These Five Novels Made Me Fall in Love With Romance by Kate Olson

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These Five Novels Made Me Fall In Love With Romance by Kate Olson


By Kate Olson

Let’s go back, my bookish friends. WAY back. To the mid-1990s when a teenage girl in northern Wisconsin discovered ROMANCE novels. Yes, that girl was me, and yes I had open access to any book I wanted to read ~ from my mom’s stack at home, the public library, and the bookshelves at our family’s summer cabin where relatives stashed the paperbacks they were done with. Open access meant a wide world of romantic education between the pages, and I devoured an insane number of this type of books in that time period.

Today I’m sharing 5 of the books I still remember after all of these years…..books that have differing levels of appeal to me now as an adult, but all were certainly captivating to me back then! I’m not really giving you real descriptions of them because either they are classics and you already know what they are about, or they were amazing in their time but I’m not anticipating that you’ll be racing out to read them NOW. Or maybe you will! If nothing else, if you are over the age of 30 there will be some major nostalgia factor here for you…...

Gone With the Wind  by Margaret Mitchell

My best friend and I dared each other to read this when we were in FIFTH GRADE, and I did it. I don’t have any major desire to read it again, but I remember being enthralled with the sordid romance between Scarlett and Rhett and hating Ashley……. and my friend and I did truly enjoy walking around saying, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” And yes, I did read the so-called “sequel” Scarlett as well.

The Thornbirds  by Colleen McCullogh

I mean, really. The wilds of Australian sheep country, an love affair with a priest, adventure and family and oh my goodness what an epic. I read it for the first time sometime in late middle school or early high school and fell deeply in love. I actually just bought a new copy of this book and intend to read it yet again soon. And no, I haven’t seen the show? Movie? Nope, this story lives between the covers of a book.

Message from Nam by Danielle Steel

Let’s just say that I had to pick ONE title by Danielle Steel to highlight here, but I read them all. All of them. All of her backlist the library and the cabin had and anything new published until about 2005. I had a major love affair with this author that I shall always remember fondly.

Scruples by Judith Krantz

Same as my girl Danielle - I read them all. Or as many as I could get my hands on. Drama and sordid love affairs and pretty much the farthest I could possibly get from my small town high school life!

Forgiving by LaVyrle Spencer

Oh my goodness, I will never forget this cover and finding this book. The book itself is set in a western town with a woman newspaper writer and a lawman and there is romance and the love and the swoon-worthiness. Ahhhhhh. I read a lot of LaVyrle and was fascinated by her name as much as I was by her books.

I think about reading these as a teen and am blown away by what teens read now in comparison……..at times, all of us adults sit around and pat ourselves on the back for the growth in young adult literature, but I’m wondering if perhaps we weren’t at all harmed by reading adult books before we were adults? I know my hope for the future was incredibly high after reading about the exotic (and erotic - ha!) worlds I dreamed were ahead of me…...what better way to escape the horrors of high school than in the dreamy romantic pages of books? There really wasn’t one, I can attest to that. So thank you, Margaret and Colleen and Danielle and Judith and my friend LaVyrle ~ you taught me the world was bigger than my teeny tiny country town and that strong women can find love.

About the Author


Kate Olson is a reader, blogger, librarian, wife and mother in Wisconsin. When not reading, she is buying books, taking pictures of books for Instagram, sorting and shelving books or writing about books (here). While she attempts to read a wide variety of genres on a regular basis, her first loves will always be romance and women’s fiction.

Find her here: 


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