the [email protected]: What was the first romance novel you read?

While the first romance that ever really registered with me is Sweet, Savage Love (and I attribute that to it being the first book in which the sex was varied and, for the time, explicit), the first romance novel I read was–and I have no idea which–one of Barbara Cartland’s 723 books.

I read hundreds of Cartland’s books and they all blend together now in my head. There’s always a lovely young virginal woman, an older slightly rakish and devastatingly handsome hero, a villain who wants bad things to happen, a scene in a carriage, and at least one kiss that renders our heroine into a proverbial butter pat. […]