Several times in recent years, I’ve been asked what was the first romance novel that I ever read. Of course, it was an historical because I read it in the late 1980’s. And the book in question was called ANGEL IN SCARLET, by Jennifer Wilde. I remembered that it had this great swashbuckling red cover, and that it was unusual in that the heroine had relationships with three different guys over the course of the story. It was about her journey to love, romance and happily ever after.

In reality, “Jennifer Wilde” was a guy named Tom Huff. I used to see his picture in Romantic Times magazine, having a great time at the parties at their conference. He passed away suddenly in 1990.

Today, I was at the library, picking up some books and, as usual, I cruised their used book cart. Some of these are books being retired from the library and some of them are donations that are duplicates of titles in the library’s inventory. To my astonishment, there was a thick paperback with a very red cover on the bottom.

ANGEL IN SCARLET. Mine again for fifty cents.

Three things I had forgotten about this book.

1/ It’s 620 pages long and is composed of three “books” or parts.

2/ It was published in 1986.

3/ It’s written in first person point of view. (!)

Here’s the back cover copy:


She was the toast of London – a breathtaking vision every woman envied and every man longed to posses. Few would have dreamed this violet-eyed beauty was the precocious child of a country schoolmaster…the feisty girl who had spurned the “fairy tale prince” to surrender her innocence to his illegitimate brother…the young woman who had come to London with nothing but a broken heart – and a fierce determination to survive.

Now she was a celebrated actress; immortalized on canvas by Gainsborough; adored by the playwright who made her his star; desired by the golden-haired lord obsessed with making her his lady…and still tormented with longing for the man who had branded her very soul with his passion, and who has now returned to reawaken past splendors of a love he means to reclaim…”

I can’t wait to read it all over again.

What was the first romance novel you ever read? Do you still have a copy of it?

4 thoughts on “ANGEL IN SCARLET

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