Cover Snark: Some Good Old-Fashioned Woodiwiss

Elyse is killing it with the Cover Snark offerings lately. She sent us these classic Woodiwiss covers and naturally, the snark could not be contained.

Elyse: This was the first romance I ever read and it had this cover. He’s missing the lower half of his body, he’s floating, and he’s wrapped in a velour blanket. WTF.

Sarah: He looks like someone. WHO DOES HE LOOK LIKE. This is going to drive me nuts until I can figure it out.

RHG: He looks a little like Pierce Brosnan, yes?  IDK, this cover looks a little “sistine chapel ceiling renaissance allegorical painting” to me. 

Carrie:  RHG, I thought the same thing – “Cover by Michelangelo”.  Or, more accurately, “Michelango’s sad, doomed apprentice who has mastered the general technique while learning nothing of style and taste”.  Is she wearing a dress or a blanky or what?  Is she a mermaid?  Where are her legs?  How is the top of whatever she’s in stay on?

Amanda: Where they hell are they? Are they in some sort of thicket? On a rocky precipice?


Elyse: This is the second romance I ever read. The hero might be Lou Diamond Phillips. I don’t know where the heroine’s arms are or what she’s wearing.

Sarah: She’s dissolving into something white and kinda messy. WAIT. Is that a euphemism for sex? No, no way. Impossible. Couldn’t be.

RHG:  Something…. is not right with how his head is attached to his body.  It’s freaking me out.  Please make it stop.

Carrie:  What is it with this author (or maybe this artist) and mermaids?  Is she dead?  why is she wrapped in spider webs?  I’m going to worry about this cover all night.

Amanda: Everything about this woman concerns me. I can’t even tell if she’s alive.


Elyse: This is the most overt boob-grab I’ve ever seen on a romance cover. Also it was colored in with MS Paint.

Sarah: WHAT IS WITH SHANNA’S BOOBS? How does Woodiwiss describe them? “They were like misshapen, unfortunate grapefruits affixed to her chest with sealing wax”?

RHG:  I know her eyes are supposed to be half closed in passion or something, but she looks likes she’s dead.

Carrie: Every single thing about this cover is horrible.  The font, the art, the composition, the colors, EVERYTHING. 

Amanda: If you look really really closely, you can just make out that she has a jawline. Also, it’s going to take some heavy convincing for me to believe that she’s not made of Silly Putty.


Elyse: That horse is seriously upset by what’s going on.

Sarah: That horse needs a vet. Maybe she’s the vet and she’s beating him with a riding crop for letting his horse get all spotty.

It is kind of refreshing to see the heroine wielding the riding crop on the cover.


Carrie: Is the book about his deformed butt?  Also, HEY.  Stop messing with that horse, Dude.  Yanking on the reins damages the horse’s mouth.  Don’t make me come over there.  Is Shanna the woman on the horse?  Because I like her already. 

Amanda: I love this cover so much. I would pay to have it blown up and framed.


Elyse: He’s farting a dove/seagull, there’s a spirit ship, tiny people and a farm are growing out of her ass, it’s orange and fuschia, and clearly he’s trying for cunnilingus but thinks her clitoris in his her belly button. WINNING.

Sarah: What is she standing on? Is she kicking the bird? (Note: that’s not a euphemism.)

RHG:  ….is she wearing a mullet skirt?

Carrie:  Everything about this cover is awful but only in the most wonderful ways.  If this had a unicorn, it would win all the glory forever. 

Amanda: This is giving me flashbacks to when I would spend afternoons watching Dirty Dancing on a loop.


Elyse: Every single thing about this cover is upsetting to me.

Sarah: I think I saw this on Etsy.

RHG: …boobs don’t… they don’t… dude have you ever see a woman?

Carrie:  WHAAA

Amanda: Romance. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


Elyse: I think this is a commercial for feminine itch/burning cream.

Sarah: They’re dissolving, too! I don’t remember that from the Woodiwiss novels I read.

RHG:  Are they being burned as witches?

Carrie:  I’m choosing to translate the title as “The Llama of my Flower”.  The font makes it look like they are wrapped in barbed wire, which may explain the burning sensation.

