so nice!
    Okay, back to our regular program…
    I am also ashamed to tell you, I have never read Forever Amber (though people keep telling me I must) and I have Wolf and Dove on my shelf, but haven’t been able to read that one either. Something about it makes it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Don’t know what because I can’t put my finger on it.

    Reply
  75. Sherrie, I did. *sigh* You know, (OT here) uniformity in at least the coding on websites would be so nice!
    Okay, back to our regular program…
    I am also ashamed to tell you, I have never read Forever Amber (though people keep telling me I must) and I have Wolf and Dove on my shelf, but haven’t been able to read that one either. Something about it makes it hard for me to concentrate on the story. Don’t know what because I can’t put my finger on it.

    Reply
  76. I suppose I started with LITTLE WOMEN, because I remember reading it in grade school. JANE EYRE was a school assignment, but I loved it! The love didn’t translate to WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Heathcliff is a slimeball), which I made the mistake of reading on my own.
    Another class assignment was NONE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart. I still remember the scene where the hero kisses the heroine. Nothing graphic–they didn’t write that stuff then–but that passage really gave a jolt to 14-year-old me.
    I read tons of Barbara Cartlands, and then I discovered Mary Balogh. My love affair with the Regency started then and continues to this day. Sigh.

    Reply
  77. I suppose I started with LITTLE WOMEN, because I remember reading it in grade school. JANE EYRE was a school assignment, but I loved it! The love didn’t translate to WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Heathcliff is a slimeball), which I made the mistake of reading on my own.
    Another class assignment was NONE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart. I still remember the scene where the hero kisses the heroine. Nothing graphic–they didn’t write that stuff then–but that passage really gave a jolt to 14-year-old me.
    I read tons of Barbara Cartlands, and then I discovered Mary Balogh. My love affair with the Regency started then and continues to this day. Sigh.

    Reply
  78. I suppose I started with LITTLE WOMEN, because I remember reading it in grade school. JANE EYRE was a school assignment, but I loved it! The love didn’t translate to WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Heathcliff is a slimeball), which I made the mistake of reading on my own.
    Another class assignment was NONE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart. I still remember the scene where the hero kisses the heroine. Nothing graphic–they didn’t write that stuff then–but that passage really gave a jolt to 14-year-old me.
    I read tons of Barbara Cartlands, and then I discovered Mary Balogh. My love affair with the Regency started then and continues to this day. Sigh.

    Reply
  79. I suppose I started with LITTLE WOMEN, because I remember reading it in grade school. JANE EYRE was a school assignment, but I loved it! The love didn’t translate to WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Heathcliff is a slimeball), which I made the mistake of reading on my own.
    Another class assignment was NONE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart. I still remember the scene where the hero kisses the heroine. Nothing graphic–they didn’t write that stuff then–but that passage really gave a jolt to 14-year-old me.
    I read tons of Barbara Cartlands, and then I discovered Mary Balogh. My love affair with the Regency started then and continues to this day. Sigh.

    Reply
  80. I suppose I started with LITTLE WOMEN, because I remember reading it in grade school. JANE EYRE was a school assignment, but I loved it! The love didn’t translate to WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Heathcliff is a slimeball), which I made the mistake of reading on my own.
    Another class assignment was NONE COACHES WAITING by Mary Stewart. I still remember the scene where the hero kisses the heroine. Nothing graphic–they didn’t write that stuff then–but that passage really gave a jolt to 14-year-old me.
    I read tons of Barbara Cartlands, and then I discovered Mary Balogh. My love affair with the Regency started then and continues to this day. Sigh.

    Reply
  81. Way back when I was in high school in the 1960s I discovered the Angelique books by Sergeanne Golon and devoured them. To my young girl’s mind, they were glorious and romantic, sad and joyous and exciting. I reread a couple of them not too long ago. To this older but wiser woman they now read like “Barbie Does Versailles”. They didn’t age well, but they sure were wonderful when they and I were young.

    Reply
  82. Way back when I was in high school in the 1960s I discovered the Angelique books by Sergeanne Golon and devoured them. To my young girl’s mind, they were glorious and romantic, sad and joyous and exciting. I reread a couple of them not too long ago. To this older but wiser woman they now read like “Barbie Does Versailles”. They didn’t age well, but they sure were wonderful when they and I were young.

    Reply
  83. Way back when I was in high school in the 1960s I discovered the Angelique books by Sergeanne Golon and devoured them. To my young girl’s mind, they were glorious and romantic, sad and joyous and exciting. I reread a couple of them not too long ago. To this older but wiser woman they now read like “Barbie Does Versailles”. They didn’t age well, but they sure were wonderful when they and I were young.

    Reply
  84. Way back when I was in high school in the 1960s I discovered the Angelique books by Sergeanne Golon and devoured them. To my young girl’s mind, they were glorious and romantic, sad and joyous and exciting. I reread a couple of them not too long ago. To this older but wiser woman they now read like “Barbie Does Versailles”. They didn’t age well, but they sure were wonderful when they and I were young.

    Reply
  85. Way back when I was in high school in the 1960s I discovered the Angelique books by Sergeanne Golon and devoured them. To my young girl’s mind, they were glorious and romantic, sad and joyous and exciting. I reread a couple of them not too long ago. To this older but wiser woman they now read like “Barbie Does Versailles”. They didn’t age well, but they sure were wonderful when they and I were young.

    Reply
  86. I read the entire The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche, in the 60’s, Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor, Victoria Holt’s books, but they weren’t close enough to what I was looking for until I found Georgette Heyer. At the time I read her I wasn’t aware she was considered romance. I also remember reading Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, Elizabeth Chater, Iona Charles, Margaret Sebastian…I also loved what is called historical fiction, remember reading a book in the 8th grade called Rizpah by Charles Israel…loved it.

    Reply
  87. I read the entire The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche, in the 60’s, Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor, Victoria Holt’s books, but they weren’t close enough to what I was looking for until I found Georgette Heyer. At the time I read her I wasn’t aware she was considered romance. I also remember reading Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, Elizabeth Chater, Iona Charles, Margaret Sebastian…I also loved what is called historical fiction, remember reading a book in the 8th grade called Rizpah by Charles Israel…loved it.

    Reply
  88. I read the entire The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche, in the 60’s, Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor, Victoria Holt’s books, but they weren’t close enough to what I was looking for until I found Georgette Heyer. At the time I read her I wasn’t aware she was considered romance. I also remember reading Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, Elizabeth Chater, Iona Charles, Margaret Sebastian…I also loved what is called historical fiction, remember reading a book in the 8th grade called Rizpah by Charles Israel…loved it.

    Reply
  89. I read the entire The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche, in the 60’s, Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor, Victoria Holt’s books, but they weren’t close enough to what I was looking for until I found Georgette Heyer. At the time I read her I wasn’t aware she was considered romance. I also remember reading Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, Elizabeth Chater, Iona Charles, Margaret Sebastian…I also loved what is called historical fiction, remember reading a book in the 8th grade called Rizpah by Charles Israel…loved it.

    Reply
  90. I read the entire The Whiteoak Chronicles by Mazo de la Roche, in the 60’s, Forever Amber by Katherine Winsor, Victoria Holt’s books, but they weren’t close enough to what I was looking for until I found Georgette Heyer. At the time I read her I wasn’t aware she was considered romance. I also remember reading Patricia Veryan, Clare Darcy, Elizabeth Chater, Iona Charles, Margaret Sebastian…I also loved what is called historical fiction, remember reading a book in the 8th grade called Rizpah by Charles Israel…loved it.

    Reply

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