Vintage Reads #38: Romance Novels

With all this commotion about 50 Shades of Grey, I thought I'd better hop on the steamy romance novel bandwagon.  Personally, there's no possible way you could get me to read Twilight fan fiction - even the threat of torture or death wouldn't be enough. (However, I always thought an explicit fan fiction of Vision and Scarlet Witch would be pretty cool... but I digress).

Most used bookstores that sell paperbacks are packed to the gills with romance novels.  God only knows how many of these things have come out over the years.  Each individual novel never could come close to making it on the best seller list, but taken as a whole, the genre is a powerhouse, and has been for quite some time.

In the vintage blogosphere, there's a lot of resources for other genres - tons on vintage sci-fi and pulps, for instance.  Not a lot on the ol' romance paperback (Get Your Bodices Ripped Here is probably the best out there).  So, here's my small contribution.  I haven't actually read any of these, so can't comment on the content, but I can sure enjoy a good romance cover now and again.  Enjoy.

This is nice looking cover, but it doesn't seem to fit the novel's title.  No one is smiling - quite the contrary, they look dead serious.

This would've been a whole lot better without the lame picture at the bottom right.  You've got this heavy duty sex scene taking place at midnight in front a fireplace.... and then there's this godawful video thingy going on.

A trivial complaint - the guy's left hand looks terrible.  I understand it's in the shadow of her boob, so it's darker... but it looks like he's turning into Mr. Hyde or something.

I love looking up old books in Google Books.  In addition to bibliographic information, they have a section called "common terms and phrases".  Among the most common words in The Silken Web are:

breasts, station wagon, highball glass, nipples, mustache, chest, and Chub Cay.

Common words and phrases from The Beloved Intruder...

fingers, bree, cheeks, mohair, yarn, small face, Winter Prince, weaving

Sort of surprising that "painfully awkward kiss" isn't listed.

The Shamrock Trinity: York the Renegade, Rafe the Maverick, and Paddy O'Flaherty the drunk leprechaun 

For having just given birth, the mother looks remarkably put together.  Nice hospital gown.


  1. Okay, just one thing -

    50 Shades is NOT a romance novel! It is badly written erotica. Big difference.

    There's well written erotica out there, including ones that end in "True Love", that people should be reading. So why 50 Shades is so popular is beyond me. But whatever, like Twilight, it's NOT a romance. Both of those barely qualify as books.

    If you want to learn more about modern romance books and how they differ from the ones here - like no rapetastic alpholes - mosey over to Smart Bitches, Trashy Books sometime.

    Sorry, but as someone who loves to read 50 Shades and Twilight tend to make me a bit - rabid.

  2. Loveswept.167:It's good to see that Eric Estrada is getting some work modeling for romance novel covers.Is that Jack Klugman as the doctor on the Vital Signs cover?

  3. The common word and phrases crack me up! "mohair"?

    All of these covers seem to be kissing except York the Renegade, which appears to be sex with the clothes on. I'm embarrassed.

  4. Is the cover of Beloved Intruder the beginning of the whole pursed lip Jersey Shore look?

  5. Is that an Atlas booster in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

  6. "Probe" and "Space" See what they did there?

    Oh, my head.

  7. Anyone who watches HGTV might know one of its show hosts, designer John Gidding. He earned the money for his education as a model for romance novel cover. You can Google "John Gidding romance novel" and find examples of his work.

  8. I've actually read 'Countdown' - the cover is irrelevant to the story, as is space flight; the main characters could be working for any defense contractor. The focus of the story is the rampant wife-swapping and glue-huffing (!) that goes on in the company tract houses, but it's not fun - it's depicted as relentlessly sleazy, the product of boredom and moral turpitude. The only interesting part of it is that it assumes (as many did) the US space program would keep on going at 1960s levels; all this was set in the near future.