It All Started with “Patricia”
The first romance novel I ever read was an inspirational story titled “Patricia” by Grace Livingston Hill. She wrote in the 1930’s, so as you might imagine, they are very sweet, innocent romances. My mom introduced me to her books sometime in the ‘80’s when I was a young teen dealing with burgeoning hormones and all of the angst that comes with puberty. I was an avid reader even before that, and I devoured the story of a girl who had come back to her home town and two men she’d known since childhood. She had to choose between them, of course, and ultimately makes the right decision (of course), but more than the actual story, I remember how reading it made me feel.
I remember feeling confused, hopeful, anxious, intolerably sad, lost, and ultimately joyful as Patricia went through all of those emotions throughout the story. I was right there with her, cheering her on, wanting the best man to win her hand in the end. And when the story was over, I was truly amazed at the depth of emotion that one little book could wring out of me. It was quite an experience, especially for someone who tends to keep her emotions in check, on the outside at least. I remember wanting a love like that for myself someday – wanting to feel that deep connection with someone. I longed to find my “soul mate”, just as she had. I dreamed that my story would be as perfect as it was between those pages.
Needless to say, I did have my own small collection of romantic (and some not-so-romantic) entanglements. The one that “stuck” really did have to go through a test of time, like so many of those early inspirational novels. One of the central themes common to all of those books was that love is patient, and that “lesson” more than any other served me well in cultivating my own “happily ever after” – my husband and I dated for seven years before he proposed. When we finally got married, neither of us had any doubts at all, just like those characters I’d fallen in love with years before.
I still have my collection of Grace Livingston Hill novels in paperback – classic romances, in my opinion. I’ve read nearly all of them, and still occasionally go back and re-read one though my tastes generally run to far steamier fare these days.
To enter the contest today, do you remember your first romance novel?
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