I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
“For several impressionable years, this was my favorite novel. Its heroine, the daughter of a half-mad penniless writer (I empathized), falls in love with a rich, funny neighbor (I approved). The book taught me that romance novels can be just as pleasurable when their heroines are neither golden-haired nor virtuous but confused, cerebral, and wry—a lesson I later brought to my own stories.”
Recommended by Eloisa James, the author of more than 25 romance novels, the most recent of which is Once Upon a Tower ($8, amazon.com).
To buy: $15, amazon.com.