Help A Bitch Out

HaBo: Stuttering Loveswept

Becky writes:

I know it was a Loveswept romance and the heroine had a stutter and was shy. The hero had a son and they were neighbors. I read this when I was just a pre-teen (stolen from my mom’s collection) and really liked it. It was one of the first romances I ever read. Can you please identify or providme with some resources that might be able to help’?

I have a theory that everyone can remember the first romance they ever read. Do you remember yours? And do you remember this one?


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  1. 1
    Katie says:

    Sorry I can’t help with this. I think you do always remember your first. Mine was Forever my Love by Lisa Kleypas. I adore this book. Kleypas seems to try to distance herself from her early works, but I for one love them.

  2. 2
    Terry Odell says:

    The first romance I read was a paperback my mom left behind after a visit. I really liked it—it was a time travel, and the hero and heroine had a connection before she figured out how to travel back in time. There was a mystery involved, and she had to adjust her diet—lots of iron and salt—before she could travel.

    Mostly, I remember the hero reminded me of Duncan McLeod, and I was into that series (which eventually started my writing career—long story), I started reading romance.  Wish I could remember the book; I’m sure it’s out of print by now.

  3. 3
    Berry says:

    Frustratingly, I don’t really remember my first. I went from reading children’s literature to YA Mystery and eventually crossed into YA romance (I remember this Harlequin-styled series of books that came out like every month that were even kind of themed like Harlequins— I wish I could recall what this series was called.)

    You know what? I am totally lying to you. Well to myself; I just remembered what my first romance novel had to be, because I was about eight years old at the time I read it—Like Water for Chocolate.

    Well. I’m not entirely sure that counts as romance. Mrf. I’ll let the Bitchery decide.

    Also; sorry, no idea regarding your HaBo. It sounds like something I’d liked to read though.

  4. 4
    elianara says:

    Sorry, can’t help you find the book.

    The first romance I remember reading is Jean M. Auel’s The Valley of Horses, but I know I that was not my first romance. So I have to say I don’t remember my first.

  5. 5
    kimsmith says:

    Sorry, I can’t help find the one you’re looking for.

    But thinking about the first book I read took me on a side trip down memory lane back to my first romance:  The Tiger’s Woman by Celeste de Blasis.  I was thirteen or fourteen, and had just finished Atlas Shrugged and was looking for “bigger” books around the house, and there was this big fat tome hanging around my mom’s room.  I actually picked it up because I was hoping there was a tiger in it (I was into talking animal books), but stayed because Atlas Shrugged’s painful clash of wills in its brief sex scene had awakened a bit of curiosity about the matter—and there, probably in the first hundred pages, was another bit of the mysterious forbidden.  Frankly, I kept going because I was hoping for more of those matings, eventually getting hooked on the heartbreaking relationship developed not just between the two main characters, but the sentimental side stories.

    Like the book you’re looking for, it had a flawed hero; although he was an alpha male, described as ruthlessly powerful in his business dealings, there was a muscle in his leg which would occassionally go into painful spasms and lay him low, much like Dr. House without the vicodin addiction.  If memory serves, just about the entire cast of characters had a flaw of some kind.  The woman had a past she was escaping and had a hard time trusting anyone; she had been hiding out in a saloon as a dancing girl, and she strikes a bargain with the hero, offering herself up as his mistress in exchange for protection.

    But they weren’t the only flawed characters.  The man owned an island populated by people he had collected in his lifetime who were also emotionally or physically imperfect, including an albino child.

    I suppose that book left me with an affinity for flaws.  I know, for example, that there are many people who stutter, or have asthma, or struggle with weight.  And I respect an author when they choose to include this type of realistic burden in their story.  It’s troublesome to me that so many authors endow their main characters with physical perfection.  Or they add a flaw that will be cured by the power of the Mighty Wang or Magic Hoo Hoo.

    I don’t know if I’m saying what I mean very well.  For me, flaws don’t have to be cured by the end of the story; it’s most satisfying when the strength of the relationship makes a flaw endurable.  Many hands make light work, so to speak.

  6. 6
    Babs says:

    Wish I could help identify the book but I can’t.

    I remember my first romance, a Harlequin borrowed from my mother (I think it was laying on the coffee table and I picked it up because I was bored)—can’t remember title but it was typical category of the time (early 1980s) with a Greek millionaire getting back at an old lover (I think) by seducing/marrying her sweet/innocent/unworldly younger sister. Oh, did I forget to mention he’s blind due to some accident. Much misunderstanding and drama as older sister/former lover reappears. HEA includes him regaining sight due to some innovative surgery and innocent miss being pregnant.

    Wow. Maybe THAT should be a HaBO…!

  7. 7
    bookishheather says:

    I wish I knew the title of the book, but it doesn’t sound familiar. The first romance I read was The Heir by Catherine Coulter. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on another book after that.

  8. 8
    Susan says:

    I remember a stuttering hero in a historical—wasn’t Simon in Julia Quinn’s The Duke & I a stutterer—but I’ve never read a stuttering heroine. Sorry :(

    I don’t know what to classify as my “first” romance. The YA novel that made me love an HEA (Journey for a Princess),  Cinderella, which I made my mom read every night for a year (I was four at the time), or the Jude Deveraux that I found in my mom’s TBR pile and read when I was 13 or 14 (can’t remember the title, took place in CA in early 1900s, she drove a car to rescue the hero). These all contributed to making me a life-long rom reader.

