Some old-school cover gems from the woman who perfected the “If she can tell the difference between the identical twins, it must be twu wuv!” schtick in Romancelandia.


Sarah:  Ah, yes, the historical version of “Before He Cheats.” Instead of digging a car key into the door of a pretty souped-up four-wheel drive, she’s going to put his head through his own lute because he got way, WAY too merry with his band of merry men.

Candy:: He thinks she’s paralyzed with desire; she’s just hoping that this George Hamilton wannabe’s sunless bronzer doesn’t rub off on her skin or her clothing.


Sarah: Nothing says ‘Historical romance’ like a poly-cotton nightgown from JC Penneys, circa 1982.

Candy: He looks mildly brain-damaged. She looks like a Real Doll. It’s a match made in heaven!


Sarah: There had so better be a disclaimer at the back of that book stating that no horses were harmed in the creation of the cover art, because it looks like they’re dropping to the earth from about 30,000 feet up and the horse is the only one who has recognized their imminent landing.

Candy: I’ve talked before about the bizarre physics at work in romance novels and how it affects hair. This one just straight-up confounds me. Unless the guy is a humanoid Van de Graaf generator, I’m at a loss to explain the heroine’s hair. (The hero’s hair—and appearance in general—can pretty much be explained by an inordinate love of man-sauce, I think.)

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kathryn says:

    And if you think that version of The Raider is scary, check out the Barbie and Ken one.

  2. 2
    Tina C. says:

    I’ve talked before about the bizarre physics at work in romance novels and how it affects hair.

    The third cover certainly does grab your attention, what with the fright-wig hairstyle, but speaking of bizarre hair physics, look at the Velvet Song cover—their hair is blowing in opposite directions!  (And yet, their sleeves and her hankie aren’t moving at all.)

    ~Tina C.

  3. 3
    Suzanne says:

    Holy Crap!  I didn’t know they made romance novel covers with Barbie Dolls!  Where do you guys find this stuff!?!  I learn so many things each time I come here – always entertaining and enlightening!  Fabulous!

    Since Sarah seems to think they are falling from the sky, maybe the woman is just about to be struck by lightning – that would explain the crazy hair!

  4. 4
    Lorelie says:

    Ya know, I met a woman just last night who told me in all seriousness that her husband was supposedly an identical twin and she’d told her mother in law that she couldn’t see how they’re supposed to be identical.  And in fact she claimed she’d married the cuter one. 

    It was all I could do not to cackle madly and squeal “It’s Twuuuu Luuuuv!”

  5. 5
    lijakaca says:

    Am I the only one who thinks of Robin when I see the non-identity-hiding mask that the third hero is wearing?

    “Golly gee, lady! What’s happening to your hair?”

  6. 6
    rebyj says:

    Nothing says ‘Historical romance’ like a poly-cotton nightgown from JC Penneys, circa 1982.

    I think I HAD that nightgown, minus the crotch hugger.

  7. 7
    Wendy says:

    I can’t get past the seriously low-cut gown the Velvet Song chick is wearing.  It’s amazing we can’t see her nips.

  8. 8

    Wait!  That last book!  Isn’t that the one where the guy accidentally deflowers the heroine because the coach goes over a bump?!  The cover looks so familiar, has anyone read it?  Is that the book?

    By the way, I think the hair thing only happens if it’s actually TRU LUV ™.  It’s a very short term side effect, you probably don’t notice it while in the throes of TRU LUV ™.

    Spamword: until93.  As in, “That chick’s hairstyle was in fashion until 1993.”

  9. 9

    Wow, Velvet Song is defying the laws of physics as well.  Check out that uncorset and strangely perky breastline.  Or maybe she has a strange super power that makes things adhere nipples.  Would people call her Miss Incredible Sticky Nipples!! or WonderNipps!!

  10. 10
    Amie Stuart says:

    LOL JEnnifer…i”m sure someday someone will be poking fun at our covers…okay well, MY covers. Yours are pretty rockin….  That said, what in the world is she holding in her hand in that first cover? Is it part of her voodoo love ritual?

  11. 11
    closetcrafter says:

    Are there more of those Romance novel Barbies, or was that a joke.  Can you not appreciate the AWESOMENESS of the cheesiness?  How bout the marketing genius of the person who created the Venn Diagram of ROmance fans and Barbie collectors?

    Please don’t leave me hanging!

  12. 12
    Lorelie says:

    I’ve not only read it, I’m 99% sure I have that same copy sitting on my bookshelf at home.  It’s not the accidental coach-deflowering.  It’s Revolution era and the hero runs around pissing off the Redcoats while looking mostly like himself, but then lives “normal” life in a wig and padded, frou-frou clothes.  Some serious wanna-be Zorro action going on.

