My first romance… Novel, that is :)
by Jessa Slade on February 22nd, 2010

Currently working on: Just finished page proofs on FORGED OF SHADOWS, the last step before June 2010 publication
Mood: Good luck, little book!  Now get out

rose-in-winterDoesn’t everyone remember the first romance novel they discovered?  Back in the day, I stumbled upon my mother’s copy of A ROSE IN WINTER by Kathleen Woodiwiss.  A charming rouge, a burned-out manor house, an auction-block marriage, a winter ball, and a Beauty and the Beast twist.  Oh my!  After reading that, I was ruined forever.  Kinda like your typical swooning historical ingenue.

I think the right first romance novel is very much like the right first kiss.  You want it to be special, deep and meaningful, a memory to cherish.  So, like a fairy godmother picking out a prince, I take a book recommendations very seriously, especially when I am recommending a first romance novel.

Romance novels already suffer from red-headed stepchild syndrome with some (silly!) people, but I love when I can win over a new reader.  I’m always discovering new great books that I just KNOW will turn on the most hard-hearted cynic, and I also have a few gold standards that I can fall back on.

Romantic comedy
I always like to start off easy on a new romance reader.  I find a contemporary romantic comedy can be a good beginner romance because:

  • The contemporary settings are readily absorbed.  There are no Austenian social mannerisms to maneuver around, no “och, wee lass, do ye ken mah claymore yearns fer ye?” historical diction to decipher.
  • Rom-com movies often pave the way in reluctant psyches.agnes
  • The fun covers sometimes don’t even give away that it IS a romance.

Anything by Jennifer Crusie is a great “starter” because her dazzlingly delightful dialogue will win over non-believers.  And it’s so convenient that she’s writing with Bob Mayer now, because you can even spring these books on unsuspecting male-type readers because — hey! — there’s a guy’s name on the cover!

Historical romance
For the slightly uptight, a good, corseted historical can help loosen them up.  The trick with “reading” a reader who might like a historical is figuring out whether they’ll sway toward a more correct historical interpretation or if a rollicking adventure would more tickle their fancy.

But as far as tickling goes, a spicy, saucy story like Delilah Marvelle‘s are sure to please.  And by pleasure, I think we all understand what I mean ;)

Of course, there are also category romances, romantic suspense, inspirationals, straight contemporary, women’s fiction (with a strong romance)…  And, of course, paranormal romance :)   But as you know, paranormal romance isn’t for the faint of heart.

Finding a first romance novel for the people around me isn’t just a job.  It’s a passion!

And how lucky I am to be able to indulge my love as a tax write-off ;)

What’s the first romance novel you recommend to newbies?  Have you ever made a romance reader for life (or — in the case of paranormal romance – afterlife)?

6 comments to “My first romance… Novel, that is :)”

  1. 1

    [...] Excerpt from: Silk & Shadows » Blog Archive » My first romance… Novel, that is [...]

  2. 2

    I’ve personally introduced a lot of fantasy and science fiction readers to romance. Both my husband and boyfriend (we’re poly) were pretty derisive of the genre before I snuck them some good romance. My husband likes urban fantasy so I gave him J.R. Ward; my boyfriend is a big science fiction geek, so I gave him Linnea Sinclair. Both of them now search out books in the romance genre on their own. We get some odd looks in bookstores from women who don’t expect to see a 6′ tall guy flipping through a romance novel. :D

    Other authors I’ve introduced people to the genre with are Nalini Singh, Eileen Wilks, and Jeaniene Frost.

  3. 3

    I LOVE Meyer/Crusie books. Apparently they have a new one coming out involving a demonic theme park. Yes, a paranormal.

  4. 4

    I’ve gotten sci-fi/fantasy readers AND suspense readers onto romance by recommending paranormal romance and romantic suspense. My brother, my dad, and a good male friend of mine all read Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, and more.

    Reading your post reminded me of my first romance read. I should say my first adult romance. I was bored & so my roommate (freshman year in college) threw Rebbeca Bradewyne’s “Heartland” at me. I devoured it and immediately drove to Walmart where I picked up a bunch of Johanna Lindsey books. *sigh*

  5. 5

    sci-fi is the best, i always watch science fiction movies and read science fiction novels :

  6. 6

    Sci-Fi is the best, i love sci-fi movies, books and stuffs like that. I am a man of science that is why i love it ‘;:

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