Gordon Merrick created the legendary Peter & Charlie gay romance series. The trilogy portrayed the first mainstream love story between two men that concluded happily ever after. Another milestone in gay fiction occurred when they were reprinted in the 1980s. A young artist named Victor Gadino illustrated the iconic clinch covers. Never before had two men been pictured so intimately on romance novels.
Category: Vintage romance
Romance Firsts: The First Kissing Couple on a Cover
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.
Classic Romance Review: The Sheik by Edith M. Hull
The Sheik by Edith M. Hull, published in 1919, is as influential to the modern romance genre as Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps, even more so.
It was a blockbuster of a success, despite its many detractors. While some modern readers may cringe at its depiction of women, sexual roles, and racial attitudes, The Sheik remains a compelling read one hundred years after its publication. 5 stars
Happy One Year Birthday to Sweet Savage Flame
It’s March 30, 2022! As always, Sweet Savage Flame is a little late to the party, even our own. We’re night owls so days don’t start until late morning for us. One year ago today, we uploaded our first post to this blog/ website, Welcome to Sweet Savage Flame. We had modest ideas for what we’d be doing, and now we’re branching out to be amateur historical record keepers of the romance genre.
Category Romance Review: The Honey Is Bitter by Violet Winspear
Violet Winspear’s bestseller, The Honey is Bitter, was originally published in 1967 by Mills & Boon. Paul, a Greek tycoon, blackmails Domini into marriage. 4 stars
Category Romance Review: Song of the Waves by Anne Hampson
Wendy Brown is a not-yet-21-year-old Englishwoman who’s been given the worst news imaginable: she has an inoperable brain tumor and will die in a few months. Rather than spend her last days wallowing in despair, Wendy decides to make the best of her lot. Alone in the world, she sells her family home and buys a ticket for the maiden voyage of a glamorous cruise ship that’s set to sail the world. Thus begins Anne Hampson’s Song of the Waves, a vintage Harlequin Presents written in 1976. 4 stars
Category Romance Review: Stranger in the Night by Charlotte Lamb
Charlotte Lamb’s Stranger in the Night deals with a sensitive topic she’s approached several times: rape. No, it does not employ the controversial trope of “dubious consent” found in many Harlequins from the 1970s and 1980s. This is a healing love story about a traumatic assault that upended a woman’s life and affected her relationships with men. 5 Stars
Category Romance Review: Tabitha in Moonlight by Betty Neels
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
Contemporary Romance Review: Sometimes a Stranger by Angela Alexie
Like big, dramatic contemporary romances set in glamorous, exciting milieus? With dynamic characters and lots of plot? Then I recommend Sometimes a Stranger. 4 1/2 stars
Category Romance Review: Whisper to the Waves by Helen Beaumont
Whisper to the Waves is a good contemporary romance that with a little tweaking could’ve been an excellent one. It was published by RCA Marketing in 1982 in its Sapphire Romance series.
Free Vintage or Old School Romance Books on Amazon #2
There are so many books listed on Amazon for free to read, that we had to post some more freebies! If you have an Amazon Prime account you can borrow up to 10 books for free at a time. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, there are many books you can read for a fixed monthly fee. Enjoy more old school and classical romances available on Amazon.
Category Romance Review: Tangled Tapestry by Anne Mather
Anne Mather’s Tangled Tapestry is a1969 Mills and Boon that may offend some readers’ sensibilities. Or, if you’re twisted like me, make you laugh! 2.5 Stars
Category Romance Review: Shadows on the Moon by Peggy Gaddis
Peggy Gaddis was a big name in mid-century genre fiction. Gaddis is credited with almost 300 works under a dozen names (that I know of). Her fortes include contemporary category romance novels; Shadows on the Moon is one example. First published as a hardcover by Arcadia House in 1960, it has been reprinted several times and on both sides of the pond. 4 stars
Category Romance Review: Uninvited Wedding Guest by Marsha Manning (aka Hettie Grimstead)
It’s not exactly the easiest vintage romance to find, but it’s a memorable one. Uninvited Wedding Guest began as a hardcover titled Friend of the Bride, originally published in 1968.
Vintage Romance Review: Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear
Harlequin Romance #1318 Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear A British woman works for a one-eyed Dutchman in Java in order to earn money to travel home. 3 1/2 stars