Laurie McBain

laurie mcbain
Laurie McBain

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‘ The Flame and the Flower and two years after Rosemary Rogers’ Sweet Savage LoveA new generation of romance authors created books readers were hungry for, and McBain, then only 26, helped fill that void.

McBain’s Books

Laurie McBain was not a bodice ripper writer. However, she was an instrumental writer in the pioneering era. Her books are sweet romances that used sex sparingly, and the dynamics between the protagonists were 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 is forced to marry the not-so-rakish rake of a hero for protection.

evil's desire hall back cover
Back cover of Devil’s Desire, Tom Hall cover art

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.

Arrogant blond, scarred hero in powdered wig & lace, who excels at sword dueling + heroine disguised as male + highwaymen + 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 over-written, 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.”


A Bestseller

Laurie McBain sold a lot of sweet, adventurous romances for Avon. She was a great success, her first novel selling a million copies, her second book, Moonstruck Madness, even more.

The latter book was so popular that it had multiple reprintings and two cover runs by H. Tom Hall. I prefer the solo female. All her book covers were painted by instrumental artists in the genre: H. Tom HallHarry BennettPino, and Elaine Duillo.

Moonstruck madness
Moonstruck Madness, Avon 1977, Tom Hall cover art

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 at Romantic Times during the late-1980s to the mid-1990s that McBain had completed, or at least was working on, another novel.

As some authors from the golden age of romance are re-releasing their backlists on e-format and/pr 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.


Books Covers


3 thoughts on “Laurie McBain

  1. Rob Imes

    Although it says online (like on Wikipedia) that Laurie McBain “retired in 1985,” I think that is a retrospective assumption by readers based on the fact that she has not had a new novel published since 1985.

    However, in post-1985 issues of Romantic Times magazine, there are a few mentions of McBain having finished a new romance novel — one that evidently was never published for some reason.

    A letter by McBain in RT #62 (April/May 1989) says that she is still working on the novel which is set in England during the middle ages.

    In RT #97 (1992), a reader in contact with McBain says that McBain has completed the novel and turned it in to Bantam, and that it will be published in either 1992 or 1993.

    In RT #138 (1995) McBain wrote in saying that she was “about to complete another historical novel.”

    Scans of the above three examples can be found at the link below:

    So, from all appearances, McBain was continuing to write romance — it just wasn’t published. It’s interesting to think that there may be an unpublished Laurie McBain novel — or novels! — just sitting in a closet, waiting to be published.

    1. jacquelinediaz

      Wow, I did not know any of this and I spent a lot of time scouring the web. Thank you so much for that information!

      So many authors have re-released their older works and started writing again, or at least, have been recently been published, Jennifer Blake and Paula Fairman/Fancy DeWitt come to mind.

      Would you mind if I added this to Laurie’s bio? Like you said, it would be great to think there might be some more work out there than just 7 books.


Please Drop a Comment and Let's Talk Romance!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.