Hanging out on Twitter last night, I asked the same question and got a lot of answers. I was interested to see how many romance readers and writers started with the older historicals. If you'd like to add your "first," I'd love to hear. You can tell me in the comments here, on Twitter (@Miranda_Neville) or on Facebook.
@julieinduvall - Susan Elizabeth Phillips' FANCY PANTS. ;-)
@GrowlyCub - Heyer's Arabella
@AmandaMarie309 - Toss up: Candice Proctor's Night in Eden or Katherine Woodiwiss' The Wolf and the Dove.
@MaireClaremont - Its a toss up. Wild Swan by Celeste DeBlasis. She didn't call it romance but family Saga. Or Catherine Coulter's The Heir!
Nora Roberts's MacGregors. But Barbara Michaels was a gateway author for me.
@IsobelCarr - Fires of Winter by Lindsey. Turned me off the genre for a decade.
@dizzheart - If we're not counting Sayers, Austen or Eloise Jarvis McGraw, then it was one of those early Ace Heyer pbs
@evangelineh - Valentine Legacy by Catherine Coulter. It's still funny.
@PirateQueenKate - Amanda Quick's Mistress
@sunita_p - Heyer's April Lady. I may have read a Stewart and/or Holt before that but AL felt like a real romance.
@dougalgodfrey - The Wolf and the Dove. Then my mum gave me Seton's Katherine. Not strictly rom but still.
@badass_romance - Read both Jane Eyre and GWTW summer I turned 13 and became avid Holt/Heyer/Seton reader. Also dozens of Cartlands ensued.
@e_bookpushers - either The Bride by Julie Garwood or A Rose in Winter by Kathleen Woodiwiss
@LisaHendrix - The Wolf and the Dove.
@YasmineGalenorn - For me, I consider it Anna and the King of Siam. (I consider that a romance)
@karinacooper - Mine was Johanna Lindsay’s Defy Not the Heart. :D
@miss_batesreads I was assisting directing Wizard of Oz in gr. 6 & reading Woodiwiss Flame&Flower. (I was in gr. 6 too.)
@juliabroadbooks - Barbara Cartland. I don't remember which I read first but I promptly read about a hundred more. Am afraid to re-read.
@Laforesta1 - Nora's MacGregor Brides. And that was it-from then on, I was totally hooked. Loved the premise of the matchmaking grandpa!
@mharvey816 - Kathleen Woodiwiss "Ashes in the Wind" It was like Gone with the Wind with a HEA, but slightly more rapey.
@balletbookworm - The Wedding by [a first name I don't remember] Beverly; Ok contemporary with a side character with a cat named Chaucer
@alisonkent - The Flame and the Flower
@FionaMMarsden - My first pure romance was either The Beads of Nemesis by Elizabeth Hunter or Crown of Willow Elizabeth Ashton
@Meljean - ONLY LOVER by Carole Mortimer, Harlequin Presents #502.
@JenniferRNN - I dont' remember my first. I do know that Diana Palmer was the first author I fell in love with
@writerlexiryan - Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I was in middle school. :)
@MarniBates - Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann
@essayareayaitch - It was a Harlequin American Romance from the late 80s/early 90s … okay Google is my friend. Book was from 1983/84, Twice in a Lifetime. Apparently I knew the number, just not the title.
@VivianArend - Anne MacCaffrey Dragondrums. Side <3 and="" menolly="" omg="" p="" sebell.="" sexual="" story="" tension.="" the="" with="">
@lillie_80 - The Bride by Garwood
@BookishK - The Wolf and the Dove in the mid-70's when I was about 12 years old. I'd never read anything like it before.
@lizcook - Dark of the Moon, by Karen Robards, purchased in the Washington DC Hilton gift shop on a HS class trip… My friends & I hid in under the table and read it loud at a youth in govt awards banquet. And then Warren Berger spoke. 2/2
@KatiD - Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts (adult), Fifteen by Beverly Cleary (ya)
@jennellens - Whitney, My Love. Hooked me. Read D Steele as teen but don't consider those true romances.
@runemima - Whitney's Spindrift
@Limecello - first HP I *remember* reading I was in elementary school - the Honey is Bitter by Violet Winspear. These Happy Golden Years
@chloeneill - Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey. :)
@TheresaRomain - This was one of the first R-rated romances I read. I sneaked it from my older sister's bookshelf.The Viking's Woman by Heather Graham
@dizzyandbookish - I don't think it was first per se. But it was one of them. It was "One Tough Cookie" by Carole Dean.
@VoireyLinger - I *think* title was Outlaw's Caress. Author was Mary Martin. I was in 8th grade & it was the filthiest thing I'd ever seen.
@AuthorEmmaBarry - Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels, about 3.5 years ago.
@natalincay - the Thorn Birds, given to me by 6th grade school librarian (what was she thinking?)
@EricaJMonroe - Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
@MuseofIre - Green Darkness by Anya Seton
@elisabethjlane - Mm. I first found Julie Garwood. I wouldn't read anything without a man in a kilt.
@Sara_Ramsey - BRAVE THE WILD WINDS by Johanna Lindsey. I was 12. They had sex on a horse. It was both magical and traumatizing.
@NobleRorick - tracked it down a year ago thanks to a HaBO. Called Charity's Gambit.
@WW2HistoryGal - Cut my teeth on Kathleen Woodiwiss and Jude Deveraux.
@Cecilia_Grant - Does Phyllis Whitney count? If so, Hunter's Green. Don't remember a thing abt it except that the heroine had a green coat.
@emilyjanehubb - HERE COMES THE SUN by Emilie Loring.
@cass_oleary - Can't remember the titles but excerts from steamy romances in Cosmo sealed section, age about 15.
@BellRomance - The first one I remember was Desire by Amanda Quick, at 13. I promised my mom I'd skip the racey parts, but I didn't.
@ros_clarke - Heyer for me and many others, obvs.
@RoseLerner - I started with Regency trads: "A Lord for Miss Larkin" by Carola Dunn, when I was 12.
@susannafraser - First I remember was Amanda from the Sunfire series. YA historical romance with gloriously 80's covers!
@ScribblingSandy - The first romance I read as a romance was Stephanie Laurens's A Rake's Vow.
@CatsBooksRom - I really remember 15 by Beverly Clearly. Still a great love story.3>