Amanda: They’re clearly witches, because they’re melting into something that resembles the consistency of tar.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Susan says:

    Most of my Woodiwiss books have the original covers (like The Rose in Winter one).  I kept them all even when I gave up romances for a long time.  I think I have more of an appreciation for the wacky old skool covers now than I did then.  That said, I think pretty much every cover after TRIW in this post kinda disturbed me, esp the skeevy pirate one.

  2. 2
    Susan says:

    Ugh. A Rose in Winter (ARIW), not The Rose in Winter.

  3. 3
    Sandy James says:

    Woodiwiss books were such a part of my adolescence, and I remember thinking how sensuous the covers were. Snort.

  4. 4
    Francesca says:

    I kept reading The Frigid Llama of Love for #5, which sounds like a really, really weird shape-shifter story.

    The cover for A Rose in Winter never bothered me. I always thought it suited the Gothic/Beauty and the Beast tone of the story, but it was the only Woodiwiss book I liked.

  5. 5
    Olivia says:

    Okay, I have a slight rant, and it has to do with book covers. Usually I totally don’t notice these things, but I read all three of the new Shalvis books this weekend, currently on the last one “One in a Million”…and since I had all three books when I started the first one “It’s in His Kiss” this line stuck out at me

    description of Tanner: “Not that he needed it with the mocha skin he’d inherited from his mother’s Brazilian roots.” …and I couldn’t help but look at the cover of Tanner’s book, “One in a Million”…yeah, is it just me, or does that dude not look like he has Brazilian roots at all, in fact, he’s kinda pasty looking

    and I haven’t noticed anywhere in all three books since then, not even in his own that describes him with mocha skin again. So in the few months timeline the books are set in, guy goes from “mocha skin” to pasty ass white guy, grrrrr!

    Ugh this was bothering me all weekend, and I just needed to point it out to someone who would get it.

  6. 6

    The woman on the cover of Come Love a Stranger made me think of Boxing Helena.

  7. 7
    marjorie says:

    Oh how I love this feature.

    The “Dude, have you ever seen a woman?” skeevy pirate cover reminded me of The 40-Year-Old Virgin: “You know, when you, like, you grab a woman’s breast and it’s…and you feel it and…it feels like a bag of sand?”

    (Also, my translation for that one is “Plums in Civet” which does not sound delicious at all.)

  8. 8
    DonnaMarie says:

    @Sarah, it’s Rock Hudson. 

    Wait, where’s the picture of the original Shana cover? That thing was a master work of tropical plant green and tangerine. I love the old Avon covers. I have no idea who that artist is, but he (she?) did amazing work.

    @Susan, I also still have all my original Woodiwiss books. My The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove  are all title with little bitty, yet really detailed illustrations at the bottom. They both beat the hell out of the reissues I’ve seen.  I wish I had the technology, I’d send you a picture of the cover. And I just looked at the publication page. 1974. YIKES! I’ve had this book for 40 years!!

  9. 9
    astrakhan says:

    On the second one, even though he’s touching her shoulder, at first glance it looks like he’s reached all the way around her shoulders to grab her boob. Dude, there’s easier ways to do that. Just look at the cover below you, he’s got the right idea.

    And the guy on the Frigid Llama of Love cover looks really familiar. I can’t place him but he kind of looks like Javier Bardem with black hair. And I feel robbed—where’s the llama?! 🙂

  10. 10
    Miranda says:

    I want to send the lady with the riding crop over to deal with the pirate.

  11. 11
    Dorothea says:

    That Hungarian cover has all the subtle shading of those god-awful Barbie movies.

  12. 12
    Brooke says:

    Like HaBo and Cover Snark, I think translating international titles (TIT) should be a regular installment on Smart Bitches.

  13. 13
    Rebecca A says:

    That first one made me think of that scene in the Sistene chapel where God and man are stretching their hands out to one another. I guess because she’s on the ground and he is in the clouds.

