Sunday, January 24, 2010

And the Mountains Bore Witness To Their Love

Recently, I wrote about children reading romance (how parents should handle it, etc). This made me think about the path I took to becoming a romance reader, and I suspect the subject will preoccupy me for awhile!

My first official romance novel was Jayhawk, by Dorothy Keddington. My friend Tara loaned it to me in 7th grade. I remember reading it behind my pre-algebra book while she watched, grinning, occasionally giving the thumbs up sign and passing notes to ask what part I was at.

I also remember being a bit disappointed by the end. I spent the whole book waiting for them to "do it." There were several frustrating scenes where the hero and heroine would start making out, but right when things got good they'd break it off to have a conversation about waiting until marriage. Then they finally did get married and went on their honeymoon, and all I got was one sentence... the mountains bore witness to their love. So sad!

Where, oh where, was the detailed steaminess?

Not in this sub-genre, of course. At age 12, I didn't realize that there were different lines marketed towards different audiences. I didn't even know that I was reading a Christian romance (specifically marketed towards LDS readers).

I've got to say, though, that the romance between the hero and heroine was fairly hot. Even if they weren't acting on it physically you could just feel them oozing desire for each other. (The murder mystery and death threats for the B-story certainly helped escalate the tension!) And I still find the hero sexy, even if he is a victim of the '70s (the poor man gets married in maroon velour).

As a writer, that's a lesson to me--character chemistry requires something more than a detailed description of how often they exchange bodily fluids. (And, also, I should be sparing/vague in my description of clothing.)

That's one of the reasons I keep returning to Jayhawk. As a reader, I just love revisiting it. But as a writer, I have much to learn from Keddington's tight pacing. After all, she can keep me turning pages... even after 17 years of familiarity with the book.

I want to know... what are your favorite books to reread, and why? And what is the sexiest non-sexual book you've ever read?


Anna Richland said...

The romances I have reread the most frequently are the early Amanda Quicks - Dangerous, Deception, Ravished. I reread Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Wolf and the Dove recently, for this blog, and enjoyed it so much I considered finding a copy of Shanna but I'm overwhelmed with my writing and must-do reading (research related) so I'm not doing much else. I reread more often when I was younger - more time to read, less money to spend on books, farther away from a library.

Vivi Andrews said...

Jennifer Crusie is my comfort read. I just keep coming back to her. But my most re-read books aren't romances - Fountainhead, Stranger in a Strange Land... I like the layers of philosophy. I always take something new away from the book.
In terms of sexy-non-sex books, Julie James's books are fairly tame on the "slot-a-tab-b" type stuff, but have definite zing in the banter. Love her. :)