  9. 9
    Francesca says:

    No idea about the book.

    The first real romance novel I read was Captive Passions by Fern Michaels. I was 15 and a girlfriend at school lent it to me.

    I had been reading Jean Plaidy and Margaret Campbell Barnes for several years before that. They weren’t officially romances, but they seem to get grouped with them. I had borrowed our school library copies of Plaidy’s The Young Elizabeth and The Young Mary Queen of Scots about 100 times when I found St Thomas’s Eve in the bookstore. After that, I was hooked.

  10. 10
    Nadia says:

    Terry Odell:  I think yours is Son of the Morning by Linda Howard.

    Don’t know the original request.

    I consider Ashes in the Wind by Woodiwiss to be my first “real” romance novel.  My grandma gave it to me in a sack of historical novels.  But I did sneak a copy of Judy Blume’s “Forever” earlier than that, and it was romantical, right?  She touched his penis!  And it had a name!  Oh, the scandal.  Even as a kid, I was ordering the girl-boy drama books from Scholastic.

  11. 11
    Terry Odell says:

    Nadia – thanks. That does sound like it. Will have to see if I can get my hands on a copy, for nostalgia’s sake if nothing else.

  12. 12
    lunarocket says:

    wasn’t Simon in Julia Quinn’s The Duke & I a stutterer—

    Yes, I’m reading that book right now in fact.

    I can’t help with the title for the OP either. I also can’t remember the first romance I read other than it was on of my grandmother’s Harlequins and we at the beach and it’s all there was to do at night other than the amusement park.

    The first one I do remember reading was a couple years ago and provided by my sister-in-law and had some guy named Wulfgar. Medieval romance, (ah, I just googled and found it was the Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss). I didn’t read any more after that, not impressed maybe? Till same SIL brought me all those Cynster novels by Stephanie Laurens. I’m branching out now, more heroes that aren’t clones of one another and heroines who aren’t all perfectly complexioned beauties.

  13. 13
    Karen H says:

    My first romance was Johanna Lindsey’s “Defy Not the Heart” that I picked up at my mom’s when I was visiting.  She had a bookcase full of category romances (due to a subscription) that I could ignore because I only read “real” books, former English major that I am.  But FABIO was on the cover and I was on vacation and it was historical (always a favorite of mine) so I read it.  And I was hooked.  I have since found many great authors based on a Fabio cover (or some other good looking hunk) and I’ve found some real duds.  I mostly read romances and I’ve learned so much from them.  I like most genres except contemporaries where the hero is impossibly rich and impossibly, obnoxiously arrogant and the heroine is a doormat, or the murder/torture mystery part is a little too graphic.  And I got over my snobbishness and don’t hide my reading material from anyone.
    My word is bad94—I’m not all bad, only 94%!

  14. 14
    Sandy M says:

    I’ll always remember my first romance. It was “A Pirates Love” by Johanna Lindsay, I was 11 and I would sneak it off the bookshelf whenever my mom wasn’t around. In between the rape scenes I was reading things like “The Babysitters Club” and “Sweet Valley High”. It was a nice I recently told my mom that I used to sneak her books back then and she couldn’t figure out how I would get them past her (oh, the things you do for a romance novel)

  15. 15
    Ashley Ladd says:

    I don’t remember reading any books with a heroine who stutters. I don’t recall what was my first book or my first romance, but I remember a lot of the early romances I read. I would read my favorites many times. There was one where the hero was Scott and heroine was Lindsay and they were in Scotland. Scott had once dated Lindsay’s older sister but only to keep her away from the man his sister was in love with. I loved that book but I accidentally left it at summer camp.

  16. 16
    Deb says:

    I’m with Francesca—I was reading Jean Plaidy (aka Victoria Holt) and Margaret Campbell Barnes (look, the Tudors sit around the table and drink hot milk and have domestic discussions, just like us!), among others, for many years.  Mixed in with all the historical fiction (including my favorite, Anya Seton’s “Katherine”), were books by Georgette Heyer (who wrote historical fiction in addition to Regencies and mysteries) and other books in the historical/gothic genres.  I remember when “Sweet Savage Love” was published—a watershed moment for romance novels—but I don’t remember reading it.  The first book I can remember reading that was billed as a romance was Edith Layton’s “The Abandoned Bride.”

    I have a feeling this thread is going to be all about our “first times” and not much about finding the book with the stuttering heroine.

  17. 17
    Gwynnyd says:

    I spent my young years reading SF and mysteries. My mother was very fond of Agatha Christie and I loved Asimov, Heinlein and Clark.  My first romance was a YA called “Caitrin in Wales,” given to me by an aunt when I was about fourteen.  Several years later, when I was at university and picking a name to use in the SCA, I looked for something unusual. I misremembered Caitrin’s Aunt Gwynnedd as Aunt Gwynnyd and have been Gwynnyd ever since.

