Classic Romance Covers

Watching: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief
Listening to: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Reading: Charlaine Harris’ True Blood series (Eric… yum!!)

So during these school holidays, I’ve been blowing off the dust from my book shelves and checking out my old historical romance covers of yesteryear.  I remember how awesome I thought these were when I bought them (mumble mumble) years ago.  But now, of course, most are extremely dated.  So I thought I’d share a few memorable ones.

1981 cover

Bitter Passion, Sweet Love by Patricia Ott – I would say this was my first erotic romance read.  Classic English beauty gets kidnapped by wild sheikh.  There’s group sex, multiple partners and some forced seduction scenes (one aided by drugs that was so graphic, I regularly read it aloud to my enthralled/horrified girlfriends when I was 12!).  Wow!  All for the bargain price of 79c.  Sadly, I can’t find any mention of the author any where on the web.

ahhh, the memories of 1983!

While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee – check out that lurid red!  That billowing hair!  That back-breaking embrace!  I adored this cover at the time (hmmm… I guess I had limited taste at 14).  And the story, as I remember it, was just as fab – kidnapping, forced seduction, arrogant hero.  The heroine was feisty, too, but the issue that continues to grate on me was that the hero never believed she was a virgin until the very end, when he overhears her talking to a maid about it.  Until then he thought she was a bit of a slut.  Hmmm… I should probably re-read it again and see if my memory is reliable.

original 1980 cover

Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee – loved, loved, loved this book!  One of my first historicals I ever read – around the age of 11, I think.  Shirlee Busbee (along with Johanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodiwiss) was one of the first greats of historical romance for me.   Heroine (Nicole) had the same name as my best friend at the time 🙂  She runs away from bad relatives, dresses up as a boy (the heroine, not my friend!) and stows away on a ship as a cabin boy.  There’s an arrogant alpha male, a bit of intrigue/mystery about spying, soft violence (he ends up cracking her wrist when she won’t release a weapon), and – I’m pretty sure – a few forced seduction scenes.  I especially loved her return to her rightful place in society.  And I loved the cover art – I ended up reproducing it as an art project in high school.

ahhh, that's better...

original 1978 (!) cover

A Pirate’s Love by Johanna Lindsey – there’s pirates (of course!), an abduction, some forced seduction.  The heroine’s eyes change color when she’s angry.  The hero whips her for disobeying him, which is pretty un-PC these days.  And while the original cover wasn’t exactly bad, this later version is beautiful and elegant.  Interesting to note that from Once A Princess (1991) onwards, Marketing started putting flowers/symbols on Johanna Lindsey’s covers, but still had the clinches on a step back (inside the front cover).  Me, I much prefer the style of the revamped A Pirate’s Love.

can you believe this was done in 1986?

Angel in Scarlet by Jennifer Wilde – it’s high time I read this book again.  Such fun, such a great heroine.  And how gorgeous is that cover?   She’s a street urchin, he’s her rescuer, teaches her how to act, eat, socialise, so a huge Pygmalion theme going on there.  Gainsborough paints her portrait.  Umm… I think she writes a book?  See, told you, I have to read this again!

Do you have a favorite book that has  a less-than-flattering cover?  A revamp that does the story better justice than the original?  Or just a cover that makes you howl with laughter?  Share!