3 stars

Historical Romance Review: Tender is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey

tender is the storm
Tender is the Storm, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1985, Robert McGinnis cover art


3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Did You Hear the One About the Naked Guy?

So… Johanna Lindsey’s Tender Is the Storm.

If you’re familiar with your romance history, then you must know of this book, even if you haven’t read it. The cover is the infamous one designed by Robert McGinnis with the naked hero standing tall as the heroine kneels before him, her ample breasts pressed firmly against his–er…dongle.

Tender is the Storm was released in 1985; Lindsey’s 10th consecutive bestseller. McGinnis’ artwork and Lindsey’s novels made for a powerhouse combination. The first two covers were pleasing enough, but starting with 1980’s Fires of Winter, McGinnis would upend the romance industry altogether. Before that, most clinch covers would show the heroine’s heaving bosoms while the hero remained fully clothed. Fires of Winter portrayed a fully naked hero, his legs bent and splayed open with the heroine lying between his thighs.

McGinnis was like many of his contemporary artists, an admirer of the female form. Much of his work featured nude or scantily clad women–of all skin and hair colors–with tightly muscled yet voluptuous figures. As a pulp, detective, and movie poster artist, he had many opportunities to display his talent for painting women. The romance revolution that began in the 1970s allowed him to demonstrate his ability to create beautiful men’s figures as well.

While I’m not fond of today’s dehumanizing headless torso covers, and sometimes naked chests do get a bit much, male eye candy is still a sweet sight to behold. So thank you, Robert McGinnis, for being an equal opportunity exploiter of undressed males and females. His covers for Laura Parker’s Rose series are more exquisite examples of his work.

Yeah, He Was [CENSORED]

tender is the storm mcginnis
From The Art of Robert McGinnis

I owned the first edition copy when I initially read this one. Alas, the book was lost in the Great Book Purge, which I’ve spoken of many times before. Now, I’m stuck with a later edition that has the hero’s ass [CENSORED].

The cover was so controversial that booksellers from “coast to coast” refused to stock Tender Is the Storm on their shelves. Avon had to rush out golden star stickers stating “#1 EVERYWHERE” to place upon the hero’s buttocks. A second printing followed, this one with a circular starburst emblazoned upon the area of controversy, with the words “A COAST TO COAST BESTSELLER” printed on it.

See? Now you can’t notice anything!

Did anyone really believe that no one would figure out what was going on beneath that “subtle” distraction?

The dude is titty banging her, and she’s loving every minute!😀😁😂🤣😍

About That Book Review…

So… Johanna Lindsey’s Tender Is the Storm.

Yuppers. It was a romance novel.

Perhaps if I’d read this from a new-to-me author, I would have enjoyed it more. Sadly, this was mostly a meh read for me, by Lindsey’s standards.

It’s the late 1800s in NYC. In a convoluted setup, the Eastern lady Sharisse Hammond finds herself fleeing from an arranged marriage to travel out West so her sister can marry the man she loves so… Sharisse enters into a mail-order marriage with a man she knows nothing about. Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fryer!

Her groom turns out to be Lucas Holt. He’s a white man who’s familiar with the ways of the Native people. He’s also a handsome devil, and Sharisse is attracted to him. The trouble is, she’s also attracted to Lucas’ identical twin brother Slade who keeps showing up to torment and flirt with her.

Over time, Sharisse becomes accustomed to the arduous labors of being a Western bride. And in due course, she and Lucas draw closer, and she becomes his wife in the complete sense of the word. Nevertheless, Sharisse remains strongly attracted to his bothersome twin.

Whatever will she do?

I usually appreciate a plot where the heroine is torn between twin brothers (My, that sounds absolutely naughty, doesn’t it?😋). I just wasn’t wowed here.

Final Analysis of Tender Is the Storm

This isn’t a terrible romance, not really. I judged Tender Is the Storm on a curve with the other Lindseys I’ve read and found it lacking. The chemistry between Sharisse & Slade and Sharisse & Lucas was hot. But the plot was thin, even for this barely 300+ page book, and the ending was predictable. Although, don’t let my opinion stop you from reading this one. Your mileage may vary.

2.75 stars

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