I first read Johanna when I was 13 years old. I still remember I was majorly into Enid Blyton and just venturing into hardcore stuff like Tolkien. The ’86 cover of When Love Awaits appealed to me, and I thought it would be really cool to sketch it out. I did pick it up from the library, way back in 1988 and took it home with me.
In a while, I was to flip through the pages and to my naive mind, a certain situation that I glanced at didn’t quite make sense, until I realised I was reading a love-making scene! That certainly got me hooked. (Pre-internet days and all that, y’know.) But after I went through that part, I kept on reading. Then started reading from the very beginning. And THEN I was truly hooked.
The lady wrote with such flair that romance actually came alive, and trust me, she spoilt me for the real world. She took me into worlds that I had not even heard about…and the journeys were fantastic! History became something that was so damned interesting, and I learnt so much. I know it seems weird to some that a child could pick up something other than ‘hair-brained notions’ (as one of my relatives termed the reading of such books); but if they only knew how much I learnt. Vikings, King Alfred, the ruthlessness of the West, the tenderness of human emotion, Regency England, the hierarchies within the nobility, the tenderness of love, the cruelty of fate, and bloody hell, so much more!
If you ever come across this page, Johanna, do know that the love I bear for the Rowlings and the Grishams and the Rushdies and the Masters of Literature now was actually possible because you took a sad child and taught him how to read and venture into the beautiful worlds of your Imagination that made him get in touch with his own!
Thank you so much.