  14. 14

    Sarah, Rose in Winter Cover…Jamey Sheridan? Abraham Lincoln? Nobody I’d like to float away with in a blue blanket, that’s for sure. All of these covers are amazingly hideous.

  15. 15
    denise says:

    best entertainment of the day

  16. 16
    Jan Goldstein says:

    @Sarah – the A Rose In Winter cover guy looks like a young Timothy Dalton.

  17. 17
    Storyphile says:

    Nah, I think the A Rose in Winter guy looks like a young Charlton Heston.  “You maniacs!…”  Or maybe “Soylent green is people!”

  18. 18
    LauraL says:

    In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, maybe the pirates are doing those ladies a favor by examining them and giving the girls a squeeze? Early version of the mammogram, the mammopirate.

    And the Shanna cover with the girl on the horse, she is riding sidesaddle on the wrong side! The horse is certainly offended as are my sensibilities.

  19. 19
    Julie M. says:

    I think the Rose in Winter cover guy looks like Matthew McConaughey. Interesting that we all see someone different.

    But it looks like we can agree that cover snark is very good.

  20. 20
    Sue C says:

    I think the first cover model looks like Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs and general good-natured hosting of shows).

  21. 21
    Lulu says:

    Well y’all just made my day. Seriously – picture the little kid on the tricycle in ‘The Incredibles’ – screaming, “That was totally WICKED!!!”

    That is me.

  22. 22
    Dibs says:

    @Laura L – “Mammopirate” – Of course -don’t we all yell Aaaargh! at some point during a mammo?  And think of the marketing ideas:  No more cold machine, well, except for the hook!

  23. 23
    blodeuedd says:

    The pirate and boobs cover is gonna give me nightmares

  24. 24
    Cristiane says:

    @Francesca – Please – it’s obviously “The FRAGILE Llama of Love.”  Obviously.

  25. 25
    Karen H says:

    I know it’s not snarky but the llama cover is actually the stepback for Leigh Greenwood’s Daisy by cover artist John Ennis, published in 1995.  In the original, they are covered by a dark fur (probably because a blizzard is important to the story as it traps them together). It’s been too long since I read it so I’m not sure about the flames although the hero is searching for a gold mine.

  26. 26
    Susan says:

    This post is still bothering me.  That guy on the cover of the French Shanna looks like he’s wearing adult diapers under his skintight breeches.

  27. 27
    ashley says:

    @Olivia, I’ve noticed some discrepancies like that with Shalvis’s work recently – timeline issues or ages or things brought up then never mentioned again

  28. 28
    Sabrina says:

    I can’t identify the guy in the first picture, but clearly that’s a Little Gull on the fuchsia cover

    In other news, that Pirate Boob cover has scarred me for life.

  29. 29
    SB Sarah says:


  30. 30
    Stephanie says:

    I swear that’s Abraham Lincoln on the Rose in Winter.

  31. 31
    Bea C says:

    @Susan – I had the same thought! He looks like he needs a diaper change. smh That image does not inspire me to pick up the book and read.

  32. 32
    LauraL says:

    @ Olivia and Ashley— I’ve noticed the same things. There have been a lot of continuity oopsies in the most recent Lucky Harbor books. Another rant of mine, I thought the ending of He’s So Fine was a bit dopey. And, yes, Tanner is particularly pasty for a mocha-skinned boy on his cover, keeping on the topic of cover snark.

  33. 33
    Olivia says:

    @ LauraL, Yeah I have to admit, these 3 are not my favorite, I’m kind of disappointed. I bet it’s cause there wasn’t much pause between publication, publishers probably wanted to rush all 3. Really hope the next ones aren’t like that…

    and looking back at it now, “He’s So Fine” seemed the worst, there was just something missing, I think I expected more of a conflict or something. And while I haven’t finished Tanner’s story yet, I’m disappointed that the heroine is Lucille’s granddaughter and that doesn’t play a bigger part in the story.

  34. 34
    SandyCo says:

    I’m admittedly late to this party, but I laughed so hard I was crying! I started drinking a cup of coffee at the beginning, but soon realized that wouldn’t be a good way to preserve my keyboard or monitor! Thank you! This made my day!

  35. 35

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