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June 13, 2013

Vicki Batman: When I Fell in Love

When I Fell in Love

NO! not with Handsome. I'll save that story for another day. This is about when I fell in love with romance books.

Around age fourteen, I was totally bored. School was out. Didn't have anything special going on. I'd read everything I'd wanted to read.

My mom noticed and asked what was up. When I told her, she said, "Go read something." "But what?" I whined. She fastened on me a long stare and then reached for a small paperback on the shelf where she stashed her handbag. "Try this."

This turned out to be a romance by Emilie Loring.
Bantam Books had reissued them and my aunt shared them with my mom. Most took place from the forties to the fifties. They tended to be sweet (no sex) and focused on honor and integrity. The couple met and overcame whatever the villain had planned.

Here's Emilie's bio from Wikipedia and odds and ends from Amazon:

Emilie Loring was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864 to George M. Baker and Emily Frances (Boles) Baker. Her father was a playwright and publisher and her mother was a homemaker. Loring married Victor J. Loring, who was a lawyer. She began writing in 1914 at the age of 50 and continued until her death after a long illness in 1951. At the time of her death, Loring had sold more than a million copies of her first thirty books.

Her work features several repeating motifs. Among them are a girl who is twenty-three with red hair, a dark-haired lawyer or aspiring politician for a hero, a secondary character predisposed toward speaking in quotations, a fan back chair, a Mandarin coat, a Chinese lacquer screen (room divider), New England as a setting or character trait (“New England granite”), and a black-and-white spotted dog. Her earlier books, published from 1922 to 1937, were originally published in hardcover.

I read voraciously. And since, these books hold a special place in my heart. Throughout the years, I'd buy paperback ones. Then a few years ago, I told Handsome I'd like hardbacks. I have almost all in hardback now, thanks to him. (Isn't he swell?)

So confess (lol), what age and what book turned you on to romance? (And to those who leave a comment with their email address, we'll have two drawings for two sets of three of her books.)

Vicki Batman regularly imbibes a diet Coke and writes funny stuff most days. Find her at: Or at: Find her work at: Amazon, MuseItUp Publishing, B&N, Smashwords.


Sylvia said...

I read everything I could get my hands on from about the third grad on. But it wasn't until I was in Junior high that I picked up Gone With the Wind and fell in love. Then I kept trying to find more romance type books, but it was hard to find. Then when I was nineteen I read Flame and the Flower and I devoured that book. I went out and read everything by Kathleen Woodweiss. Loved her books. Victoria Holt was another author I loved in high school. Now I read anything I can get my hands on.

Betty Bolte said...

The first romance I remember devouring was Rosemary Rogers' The Wolf and the Dove (I think that's right!). I remember it because my friend leant it to me, and when my mother saw what I was reading, she threw it away! But it turned out to be my friend's mother's book! What a pickle! After that, anything by Rosemary Rogers, Victoria Holt, and a host of others were read and enjoyed. I've always been drawn to historical romance!

Kat Holmes said...

The first romance I ever fell in love with was Gabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts. I was 12.


Hi, Sylvia, Betty, Kat: isn't it interesting we fell in love with romance in our teens?

I read Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodwiss too. Victoria Holt and still love my Mary Stewart (although they say romance now, but I thought mystery).

Have a happy romance day!

darlene deluca said...

I was probably 14 or 15 when I started Harlequin romances. The one that sticks in my mind was called Miranda's Marriage. I don't remember all the details, but I remember liking that book, and pretty sure I read it more than once!

Rose Anderson said...

My very first was Jane Eyre and I was 13. I still love Edward Rochester. As an adult, the first was A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was hooked! Nice post Vicki.

MM Pollard said...

As a teen, I read a lot of Victoria Holt and Mary Stuart. I felt IN LOVE when I read The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I continued my love affair with the Wolf and the Dove by her. True bodice rippers, but I loved them.

It's fun to see those names mentioned by others here.



Hi, Darlene! Our own PP Pam read Harlequin's when she was a youngster, too. Confession: I read many more than once. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, Rose! I thought A Rose in Winter was a wonderful book. A father puts his daughter on the auction block??? Wow! And then bought by the stranger with the patch??? Double Wow. Good one, girl.

Hi, MM. Isn't it fun? A lot of us were hooked with Kathleen Woodiwiss. She was very racy for me, but I read them. Who wouldn't want to be Shanna and dress like a boy and work with the hunky doc? Thanks for being with me today. VBG

Melissa Keir said...

Johanna Lindsey's Captive Bride was the first book that got me hooked. I couldn't stop and read everything from her and then everyone else. I was only 12 but was very precocious.

Rayne said...

To my it will always and forever be "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn." As I read it, a thought kept playing in my mind: "I want to write books like that."


Hi, Melissa: I love you being precocious. That's absolutely great. I've not read Captive Bride, that I remember, but maybe I do. Thanks for the visit.