    The Deveraux barbie set was real (I’m an ex-Barbie collector) but I think it was the only romance novel oriented one.

  13. 13
    Ciar Cullen says:

    Sarah, the horse comment. My howl brought people to my office door. Still laughing…

  14. 14
    R. says:

    Getting all anal on the first pic—

    I’m assuming the ‘lute’ is hers, since it’s in her grasp – possession being nine-tenths, and all that.  Second, it’s actually a ‘lautengitarre’ [I know ‘cuz I got one just like it, and yeah, I can play it], a bizarre, hybrid stage-oriented instrument that can blame its origins on Richard Wagner.

    history28 – holy effing crap, how does it know?

  15. 15
    Julia says:

    Holy crap, I owned the last book.  And oh god the Barbie and Ken doll.  He has fake lashes, 3 shades of eyeshadow and mauve lipstick.  MAUVE LIPSTICK.

    I may swoon.

  16. 16
    R. says:

    The doll, omigawds—does he actually have a five o’clock shadow, or is my monitor fritzing??

    southern69 – okay, not touching that one.

  17. 17
    closetcrafter says:

    Lorelei. thanks for the quick response.  I’m googling this Barbie thing fer sure. I am a dentist and there is a dentist Barbie, because all female dentists wear turquoise high heels and a miniskirt with an equally mini-labcoat over it. My colleague never opened hers because she is sure its going to be worth big $$$ someday.  I let my then 2 yr old play with it and the pieces are gone, gone, gone.

  18. 18
    R. says:

    Oh, cripes.  Take a closer look at that doll’s hands.  They have the G.I.Joe action ‘kung-fu’ grip, that’s just right for gripping his – uh,…

    Well, y’know, for when he’s all alone. 
    And horny.  And stuff.

    body25 – okay, it’s official, I’m freaking out.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Erin says:

    Am I the only one who thinks of Robin when I see the non-identity-hiding mask that the third hero is wearing?

    Sorry, no – he’s totally Tuxedo Mask. It’s like a Revolutionary War version of Sailor Moon. And Luna’s a horse instead of a cat?


  21. 21
    michelle says:

    The horse! Oh God! I usually don’t laugh until I read your comments on the covers. Not out loud, just from looking. But the look on that horse’s face was so incredible, I nearly cried. I don’t know if it’s strictly fear of imminent death that’s making him do that. He looks… scandalized .
    My romance novel loving friend and I have had long conversations about how wrong it is when people have sex on the back of another living being. The idea is so gross to us. Like, what does the horse think? Well, now I know. He thinks something along the lines of “THE HELL??!!!”

  22. 22

    Clearly, being with the guy on the final cover is a hair-raising experience.

    (why didn’t anyone say that before now?)

  23. 23
    marcella says:

    Can we go back to the accidental deflowering by coach plot line?  That is a real book?  Cuz I might need to read that book like RIGHT NOW.

  24. 24
    Audrey says:

    I still own all of these books, and would have so bought that Barbie if I’d have known of it at the time!

    My theory is that the people don’t look as concerned as the horse because they are aware the ginormous skirt is acting as a parachute!

    Also, re you know what on the back of the horse, coincidentally, it actually does occur in, tum da da da! Book #1, The Velvet Song. IIRC, of course, it’s been a good while since I’ve read the books. I’m sure they would have put the horse on the cover of that one except it would have looked even more freaked out.

  25. 25

    Ah, drat.  There must be a similar cover on the accidental deflowering book.

    My search continues.

  26. 26
    Chrissy says:

    I own em all and everything else she wrote prior to 1990. 

    But the hair on Raider… it’s like that electrical current ball at the Museum of Science.

  27. 27
    Gracie O. says:

    On “The Raider”—the chick’s hair has clearly been possessed by an octopus.  Apparently even ghostly octopi, like ghostly leopards, need titty.

  28. 28
    R. R. says:

    I’m with Audrey.  Accidental coach deflowering?  Did the coach roll over 13 times, so that underskirts were upended and Tab A accidentally bumped into Slot B?  That’s wild – sounds like the teenager I knew who swore to her parents that she and her bf were still virgins, even though she was pregnant: but he came on her thighs and she got pregnant.  Honestly.

  29. 29
    Gracie O. says:

    I just noticed the horse’s mouth, which is FREAKING MY SHIT OUT.

  30. 30
    Kathryn says:

    I do not know how I even stumbled upon the Barbie and Ken thing.  I was just googling that book and it popped up.  I wonder why they didn’t make more in the romance novel series?

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