Cover Artists

Covers of the Week #23

Who Loves Elaine Duillo? I Do!

By Mary Anne Landers

Our blog mistress Jacqueline Diaz invited me to submit an article with my four favorite covers from vintage romances. Well, I don’t have just four favorites. Of ANYTHING! But she’s letting me post four favorites by the leading illustrators of our genre and period. Each in one blog post.

For my first such post, I want to honor the late, great Elaine Duillo (1928 to 2021). She left us on July 30 of this year and had been retired for some time. But her wonderful illustrations live on.

I picked four covers of hers that haven’t already been posted elsewhere on this blog. With a bit of background and my comments. If you can fill in any info I missed, please add it in the comments. And I welcome your own reactions.

1) Stepback cover for Fireblossom by Cynthia Wright, Ballantine, 1992. An old-fashioned quilt. A log cabin. The prairies of the Midwest. The hardscrabble life on the American frontier in the nineteenth century. These are images and concepts I don’t usually associate with sex. But Elaine Duillo made everything hot!

2) Warrior’s Woman by Johanna Lindsey, science fiction romance, Avon, 1990. Models: Cindy Guyer, Fabio (Fabio Lanzoni). I think this one speaks for itself!

3) I dunno the title of the book or the author, but I dig this tender scene. In a setting pretty rare in historical romance, ancient Greece. Or is it Rome? Whatever. I downloaded this unidentified pic from Goodreads. A friend of mine said the artist is Elaine Duillo. Then I noticed her signature under the man’s left sandal. This Duillo features one of her recurring themes, scads of flowers and greenery. And the drama! We can’t be sure what the girl is thinking, but it’s obvious what the guy is thinking. The contrasting light and dark sky accent the drama. Can you recognize the book? If so, please leave the title in the comments.

4) And last but not least: How do you like them apples? The stepback cover for The Present by Johanna Lindsey, historical romance, Avon, 1998. The two panels open like a pair of interior shutters to show this passionate scene. I haven’t read the book, but according to the Amazon synopsis, the guy is the heir of a wealthy land-owning family. The girl is one of the hired help. But clearly, she’s climbing the social ladder!

Next time I’ll post four covers from another illustrator. Any requests?

2 replies »

  1. What can I say about these covers other than they are stunning?

    1) Fireblossom is an utterly gorgeous step-back, with Duillo trademark outrageous hair. I know for her platinum-blonde heroines, she would paint on black paper to make the color pop. I wonder if she used that trick on this cover.

    2) Oh, Warrior’s Woman, the memories this brings up! It was the first Lindsey I ever read and purchased. I remember seeing this glorious cover at Woolworth’s’ back when I was 12 and picking this right up (the store was within walking distance from home) and it made me a Lindsey fan for life. Duillo changed Fabio’s nose and chin, but it’s still him.

    3) This cover has plagued me for years. I’ve been trying to find the book it was produced for, but the closest I can get is a foreign reprint of an older work that predates the original artwork by many years. I will find the book, one day, one way or another. (That means if I have to purchase more books, so help me…)

    4) Was a shock to me. I own the paperback edition of The Present, and all it is is a small winter scene with no people. But I’ve looked it up, and it seems like some lucky paperback owners of this book have a different edition with this inside step-back. I have a question for you Mary Anne, as a friend is interested in this one. Do you have the original cover that this artwork comes with? If not, do you know if this was an American release or a foreign cover? It’s so pretty and very appropriate for the new season!

    Anyway, this story is more like a story within a story as it tells of the ancestry of the Malory family, where a Marquess married a Gypsy (Roma) Princess. This story is told through a mysterious book that lands in the lap of the current Malory clan (early 19th century), and they read it, as the family patriarch realizes his true love for a long-time housekeeper, who is the mother of his heir. (You have to read the books to figure it all out!)

    Fabulous picks. Can’t wait what you choose next!

  2. Thanks, Jacqueline. All these pics are from the Internet. Stuff I got from Bing Images. Or Pinterest; I think I, uh, borrowed one pic from your Pinterest page. So as for your question concerning “The Present” and its stepback, I don’t know which edition it was. Or what the outer front cover looks like.

    Also, here are a few bits I could’ve included in this article, but of course I forgot. Another senior moment!

    1. The cover of “Warrior’s Woman” can easily make a viewer think this book is a historical romance. And takes place in the Middle Ages, or possibly ancient times.

    Well, guess again. It’s a futuristic romance. And it takes place on another planet!

    2. If we wait long enough, everything turns up on the Internet. So sooner or later we’ll find out which book the third picture illustrates. Assuming it illustrates any book. There’s always the possibility that Elaine Duillo created it for some other purpose. Or it was intended for a book that got different cover art. Or the book was never published.

    3. Being a language nerd, I must add this. How do you correctly pronounce Fabio’s last name, Lanzoni? It’s lan-tson-ee. With a short “a” and “o”, and the accent on the second syllable.

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