Monday, February 14, 2011

Your First Love

When did you first fall in love with romantic fiction?

Can you remember your first love?

Image from Cascade Publishing.

Wait for Marc
by Rosamond Du Jardin. To Marcy's older brother's friend Steve, she has always just been "Squirt." But now she is fifteen and all grown up with a new white formal hanging in the closet, just waiting to be worn! Will Steve be able to look past the Marcy he's always known and see how she has changed?

I was fourteen when I fell in love with romance. I asked for a typewriter for my birthday and wrote my first book. I'm still working on revisions.

-Tina Radcliffe

A Rose In Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss sucked me into the romance genre. OMG, nothing topped 450+ pages of Erienne Fleming and Christopher Seton fighting attraction and propriety in the northern climes of Yorkshire. I fell in love with Christopher and held him up as the epitome of dashing hero for years.

But, A Kiss of Adventure by Catherine Palmer showed me what romance - real romance - was all about. She did a spectacular job of writing a wonderful romance willed with adventure, mystery and faith. Not too much of any one thing... a perfect book that drew me in and convinced me I wanted to write the complete package found in Inspirational romance.

-Audra Harders

Oh, here’s a surprise—Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell! The moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks, I was hooked, kicking off my “romance-writing career” at the age of twelve with a 150-page single-spaced manuscript that blossomed into my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.

-Julie Lessman

The first romances I "fell in love with" were all classic historicals -- a trio that I read in junior high school: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

What did they have in common? Strong--yet flawed--heroes and heroines who overcame great obstacles to find love. And although Scarlett's story wasn't a happily ever after ending, I think we all felt we knew her well enough to be assured when we closed the book that Rhett wasn't off the hook yet!

-Glynna Kaye

I had never read romance until I discovered, read and fell in love with LaVyrle Spencer's historical romances. Her unforgettable characters leapt off the page and into my heart where they played with my emotions, making me laugh and cry and sigh. LaVyrle Spencer's books are keepers.

-Janet Dean

Way back when—think Dark Ages—I tried to read a romance but didn’t get farther than a few chapters before I tossed it aside and returned to the straight suspense stories, often devoid of a love interest, that I devoured in those days. A number of years later when I was a busy mom with little ones, a friend gave me a dog-eared copy of a book she adored—Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. The saga swept me away to another time and place and gave me a new appreciation for romantic fiction. I went on to read all of Woodiwiss’ books and, years later, joined the Georgia Chapter of Romance Writers of America, where I learned the craft of writing. Inspirational romance and inspirational romantic suspense are my favorite genres these days, and my favorite authors are Seekers, of course, but I’ll never forget my first love was Shanna.

-Debby Giusti

I read Harlequin books all through college, but it wasn't until I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux that I got back into reading as an adult. That one book led to my addiction to romance novels. Which led to trying to write one. So thank you, Jude Devereaux, for sending me along a path that led to writing and to my new career!

-Missy Tippens

Mary Higgins Clark--The Cradle Will Fall. Not for the romance, though there is often romance in a Higgins Clark novel, but because I went on a spree of reading everything she'd ever written about that time. I remember looking at that book, closing the cover and just staring at it and wondering how she did it. Trying to figure it out. How did she make words on a page a roller coaster ride. Then I read it again, and read everything and I'd try and dissect it. Hard to do with a roller coaster ride. But I was thinking analytically, how did she make this book happen.

I consider Walter Farley and Clive Cussler to be the other influences, authors who wrote in a way that was so transporting that I was left wondering how it was done. It's one of the reasons that I think the best way to study writing is to read great books. Figure out how an author made them work.

And I made my books a romance just cuz that's what I love. Black stallions, underwater adventure(Cussler) and murder (Higgins Clark) not-withstanding.

-Mary Connealy

The first romance that I can remember reading was Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss. As a tired mom of two small children, I didn't usually feel all that attractive or romantic, so I relished the escape from the mundane. Sometimes I overindulged, but the world of a romance novel held so much more allure than my everyday life.

I could read all day long. Not advisable with two kids under 3.

-Myra Johnson

I was but a young gypsy when I fell in love with Michael Taggart in Jude Deveraux's Sweet Liar. He ruined me for any other man!

-Madame Zelda

Practically Perfect
and Star Spangled Summer by Janet Lambert. She wrote great teen romances about a military family. I was hooked instantly and never got unhooked.

"Janet Lambert wrote 54 popular girls fiction books between the 1940s and 1960s. Her books continue to be enjoyed by her readers around the world."

-Ruth Logan Herne

Popularity of Romance Fiction from RWA Romance Literature Statistics
(source: Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2010)
  • Romance fiction generated $1.36 billion in sales in 2009.
  • 9,089 new romance titles were released in 2009.
  • In 2009, romance was the second top-performing category on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-seller lists, beat only by the movie tie-in category.
  • Romance fiction sales are estimated at $1.358 billion for 2010.
  • 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008. (source: RWA Reader Survey)

Readers and Writers: Share your first love with Seekerville for a chance to win a special Valentine's Day gift of Seeker book
/s from the Seekerville Rocks Romance poster above. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

Happy Valentine's Day from Seekerville!


  1. I first fell in love with romance when I was 12 or 13 and I saw a book titled Kathleen on the Scholastic book order form. Since my full name is Katherine, I decided to order it. It turned out to be part of the Sunfire Romance line of YA historical romances. I read it in a couple of hours---and then re-read it immediately.

    Then, within a few months, I found Jude Deveraux's Velvet Song and read that.

    After those, I was a confirmed romance reader---and writer!

  2. Seekerville does rock romance!!!!

    I honestly don't remember what book was 'the one'. I remember reading Grace Livingston Hill... Um... June Masters Bacher... Janette Oke...

    But I honestly don't know...

    Regardless, that poster looks fabulous ;).

    I've got heart shaped pancakes, waffles and biscuits. Plus OJ in cups with hearts on them. And milk. And assorted caffeinated stuff.

    Personally, I'm off to make a million cookies. Whatever I've got left after teachers and doctors [have to take the 3yo in - think he's got a double ear infection...], I'll set on the table :).

  3. Coffee pot's set.

    I can't remember where it started. Seems like I've been reading since birth. But I do remember my mother taking me to the library and introducing me to Grace Livingston Hill at a very young age.


  4. Seekers absolutely rock romance!

    I'm with Mary though - Walter Farley - no question. ALL the Black Stallion books and then Marguerite Henry...

    Had to finally break down and get my very own Arabian (was 35 at the time!)... Worth the wait. She is still an amazing friend. She will give you kisses for carrots. Really!

    I really never read romance per se, until finding Seekerville. Who knew?!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

  5. Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Ladies:

    Be sure to get your share of the five dozen pieces of Godiva Belgian chocolate, truffles, and dark chocolate that I placed next to Helen’s coffee.

    I read “Pride and Prejudice” in college English and thought it was a sociology novel. I loved it and quickly read Austen’s other main novels. In no way did I consider Austen’s books romances. They were classics!

    Every few years I would try to read a romance but never finished one. I was convinced that all women cared about were interpersonal relationships. For decades these were the only romances I tried to read.

