I have a confession to make--I am a former romance snob.
I read my first romance book in high school. It was a 'kidnapped on a pirate ship' story filled with purple prose and a lot of bodice ripping. The hero was (in my opinion) a jerk, and the heroine was (again, in my opinion) not overly intelligent and in severe need of a backbone. I hated the book so much that I REFUSED to read another romance for years, because I assumed they were all the same. Now I’ll admit that assumption was not very smart of me, but hey I was young and stupid at the time.
It was a good 10 years before I read another romance.
My sister gave me a copy of Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts, and she said, "Read it, I promise you'll like it". To which my response was, "Yeah, right." It sat on my end table for months before I eventually picked it up (purely out of boredom). Once I started reading, I couldn't stop.
I tell everyone that "Nora made me a romance reader" and I’m so glad she did.