Thanks to Carrie Spencer for the idea of including recent classic romances by decade. Many of these authors and books got me interested in reading romances. When my Grandma passed away, we found many medical romances from the 1960’s in her closet, so I’ve always been fond of those as well. This list only scratches the surface of beloved titles and trends. I’m including my favorite vintage covers here. What – or who – got you started reading romance books?
|Many recognize Georgette Heyer as the person to start the Regency romance subgenre, but she also wrote mystery titles. In the 1930’s she began writing two books a year. Regency Buck, from 1935, is one of a few titles where she combines her two favorite genres.|
|Anya Seton’s 1944 Dragonwyck became a movie with Gene Tierney. It featured Miranda and her doomed marriage and the man who helps her get away.|
|So many Mary Stewart titles are beloved by readers, including Moonspinner, which was made into a Disney movie. She is credited with popularizing the subgenre of romantic suspense, though her Merlin Chronicles are also favorites. Start with her first title, the 1955 romantic suspense, Madam, Will You Talk?|
|Another author responsible for bringing romantic suspense to the foreground as a subgenre is the Edgar winning Phyllis Whitney. Her adult stories are well plotted with appealing characters, but try her youth titles, too. She won the Mystery Writers of America award for the juvenile Mystery of the Haunted Pool.|
|Who doesn’t have a copy of The Flame and the Flower lurking in their bookshelves? Kathleen Woodiwiss surprised – and delighted readers with her detailed intimacy in her 1972 The Flame and the Flower, starting a frank, new trend in bestselling fiction.|
|Busy author Eleanor Hibbert wrote as many names, including Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr. Her Jean Plaidy historicals were well researched and an important contribution to the Regency subgenre. Her Georgian Saga, beginning with The Princess of Celle, 1967, is a favorite as well.|
|Jayne Ann Krentz is often credited with beginning the futuristic or science fiction romance with her 1986 Sweet Starfire. It is hard to imagine the modern paranormal romance trend without the science fiction and fantasy crossovers that existed already.|
|Fabio graced many Avon covers in the 1980s and 1990s. Readers definitely judged books by their covers, and loved him! Check out the original covered Tiger’s Eye by Karen Robards, it shows the skill and depth of this popular modern bestseller.|
|Diana Gabaldon’s Scottish time-traveler saga Outlander began crossing worlds in 1991, and continues to fill readers’ imaginations and now television sets.|
It is always fun to read about love in past decades and see how current trends stem from those creative authors.
Bio:Amy Alessio has enjoyed the advice of teens for over seventeen years in her work as a librarian at the Schaumburg Twp. Library in Illinois. Her first young adult mystery, Taking the High Ground, was published by 4RV Publishing. She wrote Mind Bending Mysterious Services for Teens (ALA Editions, 2013) and co-authored A Year of Programs for Teens 2 with Kim Patton. She is the 2013 Illinois Library Association Young Adult Librarian Award Winner and the Northern Illinois RWA 2013 Librarian of the Year. Information on her blog and presentations on vintage crafts and cookbooks as well as readers advisory topics can be found at http://www.amyalessio.com/.
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