(no she is not a guest…I wish!…I just wanted to feature her since she is the reason I read romances today)
Since Fridays are for featuring authors or readers, I thought I would write my first feature on the author who introduced me to romances….and yes, I will probably ramble again 😀
The year was 1997 and I was watching a made-for-tv movie on televison, Rose Hill, starring Jennifer Garner (in one of her earliest roles). I really enjoyed the movie and even recorded it so I could watch it again. I was a huge fan of historical-set movies and this one was a sweet story about 4 young boys who find a baby abandoned and decide to head west and form their own family.
Since I really enjoyed the movie, imagine my delight when I went to the store and happened to see the book the film was based on, For the Roses by Julie Garwood. Expecting a story like the movie, I quickly convinced (okay…begged) my mother to buy it for me (I was 14 with no money 🙂 ) and took it home to start reading it.
As I read the book I quickly discovered a few things:
1. The book was NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING like the movie…a similar premise…4 boys raising a little girl…some characters were the same, but not a whole lot else…but this was not a bad thing…it was actually very interesting…in fact, the book was just as good if not better than the movie.
2. This book was a ROMANCE with love scenes…one of those books that until then I had never read…boy, was that an eye-opener! I bet my face was red for a week after some of those scenes! Yeah, those were definitely not in the movie I had watched with my mom and dad. In fact, the movie was more about the family than any romantic relationships.
3. I really liked Ms. Garwood’s writing…she had great settings, plots, and characters (both main and secondary) and I wanted to read more.
4. (and probably the most important) I was officially hooked on romances!!!
After reading the book, I quickly began buying Ms. Garwood’s backlist and other historical romances from other authors that until then I didn’t even know existed. So thanks to Ms. Garwood…my romance book addiction began! Although, technically I guess you could say Jennifer Garner is what led me to discover romances…LOL.
I had always been a big reader (reading anything and everything) and a fan of happily-ever-after-type stories like the classics, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I discovered the mainstream or modern romance genre, but Ms. Garwood’s book is what opened that world to me. I loved watching the couple deal with all of the obstacles in their path on their way to their Happily Ever After…that is what I love about the romances even still today…watching a couple fall in love despite all that life throws at them.
I got my start with Julie Garwood’s historicals and she has branched out into contemporaries (which I haven’t tried yet). However, I can highly recommend her historicals.
Although I started with For the Roses and loved it, it is not my favorite by her. I actually have a hard time picking a favorite Garwood book. I absolutely loved Prince Charming, Saving Grace, The Gift, and Ransom. And her Scottish-set historicals are also among my favorite books.
She has written several connected books, which is great because you get to re-visit favorite characters and see your favorite secondary character get his or her happily ever after. As I read her books, I often find myself falling for the secondary characters as well as the hero of the tale. In fact, I was thrilled after reading For the Roses when I discovered that Ms. Garwood planned on writing stories for each of the brothers in the book. And once they came out, I enjoyed them too…Come the Spring, One White Rose, One Pink Rose, and One Red Rose tell their stories.
You can’t really go wrong with any of her historicals (although, like all authors some of her books are better than others). Her books have become my comfort reads and I re-read them all several times.
So if you are a fan of historicals and haven’t read Julie Garwood, I highly recommend her. I can’t speak about her contemporaries yet since I haven’t read them (but plan to read them soon).
For more info on her and her books visit her website: http://www.juliegarwood.com/