My mother used to ban romances in my house — well, all except Victoria Holt, which I always seemed to manage to smuggle past her. Naturally when I moved out on my own and didn’t have to run my selections through her, and someone recommended I read Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower – a *gasp* romance – I indulged myself. And got sucked in to her world. I quickly went out and bought a copy of Shanna, followed just as quickly by A Rose in Winter (still one of my favourites).
So I was really saddened this morning to read that Kathleen Woodiwiss has passed away.
Five years ago I moved. In our old house, we had several rooms with huge bookcases filled with paperbacks and our new house had none. So I got really tough on myself and purged many of my old favourites. I bid adieu to twelve boxes in all. My Dune trilogy got packed away. All my John Irvings disappeared. My Clavell’s, and my Ludlums. And by some strange thought process, so did my Woodiwiss’s. And as soon as I dropped them off at the charity box, I regretted it. So I began to haunt the used book stores. Score! Not only a copy of A Rose in Winter just like mine, but double score – it was autographed by Ms. Woodiwiss herself! It’s now got a special spot on my ‘keeper’ shelf.
When I finally decided I wanted to write, and not only that but to write romances, it was Kathleen’s romances I thought of first. Followed closely by Jo Beverly, and Mary Balogh, Stephanie Laurens and Julia Quinn, to name just a few. But Kathleen was the trailblazer in my romance path of discovery. I’m not surprised to read many other blogs today saying that others were influenced by her writing as well.
Rest in Peace, Kathleen. You’ve touched many hearts with your writing, and inspired a generation of writers.