Laurie McBain was a historical romance pioneer who wrote sweet romances during the 1970s and 1980s. Her books featured adventurous plots and less intense dynamics between protagonists compared to some other romance novels of her time.
Writing Sweet Romance Adventures… with Dad?
Laurie MacBain, A Historical Romance Pioneer
Laurie McBain was born in Riverside, California, on October 15, 1949. From 1975 to 1985, she released seven romances for Avon.
Her father promoted Laurie’s love of writing and history by aiding her in her efforts to create her first historical romance, Devil’s Desire, which was published in 1975 by Avon. This was three years after the release of Kathleen Woodiwiss‘s The Flame and the Flower and two years after Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage Love.
A new generation of romance authors created books readers were hungry for, and McBain, then only 26, helped fill that void.
Laurie McBain wrote sensual historical romances, not “bodice-rippers.” However, she was an instrumental writer in the early years of the modern romance era. Her books are sweet romances that use sex sparingly. The dynamics between the protagonists are less intense than what one would find in, say, a Rosemary Rogers novel. There’s more drama from the villains in her books than from any of her heroes or couples.
McBain’s first novel, Devil’s Desire, was a Regency-era romance with a heroine on the run from evil enemies who are forced to marry the not-so-rakish rake of a hero for protection.
Her next book, which I love, was Moonstruck Madness, arguably her most successful and best work, but that might be due to my personal prejudices.
An arrogant blond, scarred hero in powdered wig and lace who excels at sword dueling + a heroine disguised as a male + highwaymen + a mid-Georgian setting = Me swooning.
The sequels about their daughter, Rhea Claire, were the thick tomes of Chance the Winds of Fortune and Dark Before the Rising Sun. Lamentably, I found those to be a bit overwritten, thinking that her tale would have been better told in one book.
“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.”DEVIL’S DESIRE
Laurie McBain sold a lot of sweet, adventurous romances for Avon. She was a great success, with her first novel selling a million copies and her second book, Moonstruck Madness, even more.
The latter book was so popular that it had multiple reprints and two cover runs by H. Tom Hall. I prefer the solo female.
Unfortunately, McBain’s career as an author came to a halt in the 1980s. After the death of her father in 1985, McBain seemingly retired from writing and the public sphere.
More to Come in the Future?
However, there were reports in Romantic Times from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s that McBain had completed or was working on another novel.
As some authors from the golden age of romance are re-releasing their backlists on e-format and/or producing new work, there may be one or two unpublished Laurie McBain manuscripts somewhere, waiting to be disseminated to the public.
Keep your fingers crossed, as there’s no harm in hoping just for that.
- Devil’s Desire, Avon, April 1976
- Moonstruck Madness, Avon, Feb 1977
- Tears of Gold, Avon, April 1979
- Chance the Winds of Fortune, Avon, July 1980
- Dark Before the Rising Sun, Avon, May 1982
- Wild Bells to the Wild Sky, Avon, September 1984
- When the Splendor Falls, Avon, Nov 1985
Laurie McBain Book Covers
In RT #62 (1989) Laurie McBain said her new novel was almost done & “set in medieval England.” RT #97 (1992) said the novel was done & sent to her publisher. In RT #138 (1995) she was “finally about to complete another historical novel.” The same unpublished novel or another one? pic.twitter.com/kLbctd2xGz— Rob Imes (@robimes) October 6, 2020
Laurie McBain profile in ROMANTIC TIMES #50 & 52 (1988) and a letter from her in #62 (April/May 1989). Everything I've ever seen online (like her Wikipedia page) says she retired from writing in 1985, but in this 1989 letter she talks about working on a new novel. pic.twitter.com/6CKXcQKxCb— Rob Imes (@robimes) June 10, 2020