    Then I read Linda Howard’s “Mackenzie's Mission” and was hooked on Linda Howard (but not romances). Later I read all of Maureen Child’s Marine books. Howard and Child had heroes that were worth reading.

    Eventually I read some other romances and began to like them. Love Inspired were my favorites.

    That’s it. I should point out that I did have a Romanticism stage. That’s where the love is either unrequited or the lovers die of TB or kill themselves. I loved Elvira Madigan.


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  6. Hi Julie:

    I just have to ask this: Do you think that if you had not read “Gone With the Wind” but had read a short genre romance, that you would be writing shorter books today?


  7. Vince!!!

    Watch your mouth!!!

    That would be a tragedy!

  8. I honestly dont remember when I fell in love with romance books. I remember reading the promise promise books (I think thats there name) and also some haliquin teen books which were set in high school. But I think it was more when I got back into reading with Janette Okes Canadian West series I didn't just fall in love with these books but also Canada and mounties.

    Vince good question will be good to see the answer

  9. I forgot to say Happy Birthday to Cheryl if she makes it here today.
    Thinking of you and praying for your husband also.
    (Hope its a good day)

  10. I fell in love with romance novels when I was in high school back in the 70s. During the summers when my dad was off fighting forest fires, my mom would take my sisters and me to the used bookstore, where we'd buy stacks of Harlequin romances for a dime apiece. I devoured those stories, which were set in European countries I never dreamed I'd actually see. I've been a fan of the romance genre ever since.

  11. I fell in love with Mills and Boon romances in the late-70s while staying at my grandmothers for school holidays. She didn't read them but her neighbour did - authors like
    Essie Summers.
    I love La Vyrle Spencer too (what is she doing, does anyone know?) Morning Glory is my fav romance novel ever and the first of hers I ever read. That book just grabs me every time. I came to it by accident - my sister left it at my house after a long haul flight, years ago. I'd never read LaVyrle, but was hooked on page one. I still have that same tatty, though its really tatty now(!), paperback. Love, love, love it.

  12. I first fell in love with romance novels when I was a teenager and went to the library every Saturday morning. I found a section of books by Grace Livingston Hill and a few by her sister, Ruth Livingston Hill. In one summer, I read every one of their books. I've been reading Christian romance novels ever since that summer.

  13. Memories....

    Light the corners of my mind....

    Yup, me and Barbara Streisand, LOL!

    OH my goodness, you guys sparked more than I thought of myself.

    Sin: Never read Woodiwiss. My bad. Love, Love, Love LaVyrle Spencer and consider Morning Glory my favorite of hers, too! And I had to S-T-R-E-T-C-H to go back to the first.

    Since then my favorite is SWEET HUSH by Deborah Smith and I think that's mostly because it touches notes of my life in her pages so it sings to me.

    What a lovely crowd already!!!

    I made heart-shaped sugar cookies, some pink, some white-frosted.

    With sprinkles of course!

    Danish, Bagels, English Muffins are alongside the toaster. Carol, thanks for food. And sorry about 3-year-old cutie.

    VINCE!!! I saw you in the Charisma magazine, my friend! Your fame precedes you! May I have your autograph, please? At the bottom of a LARGE CHECK would always be nice, LOL!

    'Mornin' Kaye! Ahh... Scholastic book orders. All of my babysitting money went to either clothing or Scholastic book orders.

    Not much has changed, LOL!

    Grabbing coffee. Thank you, Helen. Love you!

  14. Black Beauty made me fall in love with the UK, Gone with the Wind made me fall in love with history.

    Ashes in the Wind (Kathleen Woodiwiss) made me mad about romances and Years (LaVyrle Spencer) made me fall in love with the idea of writing.

  15. (You know I never do this... but... I've got to invite ya'll over to the Inkwell today to share the love.

    We're celebrating THE CALL for Gina Welborn and Lisa Karon Richardson!
    Inkwell Inspirations, stop in and say hi!)

  16. Good morning and Happy Valentines Day to you all. Thanks for being such a responsive bunch. Thank you to all you lurkers for coming out of lurkdom today in honor of AMORE!!!

  17. I'm so ashamed...I've never read a Woodiwiss novel!

  18. I honestly can't remember when I first fell in love with romance writing. Seems like it has been forever though! I always love to go the library when I was in elementary school. As I got older, now I'm a big fan of the public library and our church library. In fact I'm the church librarian. I love being around all those books!
    (Got up early, not I'm ready for that cup of coffee)


  19. When I was about 20, I read a book that turned me off of reading. I never was a big reader in school and hadn't read many books.

    I don't know the title or author, but the story was about a lady that was kidnapped, then raped repeatedly by indians. She was then saved/protected by a white man who was living among the indians. They fall in love and the heroine gets pregnant. But then the hero goes and sleeps w/a beautiful girl who the heroine is jealous of. The hero comes back just in time to save the heroine from a difficult delivery and they live happily ever after.

    But I wasn't happy. I was so mad at the hero and how he betrayed the heroine that I didn't pick up another book for about 10 years. I assumed most books were like this.

    Then one day my husband brought me a book from the library. I told him I did't read, especially THOSE kind of books. It was Wild Star by Catherine Coulter. I relented, read it, and fell in love w/the characters. I bought the rest of the series. Not long after, I began writing.

    My favorite book, though, is The Raider by Jude Deveraux. Fun, fun story.

    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

  20. Morning Seekerville, What a fun trip down memory lane with some of these authors.

    I skipped Nancy Drew and went right to my mother's romances when I was in fourth grade and had already finished the fourth grade reader by the end of September. lol

    I didn't pay attention to author names in those days, but do remember reading Daphne du Maurier and of course Gone With The Wind.

    Wow Vince, Thanks for the yummy chocolate to go with the coffee Helen made. You're the best Helen.

    Debra, don't apologize. Its wonderful to share great news like the call for our Seeker friends. woo hoo I'm heading over there now.

    Happy Valentine's Day everyone.

  21. Oh, my! I think that was Rosemary Rogers, Sweet Savage Love, Connie.

    Books have certainly changed since those days.

  22. I fell in love with romance my freshman year of college when my friend let me borrow "The Gift" by Julie Garwood. I was sold forever. The story had everything, humor, a spunky heroine, a gorgeous surly hero, and lots of lovable secondary characters. It started me down the road to reading romance. Luckily, my friend had a library full of Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux and everyone in between and she was my college roommate. My sophomore year I tried my hand at writing one (It’s at my parent’s house in a trunk waiting for me to submit it so it can instantly hit the New York Time Bestseller list). I also co-wrote a romance with a couple of friends (two different stories) It would be many more years before I tried my hand at writing again, but it all started with Nathan and Sarah on the high seas.

    And I have to agree with Madame Zelda, Michael Taggert was a favorite!!


  23. I didn't know there were any other type of books! The first romance I read was The Flame and The Flower---Kathleen Woodiwiss. Then I read everything by Johanna Lindsey, including Shanna. My daughter is named Brenna---Lindsey's Fire of Winter novel.
    I also loved Gone With The Wind.
    When I was in my late 20's I had a friend who had never read a romance. I got her hooked and she introduced me to Dean Koontz, John Saul and other genres.
    Now I read everything.

  24. Jane Peart's novels were the first to hook me on romance I think. But I always like at least a thread of romance in my stories.

