Harlequin Covers: Seeing Double the Man Hands

Hi Harlequin!

You know I think you are all spiffy, right? How’s things? I wanted to give you guys a heads up that there is a blonde girl who is confusing me utterly.

First, she was on Julie Cohen’s His for the Taking, which I read and really liked – and which caused me to start a Cohen-a-licious attraction to anything Julie Cohen writes. I ranted about the US Harlequin Presents cover in my review, but I’ll post it here:

Book Cover

Oh, my GOSH. The poor girl’s man hands and her THUMB. She’s like Sissy Hankshaw up in there. My gosh. And her SKIN. It is crying for some soothing lotion like STAT and WHOA.

But you know, girls with big thumbs, they need work. And if Tom Robbins isn’t writing a sequel to Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, at least this woman found work in the cover for the recently re-released The Outback Marriage Ransom by Emma Darcy.

No, wait, no, she didn’t. It’s the same picture.

Book Cover

The Darcy cover may (and likely does) predate the Cohen cover, but Harlequin! Come on now! You must know that Digital is Forever, Especially With Digitized Backlist! With as rabid a fanbase as that which follows the Presents line, there’s only so many large-thumbed, chapped-skin women with man-hands you can reshuffle before someone notices. Unless Tom Robbins is writing these books and is secretly using both Darcy and Cohen’s names as noms de plume and hiring Sissy as his cover model, in which case my day is so made for having figured that out.

I know you are Canadian, where recycling is the most awesome thing ever and I totally envy your waste management systems on the local and provincial level, but sometimes, dare I suggest, recycling is not so good. Whoever this poor woman is, she needs some Udder Cream and a nap, because she’s doing the work of two women.

Yours until the virgin stable girl is a tycoon billionare CEO,


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ben P says:

    OMFG! I just read your review of the Shaggadelic Sheik’s Unshagged Stable Bint. Yes the book with THE LINE.

    A line so inconcievable that it elicited forth one of the loudest “Oh Gods!” I’ve ever heard from my wife.

    Some of them have been pretty loud.

    Dayum! That prose goes beyond purple into a neon realm of flowery badness.

    Man that stubby wee thumb is so cute!

  2. 2
    Laura Xixi says:

    ah, that would explain the “twilighting” of covers…it’s good to the Earth!

    Also, it never ceases to amuse me that the url to the Playboy Sheik review says “playbot” instead of “playboy”…considering Kaliq’s constant humunah-humunah-ing, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was battery-operated…

  3. 3
    RebeccaJ says:

    Well, to be perfectly fair, he’s got women’s boobs, why shouldn’t she have man hands?

  4. 4
    Kathy says:

    Well, I was squiked by the hands, but when Rebecca J mentioned the man boobs…..eeew.

  5. 5
    Suze says:

    Holy crap!  He DOES have boobs!

  6. 6

    They cropped the image a little bit different and brightened the colors in one more than the other but those are the only real changes I see.  I agree – I adore Harlequin and buy many of their books. But these are the days of photoshop or the cheaper version favored my hubby (and cover designer extraordinaire)- Gimp. 

    Given the digital tools available, they could’ve used the exact same image and come out with a completely different cover.  Maybe Harlequin’s art folks need a vacation?

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    OMG! RebeccaJ, how majestic are THOSE MAN’S BREASTS? They look like something you’d see on GoodPlasticSurgery.com or something. Holy breastular Moses.

    Forget I said anything Harlequin. You just ignore me. This is clearly a mix of gender definitions and secondary sex characteristics (and thumbs!) at its finest!

  8. 8
    donna ann says:

    the man boobs is the first thing I noticed and could look no farther.  that’s some editing and not (apparently) the kind of harlequin books my mom use to bring home when I was a kid.

  9. 9

    Oh wow… those hands… they kind of scare me :(

  10. 10
    Brooks*belle says:

    The Moobs!  The Mhands!

    Well I needed new nightmare fodder.  My usual bad dream subjects have gotten so boring lately.  This should perk things up a bit…

  11. 11
    RfP says:

    She does have large hands, but criminy!  All the glee and Eww gross! sounds as if we should subscribe to the Harlequin Presents model of femininity: tiny hands, tiny arched feet, delicate neck, huge eyes, fragile whatever.

  12. 12
    Another Damn Sarah says:

    I have to agree with RfP. Even girls with dry skin and big hands can be desirable. Pointing out the “man hands” isn’t really funny—it’s basically pulling a Nelson Muntz and going, “HA ha! Your hands are ugly!” Smart Bitches are better than that.

  13. 13
    Cakes says:

    I have man hands and my husband is very appreciative of them. ;)

  14. 14
    Tinkerbon says:

    Sorry, all I saw was the moobs … Yikes! Holy reincarnated image of Anna Nicole Smith’s implants!

  15. 15
    RebeccaJ says:

    I only mentioned the boobs because I was sitting wishing MINE were that shapely….sigh.

  16. 16
    Carolyn says:

    That woman is not put together right. Her fingers are all the same length, her wrist goes on forever and there’s something wrong with her leg.

