Hello, again! I hope all is well on your end. My family is going through a bit of a trying time right now, as one of our beloved cats has departed from us and it hurts terribly to think about her being gone. I’m trying to keep myself busy with writing, blogging, and fixing up this site, so I hope you don’t mind my updates flooding your inbox.
As you might see, I’ve added a bit more to the site: more book reviews, more cover artists, and more information regarding publishing houses, author biographies, and backlists. Plus I’ve expanded the scope of Sweet Savage Flame to include other categories of romance that were published in the post-Flame and the Flower era to the turn of the millennium. I want this site to be a valuable source of historical information for romance bibliophiles.
So now when you go to the MENU bar you can access books and authors by historical romance or category romance (contemporary) genres.
If there are authors or books you’d like to see represented here, please drop a comment and let me know. For example, I’m currently working on Charlotte Lamb and Penny Jordan pages.
These topics can be easily accessed from the MENU bar:
That title doesn’t sound right, does it? But it is a pleasure to describe the changes coming to his site. The more I think about it, “Growing Pleasures” has tumescent connotations. The phrase simply pulses off the pages. Well, that’s appropriate for a blog specializing in vintage smut!
I’ve been researching authors, publishing houses, and cover artists, and have found a lot of commonality among both historical and “contemporary” romance written from 1970-2000. Names, books, and covers kept popping up that seemed relevant. I had wanted to strictly keep this an old-school historical romance blog. Now I see how shortsighted that was. I’m a reader of all old school romance–historical & contemporary–and there is a strong connection between the evolution of the category and the historical romance genres. That special time in history needs to be told fully if it’s to be remembered accurately.
It will take a bit of change, but I will be adding category (and perhaps gothic romance) authors, covers, and publishing information. I will only focus on romances that overlap the post-Flame and the Flower era to the end of the twentieth century. So while that means vintage romance, that won’t include comics, nurse romances, older Harlequin Romances, or Gothics written pre-1970s (if I do Gothics at all; to be honest, I’m not a big reader of them).... Read more “Growing Pleasures”
We’ve discussed bodice-rippers before at Sweet Savage Flame. While many people still use the phrase bodice ripper as a catch-all term for historical romance or for the romance genre in general, the true definition is much more narrow. A bodice ripper is a specific type of historical romance that existed starting in 1972 and more or less came to a halt somewhere in the mid to late 1990s.
Julia Quinn does not write bodice rippers. Courtney Milan certainly does not. Neither does Tessa Dare, although she cheekily has bodices ripped in a few of her books. Almost every mainstream historical author writing today writes “modern” historical romance, a completely different animal.
Fifty Shades of Gray is closer in essence to what a bodice-ripper is. However, having a domineering “alpha” hero, a virginal heroine, and titillating sex scenes alone does not constitute a bodice ripper. Add a historical setting to those factors and you have an old-school historical romance. The power play dynamic between the two sexes is a paramount theme, yet that is not the only quality inherent in a ‘ripper. There are many tropes or plot points that they can include and bodice rippers can vary greatly.... Read more “Neo-Bodice Rippers”
I will be adding more information and pictures to current pages as well as uploading new ones. Please subscribe to SweetSavageFlame.com to keep updated on any changes or new blog posts. If you have any recommendations or requests for reviews, please comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Bodice ripper” can be used as a pejorative term by those not too familiar with the romance genre or those readers & authors of romance who try to distance themselves from those older “problematic” books. In defense of the bodice ripper–the true bodice ripper, not just historical romance–it was that genre that heralded the new era of romance, creating something never seen before.
Up until Avon released The Flame and the Flower, romances were limited to books like Barbara Cartland’s vast stable of saccharine stories, Georgette Heyer’s light regencies, mild Mills and boons/Harlequins, medical romances, Gothics, and historical romantic fiction. If a female reader wanted a little bit more raciness, there was the grandmother of the bodice ripper, Edith Hull’s The Sheik and its sequels, lurid pulp-fiction books released by prolific paperback distributors, or authors like Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, and Jackie Collins who had come on the scene in the 1960s.
Mainstream romance and raciness just didn’t mix. They were always sweet, ending in kisses of fade to black love scenes.
Then in 1972 came the now-reviled bodice ripper, which at the time was a vaunted expression of women’s liberation. Thanks to Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, and the women (and men) who followed in their footsteps, romances took on a larger scope, as heroines went through the fires of hell and back to get her love, and yes, the books could be violent, including issues like forced seduction or even rape.... Read more “Discussing Bodice Rippers and Historical Romance #1”
Hello, there! Hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the return of Spring. To those folks located in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your Autumn, as it too is a beautiful time of year.
As you may have noticed, this blog is a work-in-progress, so I ask you to bear with me as we go through some growing pains. I might revamp this blog’s theme, but my poor tech skills could delay that a bit. You also might have seen that in addition to discussing historical romances and reading book reviews, you can also access pages dedicated to some prominent authors of old-school historical romance, plus a few of my favorites; books; publishing houses; and cover artists via the menu located on the top of each page.
Feel like dropping a comment? Any helpful criticisms or words of advice are always appreciated.
Some new additions to this site that be easily accessed from the MENU bar include:
Hello to all lovers of bodice rippers and vintage historical romances (pre-21st Century). Historical romance isn’t what it used to be. The romance genre has evolved greatly over the years, but there remains a soft spot in my heart for the books of old.
My Historical Romance Experience
I read my first historical romance at age 12. It was a bodice ripper-lite, Elaine Coffman’s Escape Not, My Love, published in 1990. It had a lovely step-back cover that outside looked respectable, like this:
But the inside was a beautiful clinch design:
Just weeks later, I read my first book published by Zebra. This was from the Heartfire imprint, a Civil War romance calledRebel Vixen by Dana Ransom (yes, I have a penchant for blond heroes).
My first real taste of hardcore bodice-ripping came to me a few months later with Rosemary Roger’s Sweet Savage, Love, which Avon published in 1973. It shocked me to my core. I loved it but was a little scared of how violent and epic it was. Grandiose in scope, it told the tumultuous romance of Steve Morgan and Virginia Brandon as they trekked across the United States and Mexico.... Read more “Welcome to Sweet Savage Flame”