For this Friday Firsts post, I’d like to talk about my first romantic read. Let me start by saying that I read a ton of romance novels in my twenties. Favorite authors included Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts. My first Danielle Steel novel was Star and I read it after I saw a Lifetime TV movie version of the film starring Jennie Garth (I know, I’m dating myself here) 🙂 The book was very different, as tends to be the case, but I loved it and I was hooked. From there, I progressed to Nora Roberts novels which I loved because, they not only had romance but usually quite a mystery as well. I would stay up reading into the early morning hours because I just had to find out whodunit and if the couple was really going to end up together – spoiler alert – yes, they always did! In trying to pinpoint which of these novels was my first real romance book, I found myself going back earlier than my twenties, or even my late teens. I found myself remembering a book I read in my early teens, a time of just discovering boys and really not even understanding what romance was.
Now, don’t panic. No, I wasn’t reading Steel and Roberts-esque books at age thirteen. I was reading Sunset Kiss by Cherie Bennett. Sunset Kiss was a gift I received right around my thirteenth birthday. It was a book written for younger readers so there wasn’t anything inappropriate in it. But it definitely had a romantic theme – just read the title! Sunset Kiss is the first book I remember reading and finding myself caught up in the relationship between the main character and her love interest instead of trying to solve a mystery or catch the bad guy. I was more concerned with Carrie and her crush, Billy, a musician (because, you know, they have to be musicians, it’s romance book law!) 😉
At age thirteen, I was becoming aware of boys and how they were seeming less gross and more “cute” as the days went by. Enter a book with a bunch of teenagers working on a romantic island (Sunset Island) for the summer, and I was hooked. I remember feeling, well, dreamy reading about Carrie and Billy and their crushes. I remember thinking how wonderful it must be to fall in love. And, of course, I couldn’t wait to experience it all for myself. Sunset Kiss was the second book in a series by Ms. Bennett, and I ended up reading several books from the series in my early teens. I was fortunate enough to find a copy of Sunset Kiss in good condition through Amazon’s marketplace a couple of years ago. I loved rereading my first “love” when it comes to romance books and revisiting Sunset Island.
As I grew, so did my library. I began reading Nicholas Sparks (though he usually made me cry!), Ms. Steel, and Ms. Roberts. While I still pick up a romance novel from time to time, I don’t read them nearly as often as I used to. One, it’s hard enough working through my TBR list as it is, and two, after a while, they start to seem predictable. I would love a truly original romantic read, something new and fresh.
Do you enjoy romantic reads? Are there any you recommend? Please feel free to share with us in the comments!
Happy Reading! – Kait