    Still do!

  25. I was sixteen when I discovered Aola Vandergriff's "Daughters of the South Wind". Daniel Tallant was the perfect the hero!

    I devoured the rest of the books in that series too.

    Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

  26. What a fun topic for Valentine's Day!!!!!! I was smitten when I was eleven by Trixie Belden and Jim Frayne in the Trixie Belden mystery series. LOL

  27. I have to laugh when Sweet Savage Love is mentioned. What a title. and well, yes, of course I read it.

    I read all the Barbara Cartlands and Victoria Holts as well. A major fan of Phyllis Whitney. I had every book of hers at one time. Women in Jeopardy and a great location--so what if the recipe never changed...

  28. In those junior high/high school days I might be reading Thackeray or Fitzgerald or Steinbeck one day and Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt the next. Totally diversified (still am). I always liked my romance stories heavily laced with mystery -- Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, M.M. Kaye. Which is probably why that's what I was writing for so long.

  29. I've been reading since first grade. I think I started reading romances when I read Nancy Drew's adventures and her relationship with Ned Nickerson.

    I read romances all through high school, even those that were not age-appropriate.

    I knew I wanted to be a writer after reading The Promise by Danielle Steel. I wanted to create that same heart sigh of contentment with other readers.

  30. My first love of romance books came in the pre-teen years with reading Trixie Belden books. Does anybody remember those? They inspired me to write my first novel while still in high school.

    I also loved Janette Oke and June Masters Bacher...

    Happy Valentine's Day Seekerville.

    Jodie Wolfe

  31. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

    The summer I was eleven, I was searching the tiny book section of the local Woolworth's, hoping to find something that I could spend the two dollars my grandma had given me when I found Harlequin Romances. Back then, they were super sweet--just perfect for a young girl. Don't remember the title of the first one I read but it was about a fashion photographer who married his secretary.

    But the book that pointed the way to Christian romance for me was Christy by Catherine Marshall. I LOVED that book. Read that book so much the summer I turned 12, the cover fell off! Years later, I read one of Marshell's other fiction books, Julie, which was equally as wonderful.


  32. Sweet Savage, haven't heard that title in years! Rosemary Rogesrs was one of the biggies back in the 80s. Can't say I loved her books, but they were there.

    Kathleen Woodiwiss on the other hand, now there's an author who never let me down. Why couldn't she write faster??

    Thanks for the Godiva chocolates, Vince! Great way to start the day!

  33. Truth to tell...I've never read a Nora Roberts book.

  34. Oh thanks Tina.

    I've always wondered what the book was and if I would reconize it if I ran across it again.

    Being young and newly married, reading about an unfaithful guy wasn't exactly what I wanted to think about. LOL.

    I can't help but think of a rabbit in pot of boiling water when I think of a cheating man. Fatal Attraction.

    Many of the books and authors listed on here I've still not read, so a trip to the library maybe in order.


  35. I will comment later (and my story is definitely different). However, I wanted to pop in say Happy Birthday to Cheryl. I hope it's a great one.

  36. As a young teen, I was a tomboy who loved to read westerns. I discovered Louis L'Amour and read everything I could get my hands on.

    Even though his stories aren't romances, there tended to be a love interest for the protagonist.

    Tell Sackett's was Ange.

    I remember him finding her in the cave, and I remember her turning from the stove to welcome him when he came in the cabin on the very last page.

    Ah, and Tom Selleck made a WONDERFUL Tell Sackett. Man, I need to watch that movie again!

    I looked for my copy of Sackett to make sure I was right about the ending, but I can't find it right now.

    Probably in THE CAVE.

    That's what the Seekers affectionately call my son's room because all Seeker books eventually disappear into this 6'1" 196 lb hunk of Southern charm.

    Yes, even Julie's!

    I brave the cave every so often to rescue them.

  37. While all the other girls in my church were reading Love Comes Softly and others by Jeanette Oke, I fell in love with Grace Livingston Hill. I think the first book was Rainbow Cottage. I LOVED GLH!!! I've read a gazillion of her books. She inspired me in so many ways to be the best person I could be and to live for Jesus no matter what others around me did.

    Then, Catherine Palmer really opened the door for me to step in to the world of comtemporary Christian authors. Love her! And, wow! So there are other good christian writers out there!

    I don't know why, but I never got in to Jeanette Oke. I think the series thing didn't appeal to me. We were poor and I didn't have money to spend on books. I was never one who could stand to NOT know the ending of a story. Don't turn the movie off in the middle. Even if I don't like it very well, I have to know what happens. But, I don't know. Maybe someday I'll pick up another book of hers and give it another try. I enjoyed the movies. Does that count?

    Anyway, I was never much of a reader, but give me a Christian romance and I'm gone. "Earth to Linnette. Hello?" Yeah. That's me when I'm into a book. Drives my family of all guys crazy! :D


    lr dot mullin at live dot com

  38. Kaye, I love how you re-read Kathleen immediately!

    Those books that we love are devoured the first time, then savored the second (and third) time around!

  39. I can't say I ever fell in love with romance. I first appreciated romance in the The Count of Monte Cristo and Ben Hur. Although these wouldn't be considered romance, I liked how the authors approached the romantic storylines. Same with Pride and Prejudice.

  40. Happy Valentine's Day, Glynna, Seekers, and friends!

    I didn't read romance when I was in high school. I read sci fi and fantansy with strong romantic elements. :) The Dragon of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey was my first love.

    My first Christian love was the Cheney Duvall, M.D. series by Gilbert and Lynn Morris. I loved, loved, loved those books! I think I've read them all at least twice and some parts multiple times.

  41. Vince, Julie can't even write a short grocery list.

    I'm just sayin'

  42. One last comment, then I'm off to work. I'll check in later.

    Debby & Myra, I have a really old hardback of Shanna around here somewhere. I'm not sure if it's a first edition or not.

  43. Happy Valentine's Day! Does anyone have special plans to celebrate? We attended a dinner dance Saturday night. Will grill a steak tonight and exchange our valentines. I made my dh's card last year and will regift it this year. Will be fun to see if he remembers. LOL

    I loved Jane Eyre and Gone with the Wind, but LaVyrle Spencer got me hooked on reading romances routinely. Debra, Years is a favorite. Joanne, LaVyrle retired the year before I attended my first Romance of America conference. So I never got to meet her. But she attended for years.

    Vince, thanks for the Godiva! Carol M, thanks for breakfast! Sorry about your little boys' earache.


    Hugs, Janet

  44. Pam, any you man who reads romance novels will make a great husband someday!! :)

    I'm loving hearing about all the favs here today! So many that I've read and loved. Lavyrle Spencer is one I keep seeing. Hummingbird was one of my favorites of hers.

  45. OH MY! You guys mentioned all of mine! I must have started reading romance when I was 13. Because that's the year I read Gone With the Wind and Jane Eyre both for the first time. I've read them many times since then. I also read A Rose in Winter around that time. Now THAT is a great romance! Wow! But I probably was too young to be reading it when I first read it!!!

    I don't remember how old I was when I discovered Jane Austen. I think I must have been around 15 when I first read Emma, and loved it. But then I read Pride and Prejudice and that has been my favorite novel ever since. But Jane Eyre is a close second.

