Impulsive Butterfly by Kay Gregory features, quite frankly, a rather skeezy romance where an engaged owner of an employment agency tries to find work for a woman he’s attracted to. 3 Stars
Celia Scott’s Rumor Has It is a modern-day Cinderella story where the fairy godmother is not an actual person but a false rumor that transforms a frumpy heroine into a glamorous new woman who finds her prince. 5 stars
The 1980 Mills & Boon reissue of Violet Winspear’s book Lucifer’s Angel is said to be the first romance (contemporary or category, anyway, not so sure about historicals) to feature a kissing couple on the cover. And what a pretty one it is.
Melting Ice by Rosalie Ash is a hard little book to find in its original form. It was released by Mills & Boon in 1989 but only published as a special edition for Harlequin Romance subscribers. The book was #55 of that line. I’d give Melting Ice 2.95 stars.
It’s time to appreciate category romance covers again! For this edition of Covers of the Week, we’re focusing on Harlequin publishing in the 1980s. For the week of Monday, November 22, 2021, to Sunday, November 28, 2021 (boy did November fly by, or what?), let’s look upon these passionate category romance covers from Harlequin.
Hilltop Tryst was another sweet romance by the famous Betty Neels featuring–as always–a fair-haired doctor as a hero, although this time he’s British, not Dutch. Nor is the heroine a nurse. She’s the daughter of a local successful veterinarian and works with Dad. 3 stars
Tabitha in Moonlight is a light romance about an efficient, capable nurse (aren’t they always in these books?) of an elderly men’s ward who falls for the new surgeon, Dr. Marius van Beek. Betty Neels wields the typical doctor-nurse romance into a Cinderella story, with Tabitha starring as the poor, down-trodden stepdaughter who gets no love from her wicked step-mother and equally wicked step-sister. Dr. van Beek plays the role of the prince, but fortunately, this Prince is far more astute than his fairy tale predecessor, not requiring a glass slipper to identify his true lady love. 4 stars
Whisper to the Stars is a vintage-contemporary romance that revolves around a trope hard to find nowadays: unrequited love. It starts out strong, with the promise of a deeply moving emo story. And it delivers, up to a point. Then it falters. Somewhere in the middle, it loses sight of what a romance is supposed to do: to engage and enthrall the reader. 2 1/2 stars
Debbie Macomber’s Country Bride was my introduction to this hugely popular author. I’m ashamed to admit that although I’ve read a handful of her Harlequins, I had no idea that Debbie Macomber was such a commercial hit with her small-town romances. Up until recently, I had no clue that she’s got a whopping 200 million books in print and has written several movies for the Hallmark channel. 4 1/2 stars