I was going to start with a paragraph about how maligned romance novel cover art has been over the years, but I think that’s a post I’ll save for another day. I love romance covers, heaving bosoms and all. Gone are the days when I listened to the naysayers. So here are a few of my favorites. As with last week’s post Book Cover Love 1: Non-romance Edition, I’ll only include books I’ve read and enjoyed.
A romantic comedy with a STEM heroine who receives a series of e-mails “claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince.” Naturally, she assumes they’re a phishing scam until Prince Thabiso shows up at her door. This is a deceptively simple cover, but the colors are vibrant and gorgeous, the models are perfect for their characters, and the rest of the books in the ongoing series are done in a similar style, yet each distinctive both from each other and everything else out there.
On the face of it, there’s nothing here that you won’t find on the cover of most Christmas historical romance novellas: holly, snow, lots of red and green. But this is done so well. It probably helps that I’m a sucker for a pretty dress, and this one is even period appropriate. Mimi Matthews is a great author for those of you averse to sex scenes in your books. Her writing reminds me of Georgette Heyer except with greater historical accuracy and a mid-Victorian setting.
I love stepback covers. The image on the left is the one you see first, then you open the front cover and there’s the second image waiting for you. This is my favorite stepback of all time. I love the yellows and greens, but it’s the female model on the second image that pushes this over the top for me. She has such an interesting face, perfect for Hoyt’s heroine Melisande and her take-no-prisoners attitude. Hoyt is one of relatively few authors writing Georgian-set romance as opposed to regency or Victorian (like yours truly).
Sometimes it’s not just about the graphics. I quite liked this cover until I noticed the snarky annotations. Once I saw those (particularly ‘He is monochromatic and monosyllabic’) I was sold. Sometimes a small detail like that is all it takes. The back cover copy starts with the words “How can someone so smokin’ hot be so bad in bed?’ and, if you’re a regular romance reader, you’ll know how rare it is to find a book where things aren’t instantly amazing in the bedroom between hero and heroine.
Sherry Thomas is one of my favorite historical romance writers. If I could steal another author’s covers, I’d opt for hers. Yes, they’re mostly just beautiful women in pretty dresses, but done with such style and sophistication. From the blurb: “To all of London society, Lord and Lady Tremaine had the ideal arrangement: a marriage based on civility, courteousness, and freedom—by all accounts, a perfect marriage. The reason? For the last ten years, husband and wife have resided on separate continents.” It’s a story about how you rescue a relationship when one or, arguably, both partners have committed terrible wrongs.
Looking through these, I notice relatively few heaving bosoms. There may end up being one or two on my own book cover though, so stay tuned.