Dec 18 2012 8:12am

What Would You Buy as a Gateway Book to Romance?

Many of us have talked about our gateway book—the first book that introduced us to the romance genre.

If you were buying a romance novel for someone who had never read romance before and who was the same age you were when you first started reading romance, what would you buy?

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Shiloh Walker
1. shiloh_walker
Depends on what they like to read... thrillers/suspense? J.D. Robb, without a doubt.

If they are on the 50 kick, I'd buy them Sylvia Day's books or Lauren Dane... or mine. ;)

If they like fantasy/UF, maybe the Edge books by Ilona Andrews or Silver Shark... definitely not typical romance, but the vibe is there. Or Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters or Lynn Viehl's Darkyn books.

Shelley Hughes-Mills
2. Shelley Hughes-Mills
Like any good reader's advisor, my answer would depend on the reader.

I converted my husband with Loretta Chase's MR. IMPOSSIBLE. He loves rom-coms, smart heroines, and witty diaglogue, and the adventure storyline was right up his alley. But he was already right on the cusp of being a romance reader, since he loves Lois McMaster Bujold (another gateway author).

My friend the Literary Goddess was converted by a combination of Cara McKenna's CURIO and Anne Calhoun's LIBERATING LACEY. She loves lyrical writing, books that explore gender and power dynamics, and characters who are a little bit broken.

Sherry Thomas's DELICIOUS is one I frequently recommend to readers who like historical fiction, fairy tale re-tellings, and non-virginal heroines.

I wish I could say that there was one book that would turn anyone into a romance fan; I do think the ones I mentioned all upend people's expectations of the genre. But as we learn in library school, good reader's advisory is much more about meeting a reader in his/her own space than about finding "good" books and making people read them.
Shelley Hughes-Mills
3. Cara McKenna
Speaking generally, I'd probably rec Suzanne Brockmann or a Kresley Cole historical or Kristan Higgins, depending on what flavor of non-romances they enjoy. Or Gabaldon.
Lege Artis
4. LegeArtis
It depends.
For HR I would go for Lisa Kleypas. She is generaly liked...
For contemporaries Susan Elizabeth Philips or Jennifer Cruise.
PNR- I myself am not so crazy about this genre, but I love Nalini Singh something fierce... Larissa Ione is also great...
Shelley Hughes-Mills
5. LadyWesley
The Madeness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley.
7. ChelseaMueller
As most of my friends are coming into romance by way of fantasy, I tend to direct them toward Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. It's shelved in the romance section, but they're urban fantasy novels with extreme sexual tension. Every time I've suggested it, I'm able to recommend a straight-forward romance novel next. That title depends on the person.
Jena Briars
8. CutMyTeethOnKleypas
@LegeArtis - agreed!

For contemporaries, I would also say Jennifer Crusie, but I'm also on a big HelenKay Dimon kick...
Jamie Beck
9. JamieBeck
Huh, I thought I commented earlier, but it doesn't look like it went through. I'd say Lisa Kleypas' Travis brother series (Sugar Daddy, Blue Eyed Devil and Worth Any Price) is a great start. She writes exceptionally well, her characters are layered and interesting, and she builds the love story so you don't have the empty "this was lust/sex disguised as love" feeling at the end of the book.
Debbie McKelvey
10. ddmac58
Anything Mary Hughes or Diana Duncan would be my choices for romances. I also love Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series, gotta love a guy in a kilt!
Patricia Wilkerson
11. Proofreaderpat
I would suggest Sandra Brown's earlier romances like Adam's Fall,The Rana Look,or Above &Beyond.
Shelley Hughes-Mills
12. BookGeek
The first book I would recommend would HAVE to be "Welcome to Tempatation" by Jennifer Crusie. I still read this book a couple times a year and its been years since I first read it!

Rachel Gibsons's earlier reads are also a must as well.
Shelley Hughes-Mills
13. SassyT
I second (or third?) Jennifer Crusie for contemporary. Also, Rachel Gibson is always good. You can never go wrong with her books. Plus there's hockey. What's not to love.

For paranormal, I'd go with Kresley Cole or Sherrilyn Kenyon. Kenyon was my first foray into paranormal and now I'm addicted. Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series is always funny and sexy.

My very first romance EVER was Jude Deveraux's My Knight in Shining Armor back in the 9th grade. I recommend this book to anyone who's never read any romance but wants to get started. It's a historical/time travel book. Great story. And I was a romance novel skeptic before reading this. I became a true convert after this book.
Shelley Hughes-Mills
14. Dana Stabenow
Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. A grinch would love that book.
Leah Weller
15. leahluvsmedieval
The Wolf and the Dove by Woodiwiss. It is the one that got me hooked 20 years ago.
Christina Hunt
16. Christina Hunt
My true Gateway books were Nora Roberts! She is truly the best weather it is contemporary or paranormal you can always jump right into her books. I have recomemded her books several times to many different age groups :-)
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