    My first adult romance was “The Passions of Medora Graeme” by Elsie Lee, who is still one of my comfort-read authors.  My sweet husband tracked down a used copy of this for me a few years ago as I had borrowed and given back the one I had read.

    After that, my group of friends went through an orgy of Cartland, which almost turned me off the genre entirely.  I think we all read every one of her books in about six weeks one summer. Can we all say “formulaic”?  Cartland is very predictable.  It got so we could tell the basic plot by the color of the girl’s eyes and her face shape.

    Then Margaret bought one of the first Woodiwiss books to share … and there was no going back for me to reading just SF and mysteries.

  18. 18
    Throwmearope says:

    The only heroine with a stutter that I can recall is Horatia from The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer.  Sorry.

  19. 19

    My first romance was also stolen from my mom. “The Thrill of Victory” by Sandra Brown. And damn if I don’t still have a soft spot for all of her ‘80s reissues.

  20. 20
    KatherineB says:

    The only one I can remember with a stuttering Heroine is The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer…but I don’t recall that the Earl of Rule was a neighbour?

    Hmm. Have to re-check now…

  21. 21
    Concerned says:

    The HaBO posts have always been some of my very favorites to read.
    But I’m really concerned with how her request for assistance is being brushed off and once again we are left with yet another of a bazillion trillion million posts and comments about first romances and how old you were.

    It just seems rude.
    If you asked someone for help and they brushed you off in one sentence and then went on and on for paragraphs about themselves instead how would you feel?

  22. 22
    Castiron says:

    Also no clue on the original question, alas.

    There were a handful of romances I read in middle school that I remember nothing of other than that one sex scene took place in an indoor swimming pool, but the first romance I really remember was from Silhouette’s YA line, Sometime My Love by Oneta Ryan.  Romance + marching band = Win!

  23. 23

    No idea on the request, sorry!

    My first romance was probably something by Beverly Cleary – I read tons of YA “love” stories but can’t actually recall any of the titles now. First proper romances were The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove when I was about 12, both of which my mother had. Then there was a long dry spell because she stopped reading romance and shifted to Stephen King :)

  24. 24

    The first romance that I distinctly remember was Until You by Judith McNaught. I was either ten or eleven years old, and I didn’t realise it was a romance until about halfway through when things between Stephen Westmorland and Sheridan Bromleigh suddenly got very steamy in a carriage. By that point, I just couldn’t put it down. ;)

    Since then, I’ve come to prefer other McNaught books (particularly Almost Heaven and Once and Always), but this one will always have a special place since it was my first. And far better than the second one I read, whose author I don’t remember, but involved Crusaders and Very Improbable Harems.

  25. 25
    Shelley says:

    No idea on the HaBo, sorry. :/

    But I do remember my first romance novel – I was 11 or 12 years old, saw a Christmas Harlequin(?) anthology in Jewel on a spinny rack, thought the cover was so gorgeous and green and the historical stories sounded so good and wanted it instantly. My parents said no, but come Christmas morning, there it was in my stocking. I was so excited, started reading it and realized they must not have vetted it or missed the key sex scenes. Had to hide it under my bed lest they try after the fact! One story was a total rip off of Sommersby and I loved it. Occasionally I try to find it on eBay or Amazon to see if it was really as smutty as I remember or if my memory is still colored by my preteen sensibilities. It had to be from a Christmas between 92 and 94.

  26. 26
    appomattoxco says:

    Can you recall what the cover was looked like? Did it have the wave thing-y, just a colored background or the flowery frame stuff?

  27. 27

    Your theory bears out with me!  My first romance was a Silhouette Desire by Elizabeth Lowell called Warrior…about a hot hot alpha named Nevada and the soft, lovely cat tracker who taught him to love. I still have it.  Scotch taped together with love after sharing it with all my junior high school friends.

  28. 28
    Kristin says:

    Any idea on the date range? I was going to abuse my library skillz to figure this out.

  29. 29
    Kim says:

    I discovered my first romance as a miltary spouse, age 38, at an Army Thrift Shop in the Netherlands.  As we cleaned out the store, we shipped most stuff to Afghanistan, leaving behind a pile of English language books.  After shelving them in alphabetical order, I was intrigue the tartan cover on Cathy Maxwell’s “The Marriage Contract.”  It was the “perfect storm” to hook me into a historical romance – I lived across from the Limbricht Castle, drank tea with the international ladies, and revelled in the multinational culture around me.  Before moving back to the US, my family drove to Scotland and relived every word of the descriptive setting, Highlander struggle, and charming romance in the book.  Now I’m sharing my love of romance in Hawaii, which has a royal palace, romantic folklore, and history everywhere.

    Honolulu, HI

  30. 30
    Liz says:

    I too have no idea what the HaBo is, but it does sound interesting.  I hope someone knows what it is.

    Technically, my first romance was Wuthering Heights when I was in the 6th grade, but i couldn’t get into it, and ended up getting a C on my assignment.  The first romance that I finished was Secret Admirer by Amanda Stevens—it was one of the Gallagher Justice books.  One of my elderly neighbors gave it (and a bunch of others) to me.  From then on I was hooked on romance.

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