Friday, December 19, 2008

Old School Romance Covers

I don't know how much you get around blog land but there is one of my favourite new bloggers who was looking for a book she loved years ago and needed help finding it.
Barbara sent out a desperate plea for anyone to help her find it.
Well, not meaning to toot my own horn, but as soon as I started reading the description, I knew exactly what book she was talking about since I've read it a number of times myself and I love it too. So I was absolutely delighted to be able to help her in her need to find this book. Goodness knows I've been there myself!!
Well, she ordered it and got it and posted a picture of the front and back on her latest post.
But while it's true that I've read and loved this book, there is a large part of me that just shudders and thinks 'no wonder we are still fighting a battle for respect for romance books!'

Both the front cover and back cover represent the very worst representations of romance IMNSHO. They are everything I detest. I'm a dedicated romance reader who has learned not to judge a book by it's cover - or the back blurb so neither affects my buying decisions anymore. Instead I decide by other means, although I confess a good cover will get me to try a book while a bad one won't keep me from buying one.
But looking at these covers, it's not wonder that someone outside the romance community might scorn the genre.

And as for the back blurb, something in my swears it must have been written by a guy

Shy As A Doe

As a preacher's daughter in Deadwood, South Dakota, blond and innocent Cynthia Wells rarely left the safety of her father's home. But when the kind-hearted girl heard an Indian boy was to hang the next day in revenge for some minors' deaths, Cynthia was filled with anger and bravery.

Stealing out at night to release the poor, primitive child, she was shocked to discover the redskinned captive was a handsome naked man!

Irresistibly drawn to him, Cynthia cut free his bonds...and yearned for his hard-muscled arms to make her a prisoner of his embrace.

Bold As A Stallion

Courageous Red Wolf was ready to meet the Great Spirit when he saw a gorgeous white woman step up to his gallows in the moonlight. He thought he was a dead man already until he felt her golden hair tickle his arm and her full breasts press against his chest as she sliced away the ropes.

Grateful for his life, he swore he's teach her how the red man could love! He'd stroke her ivory skin to ecstasy, and trace her luscious curves until she was sated time and again by his shameless

Sioux Splendor

I love the book, but I think that blurb is just nasty - and condescending; not to mention about as politically incorrect as it can get! It makes me wince I tell you!
It's taken me years to get to the point where I can freely tell coworkers that I read and love romance. I do it now rather proudly. But if we still had the old school covers, I'm not so sure I could do that today.
I know there are still readers out there who prefer the 'bodice ripper' style covers and I truly admire their preference while at the same time being a bit confounded about it.
I know that authors have very little say in title and cover choices and especially with this kind of style, it shows to me how some of them are such wonderful writers that blazed the trail for the less salacious covers of today. There's a reason why SB's cover snark are so popular - the covers deserve to be snarked!
I know that everything has a beginning and romance as it's been defined in the past 20 or 30 years or so is different than the romance of 100 or so years ago - and I'm ever so glad of it. But as romance has changed over the years, so too have romance covers. And I'm also glad of that fact.


Anonymous said...

Kristie! I have to say the cover is so take me I'm yours, lol! And the blurb, in my opinion doesn't respresent the story well.

But the story rocks! I'm halfway done-- I would have finished but the hubby took me to dinner--and the story is just as good, if not better than I remembered! I am so looking forward to Prairie Embrace!

I like the old school covers only because I suppose I like the old school books. I love my romance novels that are written today, but the old ones had just a different quality to them. They seemed much more dramatic in a way.

And thank you again for all your help!!!

Lea said...

Hi Kristie:

I don't find this cover as offensive as many of the other covers from the "80's and 90's" that while now are considered camp, I always found almost masogynistic in their presentation. Thankfully, as you indicated cover art has evolved and I think even the book synopsis on the back cover tend to be more representative of what is inside, depending on the publisher.

As Barbara noted I think it is sad in a way because many of the romance novels of written a decade or more ago are such wonderful stories they endure today, but the covers do not represent what is inside.

Great post as always.
All the best

sula said...

I find that I can't make myself pick up clinch covers like that (say at the library). Just cannot do it. I don't care how good the inside may be. Thank goodness for reprints with better covers. lol.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Ah the good days when Zebra covers had bulging muscles and overflowing bosums!

Wendy said...

I'm still mesmerized by that big honkin' bird on the front cover LOL.

You know what I just noticed about this cover? The woman is the one standing tall and proud, while it's the hero on HIS knees worshipping HER! Go on with your bad self girlfriend! LOL

Anonymous said...

I can't pick up covers like that, especially in bookstores, which is a shame because many great books happen to have a terrible cover or blurb. Thank God for e-books, that's all I have to say.