Heyer and me
Georgette Heyer was the first modern romance writer I read, and there's a lot to be said for starting at the top.
I really can't remember what the first book was, but once I'd started, I read as many as I could get my hands on. When I got to "Frederica," I thought I was in heaven. So funny and Alverstoke is one of the best heroes I've ever read.
Even today, umpteen books later, the suave, aristocratic but oh-so-human Marquis of Alverstoke has my heart. Heyer had a marvellous gift for the right words and the appropriate ones and her turn of phrase was concise and witty.
We rarely see that kind of wit these days, and to be truthful, we didn't then, either. When I started reading Heyer, she was a "trashy writer," something that was a direct result of the snobbishness of the literary establishment. It's only just started to relax. If you're popular, you can't possibly write anything of literary merit!
But I believe that Heyer did. True, she doesn't aspire to the truths you find in Jane Austen, the deep knowledge of human society and the way it behaves, but she wrote in a different age, with different aims. And her kind of light, witty banter was just what I needed.
And still do.