    If this is a photoshop, I have only one question.  Why!?

  17. 17
    Kirsten says:

    Hey, now, Sissy Hankshaw did just fine. I read that book over and over in high school, and I love Sissy and her thumbs… That woman is not Sissy, though.

    I can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of Tom Robbins writing Harlequin romances, though.

  18. 18
    zinemama says:

    This inspired me to re-read your review of the Virgin Stable Girl book. Oh lordy, I laughed just as hard as I did the first time. But no line in that book can beat your “Now wait just a goddam minute there Mr. Sheikypants!” 
    Thanks again!

    smamword: ways79. Betcha there’s at least 79 ways they’ll use that cover photo again!

  19. 19
    Mimi says:

    what i’d like to know is what the hankie and glass on the night stand are for…?

  20. 20
    Karen says:

    what i’d like to know is what the hankie and glass on the night stand are for…?

    For expressing his man-breastmilk, I guess.


  21. 21
    JamiSings says:

    It’s a shame comments are closed about Horse Girl and her dude. Because this bit -

    You know, with random women, on the wall, on the floor, whatever.

    - made me think of that song by Sarah Silverman, “I’m F**king Matt Damon.”


    I don’t see what’s wrong with making fun of a bad photoshop, BTW. Yes, some women have man hands IRL but on a book cover, unless you’re reading a book called The Moobed Greek Sheik Tycoon’s Man-Handed Virgin Mistress you kind of expect girly looking hands.

  22. 22
    Julie Cohen says:

    You know, until you posted Emma Darcy’s cover, I never knew my characters were really gettin’ it on in an upscale nursing home.  That’s a denture glass next to the bed, isn’t it?

    Seriously, I don’t mind it so much when my covers don’t fit the contents of the book. And I sorta like his moobs.  But I think putting out two books with the same cover does send the message that these books are interchangeable.  And much as I’m flattered to be equated with Emma Darcy who rocks, those of us who read and love Harlequin romances know that they’re not interchangeable at all.

    —Tom Robbins

  23. 23
    Sycorax says:

    Harlequin sex scenes would be a lot messier if Tom Robbins wrote them…

  24. 24
    Literary Slut Kilian says:

    Udder Cream for her and Bag Balm for him:


    With all that lanolin, they will smell funny, but their skin will be silky smooth.

    built53 – looks like they took 53 random parts and built the bodies

  25. 25
    SDJB says:

    I agree with RfP and Another Damn Sarah.

    Not cool, Smart Bitches. Not cool.

  26. 26
    SB Sarah says:

    Her hands are hugely out of proportion, and, on the Cohen cover, so large compared to the rest of her and so RED that they draw the eye. It’s poor design, and poor art coordination.

    I don’t believe that those are that model’s hands. Her fingers are far too short for her wrist/forearm length, and the proportions of her index and middle fingers compared to her thumbs and her wrist are imbalanced. I think it’s image manipulation gone horribly wrong.

    So why are you upset at me for discussing her hands (but not his exceptionally large breasts that I find myself somewhat envious of)? We’ve discussed images of women and men on the cover of romances for nearly six years as sometimes being out of proportion, bizarre, off-putting, overly-Photoshopped or God-forbid born out of Poser. I’m confused by your ire and your scolding.

  27. 27
    phadem says:

    SB Sarah, I feel ya (no, not literally, that would be a breakthrough , though, in interwebs communication) on this one. I got ripped to shreds once in an art class by my prof for daring to call a set of female hands in a painting a tad on the manly side. The hands in the painting were overly large as well, and also of the raised vein variety. Her pinky alone looked like it could lift her weight. Definitely reminded me of man hands, and the ones above in the covers do as well. Must say that I know fully well, too, that my own hands aren’t model material and could use some TLC. But that doesn’t mean the ones above aren’t noticeable.

  28. 28
    PattiR says:

    I know some ladies have not-so-lady-like appendages, me included as I am a nail biter, but these hands on the cover are obviously photo shopped and not proportioned correctly. 
    Even if these were the models REAL hands, could we not photo shop the red and (looks really painful) chapped skin?  That draws the eye more so than the size of the hands to me. Also, I would love to know the back story on why the models hands needed to be photo shopped out in the first place.
    Personally, I don’t think anyone was calling out and/or making fun of the Ladies of ManHandia (for which I am a card carrying member), but just making an observation of the fact that her hands are red, manly-looking and out of place and that the cover was reused.

    Captcha answer56.  Yes, I want answers, dammit!

  29. 29
    JamiSings says:

    I don’t understand why people are upset either. It’s not like we’re making fun of a real person. We’re not – say – making fun of Barbara Streisand’s nose or my own weight. It’s a made up person who has badly photoshopped hands. People need to get the sticks out of their butts. Though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the people jumping down your throat here go over to make fun of fat people on PeopleOfWalMart.com.

  30. 30
    Brandi E says:

    After seeing the intriguing tweets I had to look (kind of like roadkill). WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Did no one notice the milk-maid or Paul Bunyon hands on this chick? You right, Sarah, a little Udder Cream or Nivea would go a long way.

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