by Melanie Coles
I have a somewhat hazy memory when it comes to my foray into the world of romance novels, but as a girl-child of the eighties, here are the ones I do remember reading that influenced my love for them:
- Sweet Valley
My earliest memory of romance novels, Francine Pascal’s engaging series about twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield had me hooked for years. Though they weren’t strictly romance, it was certainly enough to whet a young girl’s appetite for the genre.
2. Anne of Green Gables
I saw the telemovie before I discovered the books, swooning over Jonathan Crombie’s Gilbert Blythe along with millions of other girls, but once I found them I couldn’t put them down. He was the first fictional hero I ever fell in love with, and to this day the love story of Anne and Gilbert remains one of literature’s most endearing.
File this one under “sex-ed for tweens”. Judy Blume’s coming-of-age story was the first book I read that dealt with issues of teenage sex and intimacy. The book was so popular that I spent a month on a wait-list at the local library for my turn to read it.
4. Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.
Melanie Cole brings her love of Pride and Prejudice to rural Australia in her re-imagining of the classic, Evan and Darcy.