I look back on those books with a great amount of fondness and happy memories. I don’t even know half the authors I read, but I do remember Julie Garwood, Lynn Kurland, Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey, Diana Gabaldon, and Julia Quinn to name a few. A few years ago I tried to re-read one of my favorites from Judith McNaught and it didn’t hold up well for me, even though I had re-read it many times before. I tried a couple more times with the same result so I just stopped trying.
I don’t read many books that would be considered straight romance any more. I like them in small doses and have new authors that I prefer. But if you look my preferences and look at the books I consider my favorites, almost every single one of them has a romance or a romantic sub-plot or relationship arc. It holds true even with the books that were favorites growing up. In fact, I really believe that just a small bit of romance makes almost any book better. I’ve learned that I make my own happiness whatever my circumstances, but what is it about happily ever after that we crave so strongly? I’m definitely not alone in feeling that way.