    I was always a starry-eyed romantic, even when I was five years old and had a crush on my older, teenage cousin. Yikes. It scares me now when I think about the people I had crushes on over the years. LOL!

  46. @Pam--It was actually Sam Elliot who played Tell and Tom Selleck was Orrin. I only correct because I've had a thing for Sam Elliot since I stumbled upon my dad watching The Shadow Riders and I was sold!! :o)


  47. I had a love/hate relationship with romance novels for years - after all, English Majors from Respected Liberal Arts Colleges didn't read books like THAT! lol - at least not in public!

    Then I realized that my favorite, absolute favorite first story ever was a romance - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - and I let myself get hooked. Now it seems that every story I read is a romance...

    Thanks so much for the chocolate, Vince!


  48. I have to mention Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Madame Orczy. Those two books really inspired when I was quite young!

  49. I never read romance. I did read the classics like Little Women, Jane Eyre, These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. They had some romance but I didn't think of them as romance books.

    Started reading romance six years ago with Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard and Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer...was hooked. Then I got into categories because I wanted some shorter reads that were longer than short stories. Got every 4 and a half and five star book off of RT Mag's list to catch up.

    Then I discovered Love Inspired!!! As a former pastor, I wasn't sure what to expect but I fell in love with the whole line. I make a practice of trying to read one every Sunday.

    I ended up discovering Seekerville with its Love Inspired authors and they led me to those long winded authors like Julie and Cara Lynn and Mary etc!

    Happy Valentines Day everyone! I brought the heart shaped, chocolate iced Krispy Kreme donuts for this special day. And because we are cyber, they are always "hot now!"

    Peace, Julie

  50. LoL, Kaye, Kathleen from Scholastic was one of my faves! In fact, I still have it and my girls have read it, numerous times!

    Somewhere around then, in Ecuador, a missionary friend had Jeannette Oke's Love Comes Softly books. I was a goner.

    When my kids were little(r) I needed escape and I discovered Elizabeth Lowell. Wow. Love her books! But I get SO engrossed in them that nothing else exists. =[ It's one of the reasons I'm so thankful for the LI books. =]

  51. What a great topic. Happy Valentine's everyone!

    I would have said I wasn't a romance reader, but that wouldn't be true. You may think I'm kind of odd and a bit of a snob, but oh well!

    The book I fell in love with as a child was "Stuart Little" and he fell in love with a bird named Margalo. To this day, I haven't forgiven E.B. White for leaving the ending so Stuart never finds the bird after she runs away after a cat threatens her. :( Traumatized me for life!

    Okay, how do you use italics in blogger?

    I loved "Little Women" and didn't Jo and Laurie make the most wonderful couple?

    Then there was "Anna Karenina" and also "The Age of Innocence."

    Hmmm...I guess the "love' stories I enjoy have their share of angst. I like complex relationships. Certainly not the traditional romances. lol

    Thanks for a thought-provoking question.

    I'd love to win books!

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  52. CarolM, I read all of Grace Livingstone Hill. They were my sisters and she gave them to me when she went to livein Africa on a year long mission trip.
    I really loved those books.

    She took them back. I think I've still got one though. I think I'll go re-read it.

  53. Ack! Helen liked Grace Livingstone Hill, too. YAY!!!

  54. I remember reading a few Danielle Steele books and thinking, 'she defines a good girl as a woman who doesn't have sex until the SECOND date.'


  55. And I've read a few paranormal books with psychic power hero/heroine and they have this strange tone to them like...."Hey, I know we're going to have sex in the future. So why not just go ahead and have it now."

  56. So many of you read romances as teens.
    I never did.
    I went through a long stretch where I read every biography I could get my hands on. Especially Revolutionary War/Founding Fathers books like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin. So many of them.
    I went about ten years as a new bride where I never read a book at all.
    I had a lot of babies to take care of.
    When I did read it was NEVER romance. I wonder why that was?

    Then somewhere in there the romance bug bit.
    VINCE I loved Linda Howard's MacKenzie books. The best alpha males in the literary world. MacKenzie's Mountain is my favorite.
    I started writing them myself when too amazing things happened almost at once. My baby went to Kindergarten and I got a lumbering old beast of a used computer.

  57. And, though there is a LOT of denial in the male reading world, Louis L'Amour's books are ALLLLLL romance novels.
    And don't let anyone tell you different.
    They're just romance novels told from the man's POV.

    And HI KAYE!!!!!

  58. When I was studying romance with an eye toward writing, I asked the librarian who wrote the best, most popular romances.

    Her reply: Nora Roberts and Linda Howard.

    So for the next year as I typed away, I read every Linda Howard and Nora Roberts books known to mankind. I studied them voraciously, kept a log of similarities from Nora's early work with HQ to her later romantic suspense, noted how she cleverly re-used plot lines for a new market, and thought those Mackenzie boys were total heroes from the beginning to the end.

    Oh my stars.

    Wounded. Territorial. Protective. Self-denying.

    Except with sex! ;)

    But great prototypes of how to write a guy that commands attention.

    Hey, I refilled the coffee service. And when I cleaned the office, none of my KEEPER books got donated to the used book store in the village.

    Even the childhood ones stayed because that's why they're called KEEPERS.

    Love 'em.

    Fresh cookies. Chocolate chip with M&M's. Warm... Melty...

  59. Mary, what's your favorite Grace Livingston Hill? I loved a bunch of them, but some of my favorites are: Rainbow Cottage, Marcia Schuyler, The Man of the Dessert, and Rose Galbraith.


  60. I never used to read romances except for Gone with the Wind and everything Jane Austen wrote. I'm making up for it now by reading lots of romances!

  61. oooh, I love every Grace Livingstone Hill book I've read...

  62. Linnette, I can't remember titles of the Grace Livingston Hill books.
    There is one where a young woman inherits a shabby rooming house in the city, leaves her unkind brother, takes her sweetheart of a grandma and makes a life for herself proving hard work, cleanliness and good simple food will lead to prosperity and love.

    I may be simplifying the plot :)

    And one where a girl runs off from her overbearing sister, whos children is is virtually raising in cinderella fashion, and rides on a train for days, only to step off in a town with 25 dollars in her pocket. Buy a house being torn down, move it with the help of kindly house-tearer-downers. Lure a man into giving her a corner of his lot for the house, then prove that hard work, cleanliness and good simple food will lead to prosperity and love.

    I also remember one about a woman being locked in a lunatic asylum and the hero climbing the walls, fighting off sadistic guards and shooting his way out to get her to safety.

    Oh, wait, that might be Linda Howard.

  63. I have always loved to read. It was just from the very beginning, it has always been there. I once toppled a shelf of books into my crib when I was little and staying at my grandmother's house. My mom found me sleeping amongst them. I claimi t was the catalyst. :)

    But if I could say when I first "fell in love" it would have to be with Janette Oke's books. I still love those down home stories and characters that struggled with faith and life, but always pulled through in the end. It was life and it made for great fiction. :)

  64. Hmm...don't remember those plots. There was the Enchanted Barn where the heroine is taking care of her family because her father died (can't remember but I think the mother died, too). She moves them into a barn. She has a low paying job and can't afford rent. Of course there's a wealthy landowner who ends up falling in love with her. Its a good one, too.

