“Oh damn men and their superior ways. From now on I’ll stand on my own two feet and fight for what I want–anyway I have to, with my body and my wits… Why not? It’s a man’s world, what other choice do you leave a woman who possesses a mind?”WICKED LOVING LIES
Romance’s Sweet, Savage Lady
Rosemary Rogers Life
Rosemary Rogers revolutionized the historical romance genre with the publication of her first book, Sweet Savage Love in 1973. She is considered as one of “Avon’s Queens of Historical Romance.”
She was born in Ceylon, now modern-day Panadura, Sri Lanka, on December 7, 1932. Her life was as passionate as her romances, having had three husbands. The first was a track star known as the “fastest man in Asia” who was also “fast” with women. Her second marriage lasted eight years leaving her to care for her and support her four children alone, as well as her extended family on a typist’s income. Later in life, she married a man twenty years her junior, but it aslso ended in divorce.
“I’d like to live with a man,” she was quoted as saying. “But I find men in real life don’t come up to my fantasies. I want culture, spirit and sex all rolled up together.”
Her Revolutionary Books
For years a story had been burning in Rogers’ mind, one that she had worked on since childhood. She had revised many times and after reading Kathleen E. Woodiwiss‘ The Flame and the Flower, she knew could write as well or better.
After the release of The Flame and the Flower, Avon received an influx of submissions for erotically charged romantic novels. Sweet Savage Love was their next huge hit. Unlike Woodiwiss, Rogers’ books had heroines with other sexual experiences besides the hero.
For the next decade, historical romances would either be “sweet” in the style of Woodiwiss, with the heroine having only one lover (the hero could be either faithful or not, as well as physically or verbally cruel), or they would be more like Rogers’ “savage” romances, where the heroine would have sex, willingly or unwillingly, with other partners.
Rogers’ series about the tumultuous, passionate romance between Virginia “Ginny” Brandon and Steve Morgan sold millions of copies worldwide. Her nest books were also blockbuster hits. Rogers also wrote several contemporary books similar to the style of Jackie Collins.
Legacy and Death
Ms. Rogers released romances well into the 2000s, with her last book, Bride for a Night, released in 2011 for Harlequin.
My personal favorite of hers, Wicked, Loving Lies, is set on three continents and spans years in the thrilling, chaotic love story of Dominic Challenger and Marisa Radley.
In 2019, Rogers passed at her home in Monterey, California, surrounded by her loved ones. She was 86 years old and left behind four children, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and fans who cherish her memory.