Ep 196: Retro Romance Reads: Nostalgic Gems from the 80s and 90s

On this episode of Buzzing about Romance, Heather, Leah, and Lindsey join Becky to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane as they dive into Retro Romance Reads that shaped their Romance Reader Journey. The world of middle-grade and young adult romance novels from the late 1980s and 1990s.  They share personal experiences, discussing popular titles of the era, and exploring how these books influenced our perceptions of love and relationships.

Discussion points   

  • What makes a book a “gateway” into the romance genre. Is it the first book with romantic elements that you remember reading, or is it the book that sparked your interest in romance novels specifically? 
  • Do you have a favorite book from this time period?  
  • Popular Titles of the Late 1980s and 1990s and the Nostalgia Factor   
  • Cultural and Societal Influences: Consider the cultural and societal context in which these books were published. How did societal attitudes toward romance and relationships during the late 1980s and 1990s influence the themes and portrayals in these books? 
  • Impact on the Genre: Reflect on how these gateway books might have influenced the broader romance genre. Did they pave the way for future generations of romance writers and readers? Have any elements or themes from these books persisted in contemporary romance literature? 
  • What was your first “adult romance” how did you find it..  where did it lead you  

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Book of the Week

Thank you to Swag Pack Sponsoring Authors
Special thanks to Marie Johnston and Siobhan Davis for their support.

This Week’s Quote
“Some Might Say the author of his story could have cut out the last fifteen percent, and everyone would have been pleased with the outcome.”

Books Mentioned this Episode

  • Middle Grade: 
  • “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery (1908): 
  • “The Baby-Sitters Club” series by Ann M. Martin (1986-2000): While primarily focused on friendship and entrepreneurship, this beloved series often explored themes of crushes and first loves, particularly as the characters grew older in later installments. 
  • “Sweet Valley Twins” series by Francine Pascal (1986-1998): This spin-off of the popular “Sweet Valley High” series follows the adventures of identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield as they navigate middle school life, including crushes and friendships. 
  • Young Adult: 
  • “The Princess Diaries” series by Meg Cabot (2000-2015):  
  • “Forever…” by Judy Blume (1975): Another classic that transcends generations, this novel explores the relationship between two teenagers, Katherine and Michael, as they navigate the complexities of first love and sexual awakening. 
  • “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” series by Ann Brashares (2001-2011): Beginning in the early 2000s, this series follows four best friends—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—whose lives are changed when they discover a pair of magical pants that fits each of them perfectly. The series explores themes of friendship, love, and self-discovery. 

Cozy Mysteries-  

  • Janet Evanovich  
  • Joanna Fluke  
  • Donna Andrews  
  • Mary Kay Andrews  
  • Ellen Byerrum 
  • Nancy Martin  
  •  Debbie MaComber
  • Kristen Hannah
  • Susan Mallory

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Music by Cambo
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