Hi everyone! So I “met” Lisa on twitter and she was all “omg! I watch those shows too! Let’s talk!” And then I was all like “you should do a guest post for me!” *all innocence* and there you have it. 😀 This is Lisa’s first ever blog post, she tells me, so everyone please give her a warm welcome!
When and Why I First Started Reading Romance
I was about 13 or 14 years old when I first started reading romances. I was at a local bookstore in town browsing the shelves, and ended up in front of the romance section. Something made me actually stop and check out the titles instead of just walking past like I normally do. The one book that caught my eye was Nora’s The MacGregor Brides (hey, if you’re going to start, you might as well start with one of the best, right?) Back then, I still had the mentality that romances were naughty books with little to no redeeming value, and I shouldn’t be reading them. But something pushed me to take the book off the shelf and check it out. I read the back blurb about three cousins (Laura, Julia, and Gwen) who fall in love at Christmas, all due to the machinations and plotting of a larger than life, meddling, matchmaking grandfather, Daniel MacGregor, aka,“The MacGregor.”. So despite myself, I found the premise fun and intriguing enough to start thumbing through and reading a bit of the book.
I immediately fell in love with the book, and was completely swept up in Laura, Gwen, and Julia’s story. Not because of the sexy parts, though of course that played a part in it. I loved the sense of family Nora built into the story. The three cousins live together in Boston, and the friendship and bond between them immediately reminds you of hanging out with your girlfriends. Each novella also includes a scene where the whole entire family comes together that reminds you of a Norman Rockwell holiday. But instead of it being overly sappy and sentimental, it just made you want to imagine yourself right there as an honorary MacGregor celebrating Christmas with a family who loves each other and support and care for each other, no matter what. Very fitting, as the holidays are all about family togetherness right?
And the book was funny. The scene when Julia and Cullum fight at her Christmas party/housewarming party and he picks her up and throws her over his shoulder while she’s cursing and spitting mad always makes me laugh, as well as the scene when security expert Royce (hired of course by Grandpa Daniel) walks into the house and sees Laura with her head in the fridge, butt wiggling as she’s dancing to the music in her earphones.
Our heroine is no weakling naturally, and faces Royce down with a kitchen knife before he can get a word out.
Most of all, the heart and romance in the story is what won me over. Branson wins Gwen over by giving her all twelve gifts from the song “12 Days of Christmas”. I defy anyone not to be charmed by a ceramic bowl painted with eight maids a milking, or nine music boxes with dancing ladies on top. Julia is in the business of developing and rehabbing real estate properties and Cullum is the contractor who’s hired to do the work, even though they couldn’t stand each other. (Of course, we all know that it’s all the unresolved sexual tension that’s the cause of all the sniping). Julia has just bought a new house she’s rehabbing. Watching the house come together and come alive as a physical manifestation of Julia and Cullum’s growing love and relationship was lovely. You know, by the end, that this is the house they’re going to live in and raise their family.
Of course, I then went on a mission to devour any other Nora Roberts’ books I could get my hands on. I sped through the rest of the MacGregor series (Ian and Naomi’s story in The MacGregor Grooms is my favorite), and went on to her Chesapeake Bay series. By then, I was a full on convert. Because after all, even under my pragmatic exterior, I am a romantic sap who wants to believe in the true love and happily ever after of it all. Nora’s books and the other romances I read reinforce for me the idea that there is nothing more important in life than love and friends and family, and love is more than just sex. Finding the right person for you, and demanding nothing less than a relationship built on love, trust, respect, commitment, as well as passion is worth waiting for and fighting for.
So my question for you lovely people: What was the book that turned you into a romance fan? What was it about the book that won you over?