    Wish I knew the names of those you mentioned. They sound good, too!

  65. Hi Audra:

    When I finally read my first Nora Roberts novel, a Harlequin, it was so good I read twenty more of Nora’s books in a row before I read another romance.

    I was reading one of her big Irish trilogies when my wife came into the den and I told her: “Whatever they pay this woman, it’s not enough.”

    On my rewards per page research no one has topped Nora Roberts. While many authors will get 1 to 2 rewards per page, Roberts will get 8 to 9. She knows exactly what she is doing and has earned every penny by creating the most rewarding reading experiences!

    You might read her. : )


    P.S. Nora Roberts is that good!

  66. I'm pretty sure I first fell for a brave little mouse called Matthias in the Redwall series in second grade.

    After I came to terms with the infeasability of a human/rodent relationship, I carried a torch for the Fisherman in Georg MacDonald's The Fisherman's Lady. Sigh. Gotta love a Scottish brogue.


  67. Hi Mary:

    I’ve read and have all Louis L’Amour’s fiction (this includes his books under two pen names and his Hopalong Cassidy books,) and most of his nonfiction. I’ve read about half of them more than once.

    They are romances in the sense that the heroes honor, appreciate, protect, and cherish the heroines and women in general. They also get the woman by slaying dragons and earning their brides. They are not romances in that the heroes learn how to love or make a commitments or even how to deal with trust issues. Believe me, they are not girly romance romances. The are manly romantic romances. : )

    One of L’Amour’s books, Conagher is a great romance. The heroine is a widow with two children. She runs a desolate stage stop and is very lonely. She writes her soul on papers which she attaches to tumble weeds. These are blowed for miles around the countryside. Cowboys look for these anonymous writings and half the cowboys for a hundred miles around are in love with her.

    Fantastic. Sam Elliot played the hero in the movie. This should be must reading for any Western romance writer. And can Sam Elliot slay those dragons!!!


  68. Kaye, I am with you. Jude Deveraux's books are total keepers.

  69. Romance Comes Riding by Betty Cavanna started it all. Quickly followed by Janet Lambert and Rosamund du Jardin books. I loved the 'malt-shop' romances from Scholastic.

    Then there was that crush I had on Alec Ramsey from The Black Stallion books.

    That was quickly followed by reading everything Essie Summers ever wrote. I have all 50+ of her romances, and I still read and re-read them. :)

  70. Kimberli, love Redwall. And the author passed away last week. Such a literay loss.

  71. Linda Howard, Mr. Perfect is a total keeper. I re read it yearly. I love Sam.

  72. Lance, welcome to Seekerville and thanks for your POV on romances.

    Vince, I'm working on upping my rewards per page, thanks to you.

  73. I didn't discover Grace Livingston Hill until later in life and I totally enjoy her stories.

  74. Happy Valentines Day everyone.

    Mine firsts have all been listed. Trixie Belden & Nancy Drew, although mysteries, I was more interested in their potential boyfriends.

    Then came Harlequin Romances and Barbara Cartland. All from the library, since I worked at the library in my teens.

    Also loved Victoria Holt books. Went through a Danielle Steele phase (over that!) and I must say it was Nora Roberts who got me back into Romance after my kids were around 2 and 4 and I could keep my eyes open to read! That's when I started to write again.

    LOVED 'Gone with the Wind' but the movie. Didn't read the book until 20 years later! Also loved the Thorn Birds mini-series.

    And now with all the great authors in Seekerville, I must say: We've come a long way, baby!!



  75. Oh, I'm with Julie--GWTW is still my favorite book ever! Only for different reasons. Rhett Butler started my devotion to the bad boy with a heart of gold. You know, the kind of guy who has so much to offer if only he could find the one woman who can see beyond what he appears to be to all he COULD be.

    Now, that's romance :)

  76. Vince, I don't know an EXACT number but I'm pretty sure, whatever they're paying Nora's enough.

  77. The thing with Nora Roberts (and you know what? this'd make a pretty good blog post someday) is the way she creates characters all the way to the bone.

    She is big on odd careers, like the carpenter/house rehab woman in Tribute. Then she makes that woman a carpenter in every thought, every action. Her slang, her internal monologue, her hand gestures. Nora catches it all. It's a very thoughtful, deep way to write.

    I've tried to learn what she does and once in a while I really feel like I've got it right. But it's never enough.

  78. And I now look at my bizarre choices for favorite romance novel (The Black Stallion? Seriously? Your favorite ROMANCE???) and think maybe I misunderstood the question.

    Sorry Tina. :)

  79. LOL!!!

    Mary, I think the lunatic one was Audra.

    And by the way, I LOVE that book, Harders.

    Just love it. Although I think the heroine's hair needed some conditioning.

    Lance, I loved Count of Monte Cristo. And The Scarlet Pimpernel.
    Those heroes were larger than life. Wonderful. Assertive. Protective. And Tortured... Even Percy, though I hated his name... tortured by betrayal and love...

  80. Debby!!!! We're twinkies!!! We both picked Shanna!

    Wow, this post brought to mind several other favorite books I should have remembered. I used to LOVE Phyllis Whitney romantic mysteries. Also loved Wuthering Heights.

    And one I remember reading in high school was Jubilee Trail. Don't remember anything about it except it was about a young girl going west for love and adventure.

  81. Oh my. When I saw the "Marcy" book cover, I was instantly transported back to 7th grade and the shabby row of books that still had cards with my MOTHER'S name in them. I loved them, and re-read them. I even own a few that I rescued from the "discard" pile at my own library.

    I read "GWTW" in high school, and the first writing attempt of mine was a sequel to the Southern masterpiece.

    Watching my mother and both grandmothers devour Harlequin Romances, I soon found those, as well, and have been a Romance Addict ever since!

  82. Oh! How could I forget Phyllis Whitney? Or Victoria Holt? There really isn't an end to this topic, I'm afraid! :D

  83. Mary -

    Black Stallion = love story between a horse and his boy

    And a boy and his horse.

    It works.


    And VINCE ... THANK YOU for the biggest laugh I've had all week (of course it's still early)!!

    Your question as to if I'd read a shorter book than GWTW at the age of 12, would I be writing shorter books now? Uh, don't think so. When it comes to romance, I have an awful lot to say and being a CDQ, I tend to also require a lot of tension and drama with my romance. Besides, have you ever seen a short roller-coaster anywhere but in a kiddie park? And since I don't write romance for kiddies, my roller-coaster novels need lots of pages for all the swoops and hollers I like to include. :)


  85. Et tu, PAMMY???? I'll have you know, sweetie, that my grocery lists are only two pages long -- a 2-sided printed form I created of the items I usually buy in an aisle-by-aisle format that I can easily check off. I even put a pretty note at the bottom in script that says "Happy Shopping." It's not nice to make fun of somebody with MSS, you know (Martha Stewart Syndrome).

    And just for the record, I'd like to point out that my paragraph in this blog today is one of the shortest, along with Madame Zelda's and Janet Dean's, so there!!


  86. JULIE HILTON STEELE!!! Did you really just call me, Mary and Cara "long winded"???? You little brat -- you're sounding more like Ruthy every day, sweetie, who, by the why, is equally "long winded" when LI is not reining her in!!


