This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Women's fiction is not a new phenomenon. When chick lit was 'invented' with the birth of both Bridget Jones's Diary and Watermelon, funnily enough, it wasn't the first time a woman had written a romantic book. But it was the start of something. Something that many people thought had had its day, ooh, ten years or so before. And look, it is still here, not dying out, but evolving.
I asked my ace Novelicious colleagues what the first book in this 'new' genre was that they read back in the day. Here's our list (we never looked back). Do you remember your first?
1. Come Together by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees – I adored the Book Deal Moment by Joanna Rees a few weeks ago (read it – it will make you swoon) and was reminded that this book, purchased from Waterstones on Oxford Street, was probably the first in the chick lit genre I ever bought. It is about Jack, 27 years old and loving being single and Amy, six months without sex and desperate for Mr. Right – if only to get her mother off her back. What happens when they meet?
2. Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella – The first chick lit book bought by Kerry. A nervous flyer at the best of times, Emma is onboard when a plane is struck by heavy turbulence. Thinking that her time is up and they're all going to die, she spills her innermost secrets out to the man sitting next to her.
3. What's New Pussycat? by Alexandra Potter – Jennifer remembers buying three books to start her chick lit obsession. In What's New Pussycat (are you singing it yet?) Delilah (why, why, why, Delilah) is proposed to by her boyfriend. Instead of being ecstatic she leaves for London and meets two new men. Sexy Charlie and Nice Sam. (But no Tom.)
4. Kiss Him Goodbye by Victoria Routledge – Kate has happily avoided London all her life. But when her boyfriend invites her to his Chelsea abode, she visits for the first time. Then he moves to America for four months and asks her to wait for him. She agrees. And now has to learn to live in London.
5. Bookends by Jane Green – Centered around Cath, this is a novel about a group of friends who meet at university. Cath is now working in advertising, but dreams of opening a bookshop. So she and her friend, Lucy, open one up together, along with a fabulous cafe.
6. Sally by Freya North – I've written about Sally and Freya North many a time, so really, this book needs no introduction. It is about a girl called Sally who meets a man called Richard. She decides she isn't going to fall in love, but instead she will behave like character from a Jackie Collins novel. Only, what she thinks she wants and what she actually wants isn't always the same.
7. Watermelon by Marian Keyes – Watermelon was the first book bought by Kelly. In it, we meet the Walsh family for the first time – specifically Claire – who has just been dumped by her husband after giving birth to his child.
8. Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes – This was Susan's first. Another of the Walsh sisters, Rachel, is brought back to Ireland from New York and taken to a treatment centre. It is so unfair. She is obviously nowhere near being a drug addict.
9. Palomino by Danielle Steel – Ok, so this doesn't fall into the chick lit genre of recent times. However, I had to include this as Kay was reading it when she was eight! Samantha's husband decides to leave her for someone else. She is heartbroken. She is sent to a ranch and meets a man who could break any horse on the range…
10. The Old-Girl Network by Catherine Alliott – The first chick lit for Debs. Polly is impossibly romantic so when an American recognises her old school scarf and asks her to find his missing fiance from the same school, she agrees.
Can you remember your first chick lit read? Or the first book that turned you on to your favourite genre?