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You want your first time to be special. Memorable. Or at the very least, not bad. With millions of romance novels available (and let’s face it: with nearly identical covers and titles) it can be impossible to know where to begin. The trick? Understand why you haven’t quite surrendered to the pleasure of romance yet…then check out our recommendations.

Why you haven’t read a romance: You’re blushing already. Perhaps you are too embarrassed or too innocent to be seen reading a romance novel.  Perhaps you are not quite sure. If that is the case, try The Secret History of The Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig, which may also be described as “historical chic-lit.” The novel includes a contemporary story and paralleling historical romance. It’s screamingly funny. It’s also available in hardcover…and nothing says Respectable Fiction like hardcover.

Why you haven’t read a romance: You’re  really quite literary. You may enjoy a book called Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Yes, it’s a romance novel and yes, you liked it. For something published more recently, try the works of Eloisa James, who is a Shakespeare Scholar by day, which makes her respectable if anyone asks. Her novels are witty,  wonderful and perfectly unconventional. Try Duchess By Night or Pleasure for Pleasure.

Why you haven’t read a romance: You haven’t read a romance novel since junior high. You can always revisit Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (crowd favorite: The Flame And The Flower).

Why you haven’t read a romance: You don’t know where to begin!!! Take as deep a breath as your corset allows and try reading anything by Julia Quinn. You can’t go wrong. Or search for something that sounds interesting (look at the left side of your screen!).

Why you haven’t read a romance: You’ll rip your own bodice, thanks. None of this missish, milksop nonsense. You want a hero who is man enough for one tough Lady. Look no further than the acclaimed, renowned masterpiece that is Lord Of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

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