On and Off the Page

A picture of Olivia Dade as a relatively young child, maybe 7 or 8, in a ruffled white shirt and mauve vest and skirt. She is smiling, with very chubby cheeks.
Me, around the time I began reading romances

One of the great joys of romance novels is their fundamental optimism. They reassure us that obstacles—everything from lingering childhood hurts to zombie apocalypses—can be overcome. That love can find us even under the most unlikely, humdrum, or harrowing circumstances. That happy endings are still possible, even in a very imperfect world filled with very imperfect people.

I’ve read romances since the age of seven or so, shortly after my mother pointed out the stack of dog-eared books in her closet and declared them off-limits. The next time I found myself unsupervised in the vicinity of her bedroom, of course, there was no stopping me. I basically dove headfirst into that pile of paperbacks.

I emerged transformed.

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