Monday, August 20, 2007

The One That Started It All (for me)

I have to confess, I came to the romance world relatively late in life. As a teen, with the exception of the occasional V.C. Andrews or Judy Bloom novel, I was more interested in boys than books. In my college years, if it wasn’t required for class credit, I didn’t read it. Then one day, at the ripe old age of 28, I found one of my roommate’s romance novels sitting on the coffee table in front of me. As I recall, it was one of those Indian brave/white captive stories. What’s a girl who’s in love, newly engaged and bored to do? I read it of course! My interest piqued, off to the bookstore I went to see what else was out there.

There was no rhyme or reason to what I bought after that, although I tended to stick to historicals, fanning out from Indians to Highland warriors to pirates to knights in shining armor. Once I discovered the used book store, I began buying them in bulk, reading 3 to 4 books a week. Yes, I admit it--I’d become a romance novel junkie, always in need of that next HEA fix.

But something was missing in my mountain of books. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then, in the bottom of one of those grocery bags of to-be-read novels was an anthology I didn’t even remember buying. There, tucked between Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, and Arnette Lamb was a story by an unknown (to me) author. It was the quirky, funny tale of an earthbound angel and the lonely, cynical man who falls in love with her on a magical Christmas Eve. It totally captivated me. As I finished that story, I remember thinking, “Now THIS is what a romance should be!”

You see, in my skewed view of the world love is hardly ever smooth and painless. We all stub our toes along the way, suffering bruises, bumps and often humiliating public embarrassment as we struggle toward that elusive thing called love. Even the most confident he-man alpha hero will act like a total idiot when he’s in love with a woman who gives him fits. Then throw in a paranormal element like a bumbling angel on Heavenly suspension and you’re just asking for trouble--in a laugh-out-loud-in-public, snort-soda-up-your-nose hilarious way.

That novella was “Daniel and the Angel” in the Holiday of Love anthology. The author was Jill Barnett and on that day she introduced me to the world of humorous paranormals like no other author ever had . . . and I haven’t looked back since!


  1. I was the same way. I'd walk around school with a romance novel amongst my books. If I was near the end of one book, I brought along two so I was sure to not run out of books to read.

    I love books about angels. I'm going to have to find Daniel and the Angel and give it a read.


  2. I haven't read a fun, fluffy paranormal in what feels like forever! All the ones I keep buying are urban fantasy edgy stuff. I'll have to check this one out.

    Jody W.

  3. HOLIDAY OF LOVE is an old one (1994) so you might have to scour the UBS for it. You should also try BEWITCHING (with a witch, of course) and IMAGINE (H&H shipwrecked with a genie). They're her full length paranormals and have a permanent spot on my keeper shelf. Her straight historical romances (before she started writing historical fiction) are hilarious too. I've read them all. She has an amazing, funny voice.

  4. I've never read HOlIDAY OF LOVE, but you've peaked my interest. I'm going to look for it next time I'm at Half Price Books.

  5. Oh, I loved that story! I'd forgotten all about it until just now!

    Jill Barnett is fabulous. I think Wild, Wicked, and Wonderful are my favorites, and they do have a touch of magic in them. She has a deft touch with her characters. You can't help but love them. I attended a Q&A with her at National in Reno, and she seemed so nice! I like to like the people I read, you know?:-)

    Hooray for the HEA junkies! It's an addiction I have no problem feeding. Great post...and thanks for reminding me about that story!

  6. Angels are wonderful characters because they spark so much positive imagination!-debralee