Every month on the Australian Romance Readers Association email loop, members share what they’ve read over the previous month. I love this. There’s something really fun about seeing what others are reading, in the same way perusing another person’s bookshelves provides nosy joy. All those attention-grabbing covers and new authors. Stories to passionately dissect and discuss. The delight in finding common interest.

Just this morning, a member mentioned she’d been loaned two of Jilly Cooper’s early novels, Riders and Rivals. The idea that she was enjoying these books for the first time gave me a twinge of envy. Imagine experiencing that wonderful feeling of discovery again. The thrill of meeting unforgettable characters like Rupert Campbell-Black and Billy Lloyd-Foxe and delighting in all their mischief, then finding that there are more wonderful reads to come, thanks to Cooper’s extensive backlist.

Discovering a new author is such a rush. Last week, book blogger Bree, from 1 Girl, 2 Many Books, convinced me to try a Susanna Kearsley and I’m so grateful she did. I was hooked from about half way down the first page of The Shadowy Horses. Now I’m feeling smug because I know there are a whole lot more Kearsleys I’ll be able to relish in over coming months. I’ve heard romance readers talk about Georgette Heyer in the same way – how they can still remember their first taste of her genius the same way as they can their first kiss. I suspect there are a lot of readers who experienced a similar rush with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, or upon reading any number of the classics or works of our literary and commercial fiction giants. Though it was a very long time ago, I can still recall the absolute squirmy breathless excitement that Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion provided. Amazing how the feeling lingers, even after so many years. But that’s the power of stories.

Which author has left you with that special buzz? The author that makes you wish you could read them for the first time again? I would love to re-experience Paullina Simon’s Tully. That book, with its difficult-to-like-heroine, still astonishes me whenever I return to it. Still, it’d be hard to go past Jilly Cooper’s Riders and Rupert’s delicious upper-class naughtiness. But then I always was a sucker for anything with horses!

Mysty and me 1.0

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