A Very Special HaBO: The Classics of Romance Collector’s Edition

Skye O’Malley
A | BN | K | AB
This HaBO is a bit unique, as we know the title and author, but we don’t know if there are more of these books!

Librarian HeatherS emailed me recently about a signed hardcover copy of Skye O’Malley:

I purchased this signed hardcover copy of Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small about 3 years ago in a used bookstore. It was published in 1996. I thought it was an interesting and unusual edition and think it might have been a special order-by-mail book club of some kind.

I’m trying to find more information about it, the publisher, if they published more titles, etc.

So far all of my web searches have turned up nothing; even checking Book Finder came up nada.

Any help you or the community can give me would be much appreciated. I’m sure this isn’t the only copy out there!

Ready for some images?

They are a feast:

A green hardcover with gold filigree and the words The Classics of Romance in gold with extreme swirls at the top and bottom of the F framing the word

The front is very elegant, isn’t it? Check out that embossed text. Scriptina is crying in jealousy at that treatment.


the spine of the hardcover that says Skye O'Malley and Bertrice Small with gold decorations

Is that a ribbon bookmark?


The signature page that says this specially bound Colector's Edition is personally signed by Bertrice small - and the signature is in green pen with a heart over the i.

Even the signature is adorable!


the title page with a color version of some clinch cover art of a man and woman in a weird swirl of roses about to make out in front of a castle the title page reads Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small with the words collectors edition the classics of romance, shelton connecticut at the bottom

Oh, yeah. There’s even a castle with appropriately phallic towers in the background while folks make out in a rose bundle. Glorious.

The timing of Heather’s email is incredibly amusing to me, because we were just chatting internally about how much we’d love special collector’s editions of some romance novels or series, similar to the ones produced by Subterranean Press (the illustrated Murderbot omnibus, which sold out instantly, made my eyes roll back in my head with bliss). How cool would limited edition illustrated hardcovers of romances be? With textured covers, illustrations, and specialty papers? Le swooooon.

This mystery also reminds me a bit of the Jude Deveraux Barbie set (which I own and love and gaze at frequently) which teases the possibility of more Barbies inspired by romance novels. Alas, none were created (that I know of).

But surely there must be more collector’s editions of The Classics of Romance?

Do you recognize this book, or have you seen similar editions like it? Have you spotted a Classics of Romance Collector’s Edition out in the wild? 


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. flchen1 says:

    Whoa. I am not familiar with these signed editions, but I agree–I think there is definitely a market for something like this! I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the Bitchery says!

  2. HeatherS says:

    Thanks for posting, Sarah! I’m already seeing the above comments – and that makes this score even better, since I got this book for like $5.

    My queendom for a special collector’s edition of “Lord of Scoundrels” featuring full color stepbacks of both cover styles. Last year was the 25th anniversary, too, which would have been PERFECT timing to release such a thing. I keep asking Avon to do a hardcover edition, but I’ve never gotten a response.

  3. chacha1 says:

    There was a time I would have been All Over That. Back in the day I hunted down Patricia Veryan’s entire list, many in hardcover, some signed. Eventually traded those to The Ripped Bodice bookstore here in L.A. because aging eyeballs and small print don’t get along. I read almost exclusively ebooks now, alas.

  4. Bagel says:

    I live in CT so the Shelton, Connecticut caught my eye (not a huge publishing mecca!) I found this link: https://www.bookthink.com/0068/68fel.htm about First Editions Library, which was around from mid-80s to mid-90s and then sold some of the book rights to Easton Press. However, this list I found (http://firsteditionlibraryfel.blogspot.com/2010/10/printed-series.html) doesn’t have Bertrice Small as one of the books they published (and nothing about Classics of Romance), and Easton Press (still in business) doesn’t have the book listed. But the cover seems somewhat similar? You could try emailing the Shelton Public Library – there might be someone there who could give you an idea.

  5. Laura George says:

    @HeatherS I am SO with you on the Lord of Scoundrels edition you envision. I would buy that in a heartbeat! 🙂

  6. Betsydub says:

    Hyperventilating here…
    (Before I go off to fan myself, I need to point out that the lovely “like” hearts are missing)

  7. Jan says:

    I have a Janet Dailey book “Touch the Wind” in the cute box, signed by the author. The cover sheet (above the signature) states “this is the deluxe limited edition”. The publisher is listed as Brandywyne Book from Underwood-Miller Inc.

  8. Lisa F says:

    How interesting! Reminds me of the sometimes-signed deluxe editions of modern novels Easton Press produces, as Bagel mentions.

  9. Vasha says:

    If Bagel is right about the connection to the First Edition Library (facsimile first editions), that raises some interesting thoughts about the marketing of literary memories. The 111 titles FEL chose, mostly 20th-century bestsellers, were a highly male-oriented lot on the whole, from Norman Mailer to On the Road, though they did also include Gone with the Wind, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, and The Awakening. They also produced a series of pulp detective novels and a series of James Bond. If they had a side-project in luxury editions of romance novels, it makes sense from a marketing perspective that they would have kept it completely separate. Apart from the fact that these romances are not facsimiles, they wouldn’t want to muddy the narrative they were selling to male collectors about what were the formative books that they would want to remember and collect (FEL was by subscription, so they had to convince people that they would want the complete production). Why acknowledge that there are multiple overlapping readerships who each have a different version of what books influenced them most?

  10. denise says:

    I checked Easton Franklin Books, which has the former press from the Franklin Mint and some other collectibles companies, but they don’t have it listed, either. Different than Easton Press from when I compared the two websites.

    I had a special edition Gone With the Wind from the 80s, but I sold it 15 years ago, and thought they might have had some romance since the leather tooling was similar.

    Checking with the local historical society, if they have one in Shelton, might also be a place to search, too. Some have online archives.

  11. denise says:

    Sorry for so many comments… I had the GWTW Barbies, too, but I think they were from the movie collection.

    I sold most of my GWTW collection. I just have my first editions.

  12. Jennifer Sante-Soller says:

    I cannot get past re-reading the 2003 post on the Barbies— no offense to the current version of the site, but that kind of snark is what I always loved about this blog/website and what has had me coming back for all these years— true sheer humor content, the way I love it— spontaneous giggling.

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