  87. ANDREA!!! Preach it, girlfriend!! You said, "Rhett Butler started my devotion to the bad boy with a heart of gold. You know, the kind of guy who has so much to offer if only he could find the one woman who can see beyond what he appears to be to all he COULD be. Now, that's romance :)

    OH,YEAH. HUBBA, HUBBA!! BAD BOYS RULE ... but only after they find God, of course ... :)


  88. I've read everything Phyllis whitney every wrote.

    They had that Daphne DuMaurier tone to them, but with happy endings.

  89. Well, i suppose Rebecca had a happy a grim kind of way.

  90. Kind of like Wuthrring heights had a happy ending....except for the general and total death.

  91. And if I AM LONG WINDED, then Julie, well, JULIE...needs a whole nuther category.

    Of course her books always end too soon for me.

  92. Should have mentioned last night that a couple of years after falling in love with the Sunfires and Jude Deveraux, I was desperate for something to read when at my grandparents' house for the summer. I saw a book entitled Practically Seventeen---and since I was fifteen (going on twenty-five), I picked it up. And absolutely fell in love with Rosamund du Jardin's Tobey Heyden series. Of course, it's only been in the last ten years that I've been able to round out the entire series---picking up Class Ring and The Real Thing online.

    I read all of Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly and Canadian West books when I was in junior high---mostly because I was attending a very conservative Christian school and those were the only ones I could carry around with me to read at school and not get in trouble (and they had them all in the school library). At home, though, I was reading Mom's Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, and Catherine Coulter books. Those were the three main general-market romance novelists I got into.

    @Patty---Kathleen introduced me to the Sunfire series, but it was Victoria that was my favorite; and it was Victoria that pushed me into writing...when I started writing the "sequel" because I just couldn't let go of Vickie and Cade!

    Oh, and HI, MARY! :-)

  93. Oh my gosh, Sue, The Thorn Birds!! Yes! one of my early favs.

    I see some other of my favorites mentioned. Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Deborah Smith. Judith McNaught. Has anyone mentioned her? Some newer favorites: Susan Wiggs, Teresa Medeiros...

    Oh, that reminds me of one of my all time fav books: Halfway to Heaven (Susan Wiggs).

  94. I did read 'Gone with the Wind' at 16 and then re-read it several years later.


  95. I fell in love with romantic fiction when I was a teen and read a book titled Sweet Sixteen (if I'm remembering correctly). Karen O'Connor

  96. Oh, Regina, I'm with you. Julie Garwood?

    Sara Donati?

    Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stuart, Victoria Holt... Lovely.

  97. Did anyone else read "Fifteen" by Beverly Cleary? I read that one over and over.

  98. Oh my stars, Jules, NO ONE WILL believe that I'm long winded, dahlink...


    Except for my posts which have a LIFE SPAN of their own, LOL!

    And Andrea, my little chickadee, I love Rhett too.

    But I want to STRANGLE Scarlett. Brat.


    Thank you for still loving me even though I'm not a GWTW fan. But I AM a Julie Lessman and Andrea Chermak fan, LOL! Big time!

  99. Now that you all have made me want to read or reread your recommendations, I need more time!! Wish I could create and bottle it. I'm going to the used bookstore and look for some of these older books I missed.



    I have to say I detested The Thorn Birds.

    Admitting here it sold one zillion I'm lonely in my opinion.

    My take on Thorn Birds. A whole lotta people I didn't like, all came to a bad end, I didn't care, even enjoyed watching them die...a little.

  101. Jan, I, too, read "Fifteen" over and over, and have my own copy (another rescue). And I completely forgot DuMaurier and "The Thorn Birds." Let's just say I learned a lot from "The Thorn Birds."

  102. Has anyone ever read Youngblood Hawk?

    the most dreadful book I ever finished.

    Memorable only in that it was a staggering length.

  103. RUTHY--someone fought their way out of a lunatic asylum in Audra's book?

    Rocky Mountain Hero?

    I think I need to re-read it, the lunatic asylum escape must've been a very SUBTLE subplot.

  104. No, but I did try to read "Love Story" in high school. Can't believe it was in the school library, now that I think of it. First book I ever was offended by on the first page.

  105. While not necessarily a classic style romance, mine was the Christy Miller series when I was 12.


  106. My mom was a devoted romance reader (despite her dyslexia and English being her second language) but I disdained them for years. To feminist me, the heroines were just TSTL and if their only ambition was to snare a husband they seemed pretty pathetic. It wasn't until a college friend introduced me to Georgette Heyer that I got hooked. Smart, self-sufficient women trading barbs with strong, arrogant men until said men realized they could not live without them -- that resonated with me. I think Devil's Cub was the first one she loaned me, but it was The Talisman Ring that really hooked me in. Of course I never gave up my love of fantasy either, so a lot of that still creeps in as well.

  107. The first romance I ever read was a Harlequin. 'House of Love' by Ellen James, about a starched-shirt business man who bought a lovely old historic house (I think in San Fransisco) and the interior designer he hired to fix it up. I was in the sixth grade.

    Since then, these stand out...

    'The Bride' and 'Honor's Splendour' by Julie Garwood (I read most of her stuff, but these were my faves.)

    'A Rose in Winter' by Kathleen Woodiwiss (Audra mentioned this one, and I am completely with her, an amazing book)

    Anything 'Bridgerton' by Julia Quinn, with the possible exception of 'When He Was Wicked' that was my least favorite.

    'The Wife Lottery' series by Jodi Thomas and her newer Harmony, Texas novels.

    'Redeeming Love' by Francine Rivers.

    'The Kensington Chronicles' by Lori Wick, particularly the last two.

    'The Fires of Gleannmara' trilogy by Linda Windsor

    'A Bride Most Begrudging' and 'A Bride in the Bargain' by Deeanne Gist (really any of them, but these are my faves)

    'Pride and Prejudice'

    'Jane Eyre'-I first read this in HS for an English assignment, Best Assignment Ever!

    'Wuthering Heights'-Another HS assignment, 2nd best!

    'A Tale of Two Cities' - I know this one is not normally seen as a romance, and there's a lot to wade through, but the end is worth every word. True love definitely triumphs. Sydney Carton turns out to be a pretty amazing guy. (I loaned my copy out, and now I want to read it, /whimper/)

    Most recently:

    Lassoed in Texas - 'Petticoat Ranch' is prob. my fave.

    'Made to Order Family' by Ruthy (I am so bummed I missed the giveaway of her new one last week! ARGH!!

    All the Seeker stuff I've read is wonderful. Ruthy, Mary, Audra, Glynna, and Tina's and two of Missy's are still sitting in my TBR stack. I have sooo much catching up to do. I'm dizzy just thinking of all the wonderful romance out there, just ripe for the picking.

    I already have Glynna's, Tina's, and Audra's books.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  108. They weren't romances, but my heart pitter-pattered over Nancy Drew and Ned. And then Trixie Belden and Jim. *sigh*
    And then, somewhere around the age of 13 or 14, I read my first Jude Deveraux book, Highland Velvet. It has been romance for me ever since.


  109. Oh Niki!

    Trixie and Jim! And Honey and Marc!

    [wasn't it?]

