Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How I Started Reading Romance

This morning I saw a post on Dear Author where the reviewers were talking about how they started reading romance. Most began with a bodice ripper like Sweet, Savage Love or one of those, Barbara Cartland was mentioned a few times.

I suggested to Carolyn that we should tell how we started reading romance and Carolyn said something like "Well it was back when we used to write with quills we plucked off the chickens ourselves and the wandering troubadors would come and sing for hand job..."

And she was off and running. I love me some Carolyn, I really do but man, when she starts talking about the good old days of playing in the moats and turrets, my mind begins to wander.

My first foray into romance was actually through Harlequin category romances in the ld, old days when there was only Brits writing them. Swear to God, that day really existed. Which indicates how very fucking old I really am.

Anyway, someone as a joke signed me up for a Harlequin book club and I got 4 Harlequins every month in the mail. I'd like to say I loved them but I didn't. Back then the heroines were all proper English girls and the men were all older and moderately brutish and they pissed me off. I kept wanting a heroine to do something besides blink in amazement and flush in either panic or passion.

God, they were spineless!

So I stopped reading the damn things. Years later I read a review of Absolutely Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz and it sounded good. Oh yeah, it was good. The heroine wasn't spineless, in fact nobody in the book was. I inhaled JAK books for awhile until I discovered her early Mira books and then I had to stop because the heroines were spineless and the heroes were brutish, stalkerish alphaholes.

And then came Crusie. Jennifer Crusie who wrote Welcome to Temptation and Crazy For You (my all time favorite romantic read) and Anyone But You and oh my god, that woman blew my mind.

And then I met Carolyn who pulled a reluctant me into trying historicals and now I stalk Loretta Chase offering to bear her love child or mop her bathroom floors and then the poor Meljean Brook whom we follow online and leave scary fan girl messages on Facebook to... and well, the list is endless.

Anyone else want to tell their story?


  1. I honestly don't remember enough to tell, but I feel like you're lying through your teeth about the moats and such.

    I read Georgette Heyer as a teenager and that's about it, romance-wise. I do remember trying a bodice ripper, even remember the title, that's how strongly it impacted me. It was The Wolf and the Dove. And I went EEEEEK, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! and stayed away from Romance for lo, these many years.

    Somehow Nora crept into my perceptions. I think my first taste of Nora was the Jewel trilogy,or damn close to it anyway. Loved it, and by then I was old enough (more than enough) that the innocuous (by today's standards) sex didn't bother me at all. In fact, I rather enjoyed it.

    So did John, in a roundabout way. ;-)

    It's Lori's fault I read so much ... okay, buy so much. She deviously introduced me to blogs, romance blogs like Smart Bitches and Dear Author and Karen and ... and ... and...

    I am doomed to repeat my mistakes. That's okay though, you can't take it with you, lol.

    And repeat again - you can't take it with you.

    Oh dear.

  2. I don't know that there was a point where I actively set out to read 'romance' as a genre of its own. I still don't believe I do now.

    Sure, teh stories I read have some romance to them but it's not the focus of the story. I'm reading me some Kathy Reichs (I love that she writes in first person, like me :D ) at the minute and htat's more gruesome than romantic. Especially as it has no 'Booth' lol.

    As a kid in school I did the obligatory 'teen romance' series, and even have an almost complete set of the 'couples' series. But then I was more interested in Stephen King and the like.

    Over the years I've learnt to read other writers - Maeve Binchy, Marion Keyes, Danielle Steel etc - and have started my own collections. Thanks to the Two lovely but Old Farts, I've even experimented with authors like Lisa Kleypas, Nalini Singh and Meljean Brooks.

    I admit to not being all that fussed on Meljean's steampunk stuff (too over my head lol) but I did enjoy both Lisa and Nalini and look forward to gathering more of their stuff.

    So, I guess in essence, I'm all for romance but would still prefer a bit of a mystery, danger, legal stuff. If the main character stops for a bit of 'bumping uglies' along the way to catching a killer, then so be it.