My hubby and I started to clean out the garage last weekend (it’s pretty bad… it’ll take a few weekends or more to finish!) and I came across an old journal of mine.
It was from 1996… I was 15 years old that year. It was the ONLY journal in my life that I actually FINISHED and filled out every page.
I was flipping through the pages and reading here or there and oh my gosh. Even at 15–having never had a boyfriend and barely even had crushes on boys at the time–I was already a romantic.
I talked about the romance novels I was reading, and went on and on about wanting to be married. In one place I even said, “Lord, I KNOW I should really want to go to heaven and that should be my aim, but is it too much to ask that I get married first?? And maybe have the experience of having a baby? You can take me after that…that’s all I ask.”
Now that I’m married and have 4 kids…I feel like I need to revise that and pretty please ask to be able to see my grandkids someday!!
I look back and smile at the naive 15-year-old who lived vicariously through Christian romance novels, but I also know that it had a REALLY positive effect on me. Not only did I want romance and love–but I also desired a man who loved Jesus. I was well aware that they were fiction and that real life isn’t always as glamorous, but I loved the relationships and model I saw of two people who love Jesus overcoming the odds and conflicts in their life and uniting in marriage and love, with Jesus being their center.
At the time, I read a lot of Lori Wick and Janette Oke and Hilda Stahl. A few years later I’d add Francine Rivers and Gilbert Morris and all the “series” romance that they had out at the time. (Does anyone remember I think they called them the Portrait series… where they had frames with cutouts on the front? I think they were put out by Bethany House. Now the names of authors I love to read are too many to even begin to list!
So I thought it’d be fun to take a trip down memory lane today.
What are some Christian romance authors from back-in-the-day that you loved (or still love) to read? Anyone remember the first book or author you read in Christian romance?
Paula Marie says
What a sweet story and memory to have! I have journals all my life, but somehow lose track of them after I finish them!
Hi Krista! I have never been one for keeping a journal. Especially not when I was younger. Most of my memories were stored in photo albums or scrapbooks. The one Christian novel that sticks in my mind after 50 years is Catherine Marshall’s Christy, which I reread every summer. I identified with Christy, since I wanted to be a teacher since I was six. During high school, I also read many of Grace Livingston Hill’s stories. Best wishes.
Christy by Catherine Marshall!! It’s the first Christian novel I can remember reading and while it probably wouldn’t be considered an actual romance, it definitely has a great romance in it. Julie, also by Catherine Marshall is also great!
Lucy M Reynolds says
I used to read Grace Livingston Hill.
Yes, she’s one of my favorites. :-)
Memory lane for me had romance books but not Christian Romance. My friends and I were read a lot of Sweet Valley High. Fun years for us?
I didn’t really read Christian fiction until Esther by Angela Hunt (only a few years ago). I stumbled upon the book at our local library and since I was co-leading a women’s Bible study on Esther, I decided to read the book. Since then I’ve been hooked!
Janette Oke was the first Christian fiction I read. When I was on bed rest for my third child, the librarian introduced me to Grace Livingston Hill. Then I found Inspyromance blog and discovered a whole bunch of wonderful authors!
Kimberly Rose Johnson says
I think the first Christian romance I ever read was by Janette Oke. Then I discovered Grace Livingston Hill and a mail order series much like Heartsong Presents, it had with various writers too so I don’t recall who they were. I read a lot of Lori Wick in my early 20’s and then discovered Dee Henderson and romantic suspense.
Grace Livingston Hill is still one of my favorites. Beauty for Ashes was the first story I read by her. After reading that story, all I wanted to read was Christian romance. :-)
Beth Gillihan says
The first Christian novel I read was Lori Wick. I don’t remember the name of it, but the first book had Christine in it and she fell for one of the twin brothers. One brother was married and a doctor and the other was a rancher or farmer. Anyway that got me hooked and I have been reading Christian fiction ever since.
Janet Estridge says
The first book I read was Pilgrim’s Progress by Paul Bunyan. I checked it out from the church library.
Back then, the options for books were not much to choose from. The books were drab and nothing compared to what they are today.
Margaret Nelson says
I read a lot of Grace Livingstone Hill too, until people like Janette Oke and Lori Wick came along :-)
Linda Rainey says
I always loved journal writing but have got out of the habit.
Shannon Taylor Vannatter says
Great post, Krista. I wish I’d read Christian Romance as a teen. But they didn’t come into existence until I was in my twenties and then I didn’t discover them until I was in my thirties. I haven’t read a secular book since. It’s so wonderful to read Christian Fiction and not worry about what trashy scene is coming next. The first ones I read were by Lenora Worth and Deb Kastner. And I still love their books.
Paula. Shreckhise says
I read Christy, leant to me by my Aunt. I was 20 years old., in 1969. Then I read Eugenia Price and Grace Livingston Hill. Then Jeannette Oke, George MacDonald and Brock and Bode Thoene. Then it just mushroomed. Glad my Libraries had lots of Christian Fiction.
Lori Smanski says
what a wonderful post going down memory lane. i dont remember the first christian novel i read it was so long ago and borrowed. it started me on the journey i am now.