Discussion

My Romance Novel Journey

Recently, Jacqueline asked why people read romance novels. I’ll answer that question in another post, but I wanted to use this one to explain how I became a romance novel aficionado.

How it All Began

My romance novel journey began in 1980. My late mother had a small collection of books and I picked one up and started reading it. (I don’t recall the name or author of the book, but it was a Harlequin Romance about two figure skaters whose previous partners dumped them. The hero and heroine then teamed up, and fell in love. Little did I know what that first book started.

To Begin Again, Jan MacLean, Harlequin, 1980, Fred Oakley cover art

Expanding the Circle

As the 1980s went on, my reading choices expanded, from Harlequin Romance to Harlequin Presents, Superromance and Temptation, as well as Richard Gallen contemporary romances and Zebra/Kensington historical romances.

First Changes

As the ’90s came and went, I turned away from historical romances and went all-in on Harlequin and its sister imprint, Silhouette books. (The clerks at B. Dalton, a sadly defunct bookstore chain, began to know me by name as every month, I would go in and purchase two baskets full of books).

Turn of the Century

As the new millennium began, so began a new series, Harlequin Blaze, which I immediately jumped on when the series was introduced in August 2001.

Second Changes, a Hiatus, and the Return to Reading

Life circumstances stopped my reading for several years, then in 2012, I decided to come back to reading. There was only one problem: I didn’t remember most of the books I read in the past, nor did I know what was hot at that time. (I’m neither a trendsetter nor a follower). I did remember one book, First Love, Wild Love by Janelle Taylor, that I read in the past. So, I purchased that book. Then, the floodgates opened.

First Love Wild Love, Janelle Taylor, Zebra, 1984, cover artist TBD

Since 2012, I’ve obtained more than 10,000 books. (The term “obtained” refers to books I’ve bought, won in contests, and gotten for free). 90% of those are ebooks. I am also trying to add to my collection by repurchasing books I previously owned back in the day.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. What’s your romance novel journey?

Posted by Blue Falcon

5 replies »

  1. Thanks, Blue Falcon. My first romance was “A Kiss for Apollo” by Janice Gray, Harlequin Romance #2029, 1976. I picked it up at a rummage sale the following year, read it, and got hooked on romance.

    More later, when I write my own article along these lines.

    • HI, Mary Anne.

      I look forward to hearing more of your story about how you became a romance novel fan and what it has given and brought you. Hearing and reading other’s stories enriches my life.

  2. Dear Blue Falcon,

    Thank you for sharing your reading experience with us. It’s sweet, the association your mother had to sparking your love for reading.

    Like you, I’ve taken hiatuses from romances or favored different genres throughout the years. When I was young I loved Harlequin Temptations, Silhouette Desires, and Bantam Loveswept lines, today I’m a Harlequin Presents addict. And I’ve always enjoyed historicals, although in the past I read newly published books, now maybe I’ll read one modern historical a year.

    It’s sad that the book buying experience has changed so much in the last two decades. I recall the joy I felt whenever I entered a book store; I’d search sections I didn’t even read. So many have disappeared. Both the used books stores I’d frequent are long-gone, although there a few antique shops around me that sell used books.

    Happy Reading!

    • Hi, Jacqueline.

      Of the books series you’ve mentioned, I think the only one I’m not completely familiar with is the Bantam Loveswept line. I may have read a few books from that imprint, but not many.

      Do you read the vintage Harlequin Presents or the currently published? If you read the currently published, are they changed in any way from the books of the 1980’s I read, and if so, how?

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