Jul 17 2014 7:04am

Throwback Thursday: Your First Harlequin Romance?

Blue Jasmine by Violet WinspearIt's rare, if not impossible, to find a romance reader who hasn't read at least one romance published by Harlequin. Many of our first romance reads were Harlequins, stolen from our mothers' (and grandmothers') stashes. 

Harlequin began publishing medical romances in 1953, books with titles such as Nurse in Love, Helping Doctor Medway, and Make Up Your Mind Nurse.

Do you remember the first Harlequin romance you ever read? What details do you recall? 

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1. Sugardragon
That picture is the exact one, Blue Jasmine. I picked it up for a nickle off the library sale table not even knowing what it was really. I just wanted to read something and it looked more exotic than the rest.
2. TraceyLynn
The only details I recall of my first Harlequin read that it was a Harlequin Presents and it was about girl was got lost in a snow storm and ended up at this house with a guy who was having a meeting and she walked right into the house, sat on the guys lap and kissed him. She was totally delirious from being sick. I can't find this title now lol
3. JacquiC
I remember ordering my first four Harlequin romances. There was some kind of free offer on the back of a cereal box or something -- order the first four for free, then subscribe, or something like that. My mother, an academic and an unashamed snob, was appalled. But I sent it in anyway, and before too long, my four books showed up. I can't even remember them very well, except there was definitely no sex at all in them, except a passionate kiss at the end when all the big misunderstandings were resolved. I seem to remember that one of the authors was Ann Mather. Another book was set in Italy, the heroine was a blonde with curly hair (I think?) and the hero was an Italian conte who spent most of the time being inscrutable. No idea who the author was.

That free offer set me on a lifelong path of reading romance -- though I stopped for a quite a while in my twenties and thirties, only coming back to it in recent years.
4. Kareni
I can't remember the first Harlequin that I read, but it's safe to say that I read a lot of them. I do recall though that the price was 75 cents (as compared to the 50 cents) on the cover featured here.
5. keen23
My first Harlequin was from the 1980's, so yeah, there was sex.

A ballerina broke her leg or ankle and needed to have pins put into it, and no one told her that she'd never be able to dance professionally again. Instead, her parents sent her to work with a logging company in the rainforest to "recover." She was to act as the assistant to her Dad's friend, who I think was a Vietnam War vet. There's something about her making peanut butter cookies. There are satin sheets. She's half his age. In a jungle estate. So very 1980's.
6. lauralee1912
From ages 10 to 16, I spent most of my summers at my grandparents' farm. My cousins and I would stay for weeks and help with the farm. (I am a whiz at canning, thanks to Grandma.) Our parents and other grandparents would visit some weekends. My cousin's "other" grandmother would bring bags of Harlequin romances out for my Grandma, aunts, and older cousins. I think she had subscriptions, because it would be a shopping bag full!

My younger girl cousins and I would sneak the books and read them up in our bedroom or out in the hayfields. The books were taken away if Grandma caught us and we would be directed to the Reader's Digest books. I remember favorites being a boss/secretary romance and a movie star/cowboy story where the heroine's hair was not the same color as it was when she was in the movies. This was in the early 70s, so it was pretty tame stuff.
7. Disco
keen23 wrote: "There's something about her making peanut butter cookies. There are satin sheets. She's half his age. In a jungle estate. So very 1980's."
I am crying with laughter over this time capsule of the 1980's.

I seem to remember a lot of books about taciturn cowboys/virgins/misunderstandings/unplanned pregnancies (all in the same book.). Ooh, ooh, there were also many of stories about mercenaries in Central American jungles and/or former mercenaries that now work as security consultants for large conglomerates.
8. shyhyatt
Mary Burchell's Warrander Saga was republished as special collector's series in 1978 when I was 14. I had to have read Harlequin's before this. I had read Woodwiss and Rogers but this series of books are the first I remember. The first one a New Song is about an operatic conductor who falls in love with his student who is much younger than him. The rest of the series follows the same h/h pattern. I still have 1 or 2 of the books on my shelves and for some inexplicable reason my sister has 1 or 2 of the series on her bookcase.
TA Reynolds
9. ganny2girls
The Moonshiner. I dont remember the author but I was hooked. The lady was high society and he was a rancher. She did not know how to cook and had to prepare a meal. She threw steaks and veggies in a pan and all were suprised that it was good.
10. Shark with Lasers
The first one ever? Hard to recall exactly but it might have been a Harlequin Love and Laughter imprint. Either that or a Duets, or possibly a Harlequin Intrigue. I did go through a phase where I tore through a lot of categories but they were mostly Silhouettes, Zebras and Avons.
11. goddessani
The first one I read was in the early 70s but I think it may not have been new. Her name was Eleanor, his was Kenneth and she worked for his uncle. I think they were on a cruise ship for awhile and he was so arrogant.

I fell in love with Essie Summers (her descriptions of New Zealand) and Betty Neels (all her Dutch doctors). I still have my original copy of MacKenzie's Mountain on my bookshelf.
12. ntaskimmie2
I can't remember the first one I read either. I had a real hard time learning to read but once I had it figured out I read anything I could lay my hands on. My mother would take us to the public library to check out books, but they only lasted me a couple of days. She would leave her harlequins laying out and while she was doing laundry or cooking or whatever I would sneak and read a few pages. Once she figured that out she hid them in a box under her bed which was awesome, I would reach in a sneak one from 4 or 5 down in the stack and take off to hide and read. My favorite was one about a girl named Dallas who fell in love with a cowboy on her ranch. I wish I could find that book again. Lot's of great memories!
13. VegasChic
I don't remember the title, but it was by Violet Winspear. It was about a redheaded former model going off to be the nanny for some sheik. The model was injured, the sheik had blue eyes, (can you hum the theme to Lawrence of Arabia!!) & she had to ride a horse. It was wonderful. I have never looked back!!
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