I love my romances. I should hope so – I write them. But truthfully, I only started reading them about 12 years ago. Before that, I was all about mysteries and only mysteries. I think it’s Nancy Drew’s fault. I moved from Bobbsey Twins adventures, to Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Then I grew up a little and found the classic Ellery Queen and Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie shelves. I branched out a little after being introduced to Tom Clancy but I was pretty happy haunting my two little mystery aisles in the book store.
Romances were what my mother read. She had stacks of Harlequin Presents. I snuck a couple into my room and read them as a teenager but they weren’t nearly as exciting as murder.
Then, about 12 years ago, I was heading out on my first tropical holiday ever and I panicked. I didn’t have enough to read! I went to the grocery store (since it was the only thing open that I could get to the night before I left) and there was a book stand in front of the cashier. Kresley Cole. I grabbed her newest release, and one of her other books that looked interesting, and headed south.
Instant addiction. Kresley Cole writes paranormal romance. From there, I found Lora Leigh and Christine Feehan. And then the floodgates opened. I had years of reading to make up for because these were NOT my mamma’s romances.
Now about two-thirds of my library consists of romance novels, primarily paranormal and contemporary. (I’ve discovered I can read historicals but I’m super picky about them). I have found my people. I haven’t forgotten about my first loves though. Tom Clancy is gone but I have one more of his co-written Jack Ryan Jr books left in my TBR (to be read) pile. The latest JD Robb, Alexander McCall Smith, and Matthew Reilly (as well as newly reprinted Mickey Spillane) have all been added lately to my bookshelf as well. I’ve even started to branch out into fantasy and sci-fi (I’m slowly getting into Frank Herbert’s Dune, Robert J Sawyer and Jasper Fforde).
One of the best things about loving romance is that it leads you to all of these genres. It’s not all smoochies, all the time. There is action and adventure and murder and space travel. It’s also nice to give yourself a break from your favourite genre so you can come back to it refreshed and ready to dive in. All roads may not lead to romance, but romance leads to all places under the sun. That’s pretty impressive for what a lot of people dismiss as a simple ”oh, it’s a romance” book.