    /stops self from digging for old Trixie Belden books/

    Did you know there's actually Trixie Beldon FANFICTION!!! on the net! Complete with grown up Trixie and Jims!

  110. No... Honey and Brian wasn't it?!

  111. Ah, Andrea, you are SUCH a good girl.


  112. And it was DEFINITELY Honey and Brian.

    I read and re-read those a zillion times.

  113. We like dizzy, Andrea, as long as it's us making you dizzy.

    Did you see you won a 5 page critique on Sunday?

  114. Well Jules, I did notice that mostly across the board our early choices reflect what we write today.

    I write light and short.

  115. Hi Mary:

    LOL about your comments on Nora Roberts pay! As a reader, all I care about is the price of the book. The author can make billions after that as far as I’m concerned.

    BTW: all those things you mentioned that Nora does so well; they all earn reward points!

    One other thing about Nora: she is a poet. No one, except another poet, could hope to copy her style. This is especially true of her Irish books.

    I’m with you 100% on the Thron Birds. I didn’t like any of the characters and like with Hamlet, I thought it had a happy ending, too! I think everyone liked “Mackenzie's Mountain.” Did you notice how many heroes since then have Mackenzie in their names? There’s been an avalanche of them.


    P.S. Isn’t it amazing how many different pathways there are leading into the Romance reading world?

  116. Connealy, I thought I was the only one who hated the Thornbirds.


    I mean, really????

    And I WAITED until Beth was born, took it to the hospital with me (the only place to get time to read, LOL!)


    Bitterly disappointed. I wanted to smack 'em all. Hard.

    BUT... I had a beautiful baby girl to take care of and that made it better.

    Luke. Ralph. Meggie. Really????

    And then the only NICE one drowned.

    Talk about a kick in the head.


    Now I'm madder yet.

    Thank, Mare.

  117. Holly, good girl getting a word in edgewise.

    You've got what it takes, girlfriend!

  118. Vince, Nora is adorable in person.


    So is Linda Howard.

    And skinny.

    Yet another reason to sigh...

  119. Such fun to read about everyone's fav romance book!

    I loved Daphne du Maurier. Anyone remember Edna Ferber? She was years and years ago. My aunt had her books, and I read them over one summer.

    Nancy Drew? Oh my, be still my heart. I solved every crime with her.

    And Myra, we are kindred spirits, arent' we? And you were a mom with three little ones at the time, as well. Imagine that! :)

    We share such good taste, don't we, Myra?

    And I liked The Thornbirds! Really, I did.

  120. I used to run into LaVeryl Spencer at GRW Moonlight and Magnolias Conferences. Sweet lady. Of course, she didn't know who I was. But I was in awe. Used to stare at her when we rode the elevator together.

    Come to think of it, she probably thought I was stalking her.

    Nicely, of course.

  121. Vince,
    Thanks for the chocolates!

    Happy Valentine's Day to everyone in Seekerville!!!

  122. Oh, I hated The Poisonwood Bible, too.

    Again, that's me. (and Ruthy) Out of step.

    Marching to my own drummer.


  123. So many great books mentioned here! LaVyrle Spencer was my first love in romantic fiction. "Twice Loved" is the first romance novel I ever read. Amazing! After that, I had to find every book she ever wrote. I wept the day she announced her retirement (seriously). But then I discovered Pamela Morsi and Susan Wiggs, which eased the pain a bit.

    As a younger reader, my biggest influences were Walter Farley and Lois Duncan. Maybe that's why I have such a hard time settling down into one genre ;+}

  124. Oh, I'm so glad to hear others hated the Thorn Birds! I thought I was too dense to pick up on the great love story in that book. By the end all I could think was "I can't believe I read the whole thing."


    Two new books that I think are just wonderful are "Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold" and "Sing my name" both by Ellen O'Connell. Fabulous heroes and heroines!! Their not inspirational, so buyer beware. But really great characters!

  125. Oh, I love romance! The first one I remember reading was Moon Spinners, but I also loved Daddy Long Legs and the Bronze Bow. These were all YA classics with a wonderful touch of young romance.

    Thanks, Seeker girls, for all the great romances you give us!!

  126. Kaye, if you click on that link that says Cascade Publishing it links to a great vintage romance site. You can buy the Toby Heydon books. I love that series. Love, love love it.

  127. I think my first romance was reading the Anne of Green Gables series in fifth grade. I followed Anne and Gilbert with the Sweet Valley High series which was Harlequin for tweens.

  128. well gosh missed a good discussion today - dratted job!

    I remember Trixie Belden - liked it for the horses though! and as far as the guys I'd hve gone for Brian - he was gonna be a doctor and make $$..Jim had a hot temper and I don't like tempers!

    vaguely remember watching Thorn Birds - just remember the little girl being ignored and that priest taking the inheritance instead of handing over the other will and her marrying that jerk and then sleeping with that mom kept running me out of the room so couldn't really get everything 'cept the guy drowning was the priest's son?! good grief!

    my favorite author(outside christian romance) is Jayne Ann Krentz - also liked some of Nora Roberts' and Linda Howard's - both Krentz and Roberts went kinda paranormal and Howard went scary so I took a long break then decided I could handle paranormal LOL! I still can't handle scary though I've heard Cry No More by Linda Howard is worth reading..I much prefer her Mackenzies and forgot the one with the librarian - Open Season. Mr.Perfect was good but an icky storyline with that psycho - just couldn't understand someone 'getting it on' when her friends are getting axed left and right..All the queen's Men was pretty good too. In the Mackenzies I'm a Zane fan :-) Elizabeth Lowell has some good ones too.

    hmmm the first romances I remember reading were my mom's harlequins(Janet Dailey among others)and then after that I sorta skimmed books for the 'good stuff' so couldn't tell you the storylines of most the first years of college :-( except for a few. I remember sneaking some Woodiwiss? and then Beatrice Small - eeks!

    well back to work!


  129. I don't remember how old I was, but I saw Gone With the Wind at the movie theater, with an intermission of fifteen minutes. :) I was hooked. The next day, the bookmobile (yes, in the 70's) came through the neighborhood and I checked out Gone With the Wind. I've read the book eight times and plan to read it again in 2011.

  130. Oh... Gone With the Wind and Grace Livingston Hill's books, for sure!!
    What a fun post today!!

  131. Wow, Jillian, you're right up there with Julie Lessman!

  132. Happy Valentine's Day, Seekers!!!

    I can't say for sure when I fell in love with romance, but I remember one of the first Christian romance books that really sticks out in my mind that I read in grade school was Port Royal by Linda Chaikin. :) I simply fell in love with the adventure and the sweetness of the romance!

    I'm sure there were others around that time (like Treasures of the North and that whole series by Tracie Peterson), but I remember really falling in love with Port Royal, staying in my room and constantly reading it because I couldn't put it down! And I still love those seafaring romances, like MaryLu Tyndall's stories. :)



  133. I started reading Harlequin romances in high school. The idea of happily ever after sucked me in because my reality was a broken home with a struggling mother. The idea that there were men who cared enough to brave the tough times gave me hope for my own future.

    I will say that I did love reading Johanna Lindsey during my high school years even though I read a wide variety of authors in general.

    Would love to be included in your drawing in Seekerville. Hope everyone's had an awesome Valentine's Day.