Hi, Rayne: You and I have discussed a Tree Grows in Brooklyn and I told someone I just had read it for book club and they asked if it really was worth the read. I said YES!!!

Thanks ladies!

Lani said...

Well, I am one of the very few people, I think, who didn't start reading romance books until I was in my 30s. I did go to a prep school, where a romance book was shared among us girls, as a form of sex education. But I didn't particularly like that book. When I was pregnant with my son, I had almost four months of bed rest, and lovely friends gave me books to read, two of which were romances. But again, I didn't particularly like them. They were nice, but not for me. It wasn't until I was getting a divorce, strolling around in a book store with a broken heart, that I picked up my first love, ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A VAMPIRE by Kerrilyn Sparks. I devoured that book, and luckily she had written several others, so I picked those up soon enough. And let me tell you, after years of buying anything but a romance book I was SO self-conscious. And of course, at the register was about the most beautiful man I'd ever seen, glancing through all my books. I'd bought many books from him before, but never romance. I know my face was almost crimson as he rang me up, but to his credit he just smiled, and asked me to tell him if I liked any of them, because he'd been wanting to read the series too. I think I mumbled that I would, but I'm really not sure if I said anything coherent at all. So, not only did Ms. Sparks begin my fascination with romance books, but she got me to flirt--as awkwardly as I did--with a man after I thought my heart would never feel again. I owe so much to the romance genre!


Hi, Lani! I love your story and I've never read anything by Kerrilyn Sparks. I used to get so embarrassed by what I bought to read. I think most of the time the cashiers just glance and scan. However, yours flirted a little and that's totally cool. Way cool! And so glad romance brought you to us.

Penny's Tales said...

This is such an easy one for me. I NEVER read until I was 20 and had a baby. Then, what else is there to do when you are up all night. Rosemary Rogers, Wicked Loving Lies! I wish I still had it.

Fabulous book!

Penny Estelle

Just went back and read the other comments. OMG, Kathleen Woodwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Wolf and the Dove, Flame and the Flower - all fabulous books. I'm not sure, but we could be telling our ages here!


Hi, Penny! So lovely to have you here. I just checked my shelves and I don't have your RR book any more. :( I noticed the age thingy too, but didn't want to say. LOL

Cara Marsi said...

I started reading romances in my early teens. I loved the YA romances of Elizabeth Howard. I'm sure there's no one on this blog who ever heard of her. Her books were published in the Fifties. The first "adult" romance I read was "Bride of the MacHugh" by Jan Cox Speas. Read it in the early Sixties. OMG. Loved that book. I read it over and over. The MacHugh was a hero to die for. My best friend and I read the book and debated it endlessly. This was in the time before sex education. No one one, not our parents, teachers, no one would tell us anything about sex. All the nuns would tell is is that French kissing was a mortal sin. We didn't even know what French kissing was. My girlfriend and I figured out the sex act by reading "Bride of the MacHugh." That and our little bit of knowledge of biology. I still have my copy of the book.


Hi, Cara! I'm in stitches over the mortal sin of French kissing. I have heard of Elizabeth Howard. I'll have to look her up. I'm guessing her books are similar to EL's. Still laughing now. ox

Angela Adams said...

I wasn't yet a teenager and my grandmother gave me a book called "Joy in the Morning." Set in the 30s, rich law student guy marries poor girl and his parents are not happy (and that's a kind way of phasing it). I was flipping channels not too long ago and saw the movie on a cable movie channel.


Hi, Angela! Was Joy written by Betty Smith of Tree Grows in Brooklyn fame?

I think it interesting that conflict about boy marrying poor girl. It's really about integrity and values, but without the conflict, no book.

Let me know and thanks for posting.

Cara Marsi said...

Hey, Vicki, those nuns did a number on our heads with their thoughts on French kissing. One nun even said we shouldn't wear our hair in ponytails because of the way the hair swung suggestively. You should have seen me trying to figure that one out. I recognize now that the nuns were sexually frustrated.

Elizabeth Howard's books were very pure and sweet. Very YA, but not like today's YA. I've been collecting her books from online used book stores.

Elizabeth Essex said...

Like many historical fans, Georgette Heyer's Georgian and Regency stories of love amidst the ton of London were my gateway into the world of romance. Our local library had a wonderful collection of her books that kept me reading through my early teenaged years.

And then it was on to Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart, before I went to college and found the paperbacks of Kathleen Woodwiss (Shanna), Rosemary Rogers (The Wolf and the Dove).

I still like to revisit those sweet Heyer books from time to time, especially when I find them at the library. :)

Pat Marinelli said...

Nora Roberts. I’ve read every Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb book since. I can’t even tell you which book was the first one I read, but I know I went looking for all her books after that and wait not so patiently for her new releases.

The biggest thrill of my life was meeting her the first time. I went to many of her book signings after that.