  134. Long or short this has been a most excellent discussion of those romances that got us started!

    Julie, I meant "longer length." I am sure that is what I meant to type! ;-) Can't imagine Ruthy needing to be reined in, no, not at all.

    Thanks everyone for to read all those books I haven't read yet!

    Peace, Julie

  135. But Susanna, I couldn't go for Brian because I WAS Trixie. So I had to go for Jim.

    So then you must've been HONEY? The rich girl? Sweet.
    Why am I the poor girl in the overcrowded house.

    Does anyone else remember how much milk they drank. So wholesome.

  136. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! (I'm just now getting on here so it's actually night in Georgia now). What a FUN post today--have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's favorites. But I got so excited when I read that a couple of you read/liked the old book FIFTEEN!! Oh my--for some reason, I was thinking about that book not long ago--and remember curling up in a chair reading it when I was 15!~ I loved Little Women (named my oldest daughter Amy!) and Gone With the Wind. Then in my early 20s I read Barbara Cartland, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt and so many others. I've only discovered Christian fiction a few years ago, and now that's all I read--sooo many favorites and not enough time, LOL. Blessings, Patti Jo :)

  137. Thanks, Tina, for making Valentine's Day so much fun!

  138. I loved books forever. As far as romance, Little Women was the "first" for me. My mother gifted me with a set of six books by Louisa Mae Alcott because I loved it so much. Then it was Gone With the Wind. I remember enjoying Barbara Taylor Bradford A Woman of Substance. I think my first category romance was Janet Dailey's Silver Wings Santiago Blue.

    When I began reading inspirational romance, it was Lori Wick, Terri Blackstock and then Margaret Daley.

  139. MARY SAID: "And if I AM LONG WINDED, then Julie, well, JULIE...needs a whole nuther category."

    I resemble that remark!! And keep in mind that if I am "long winded," I come by honestly ... i.e. Gone With the Winded ...

    Okay, I'm tired -- forgive me, I know not what I do!!

    And JULIE HILTON STEELE ... "longer length ... uh-huh, sure ... :)


  140. WOW! What a great turnout. Sorry to be late to the party.

    Three novels inspired my romantic fancies:
    1. Jane Eyre
    2. A Knight in Shining Armor (loved that one, Missy. WHEW!)
    3. Christy

    There are loads that follow, but those three really opened my imagination up to a whole to realm of story.

    Thanks for the fun post, Seekers.
    And Happy Valentine's Day

  141. Happy Valentine's Day Seekers and friends:) I first started reading June Masters Bacher, Janette Oke and Grace Livingston Hill in my teens...totally loved them all! Reading Nora Roberts, LaVryle Spencer and Debbie Macomber opened the door of possibilities to a greater degree for me.
    Of course meeting all the Seekers and reading a lot of your books inspires me to keep working hard and glean from your wisdom to one day reach pubbed island! ...thanks gals!


  142. Did I leave my email? I don't think I did...

    I liked Jim too Mary. But I wanted to be Honey ;).

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  143. I'm with Audra, I was hooked when I started reading Catherine Palmer novels! Finders Keepers was the first one, but when I read Kiss of Adventure I knew I was determined to write Christian romance myself. Great inspiration she is! My second and third Christian romance authors were written by Lori Wick and Penelope Stokes. And here I am finally, finally with two book contracts of my own!

  144. What a wonderful post! I saw many of my favorite romances on it. Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice were early favorites, as were books by Victoria Holt, Mary Stolz, Rosamund du Jardin, and Betty Cavanna, to name a few.

    Thanks for bringing back some great reading memories!

  145. Kirsten, I believe your right! But with those handlebar mustachios, it's hard to tell them apart! lol

    And it's been years since I watched the movie.

    I really want to see it again.

  146. Julie, I've also got a printed out grocery list organized by aisle!

    High five, girl!


  147. I thought I'd be back earlier than now, but a wife getting called for jury duty, a younger son with bronchitis, and an older son who chipped a tooth have left me scrambling today.

    As might be expected, I never even read a romance novel until a few years ago.

    The first romance I read was The Prodigal's Return by Anna DeStefano. It was a great book, but being new to the romance genre, I didn't really have a clue to what romance was (other than the traditional guy impression).

    Fast forward a few years later, I've lost count on the number of romance novels I've read. And there's a ot of great stuff out there.

    But I've never read The Thorn Birds and I have no interest.

  148. And if I need to add my e-mail, then


  149. Walt, oh my stars.

    Family first. We get it. Did I ever mention my four boys kept a 'stitches' count?

    According to them surgical stitches didn't count, they had to be accident-inspired. Oy vay.

    Bless you Walt. And I liked Anna Destefano's The Prodigal' Return too.

  150. I was an avid reader of Janet Dailey's Harlequin books. I kept everyone for years and then finally passed them on for others to enjoy. From there I discovered Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss and then one of my very favorites A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Devereaux. Then I stopped reading for several years...don't know why...guess life just happened. Then about a year and a half ago I discovered the wonderful world of Christian Romantic Fiction and now I devour books. I especially love the Love Inspired Line of books.

    Have a wonderful blessed day in Seekerville.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  151. These Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved reading about Laura and Almanzo falling in love.

    Then I was hooked by Shanna. I went looking for all her Kathleen's books.

  152. I can't remember a specific book that hooked me on romance, but who can forget the Sweet Valley High books and the pretty blonde twins? I was a big fan of those. This is kinda embarrassing, but I'd dig through my mom's clothes hamper to find the Harlequins she hid in there! LOL Guess she knew I was a bit young to be reading the more adult themes. Glad we have inspirational romance to choose from now!

  153. I fell in love with romance indirectly. I was 7 when I read Madeline, the French schoolgirl. That is when I fell in love with France. France and its romance came after I read all of the fairy tales and the happily-ever after stories. It is no wonder that I became a romance novelist! It was destined in the stars!
    Linda Cacaci

  154. I loved reading romance as a teenager. I can't remember the name of the young adult romance that I read, but I remember the cover--two sisters and the boy that they were both after (who turned out to have an older brother). After that I was hooked. Then I began spinning my daydreams into stories of the heroine being noticed by the hero, and I've been doing that ever since!
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  155. Okay, Cindy W, did you read all of Janet Daily's 50 States romance? I kept them for YEARS.

  156. Is the party over? *Grabs a leftover confection* =)

    In high school, my first "historical romance" was "Roses for Mama" by Janette Oke ... but I just called it (and most of the books I read) "historical fiction" (okay, with a bit of romance, LOL), 'cause there was no need to worry my parents (well, Dad actually), haha. For that reason, I never really sought out "romance novels" ... but I definitely didn't mind when they "snuck" up in the books I was reading. ;-) My first book that had romance as part of the main plot was probably Camy Tang's "Sushi For One" or "A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman. Even though I'm a college girl, I still don't call them "romance novels" ... I don't know why. Maybe the connotation or something? =)

  157. I've read so many romance books I don't know which one was my first. However, I do love Julie Lessman's romance writings. Her book on the poster is the only one I have so I'd love to win any of the others.

    I still remember my first love in elementary are high school.

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  158. My introduction to romance was Janette Oke and her Canadian Rockies series. I read most of her books as a teen!