Vintage romance

Two Gay Romance Firsts: The Happily Ever After Ending and Clinch Cover

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.

gay 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.

Contemporary 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

the sheik

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.

one year birthday

Category Romance Review: The Honey is Bitter by Violet Winspear

Along with Anne Mather and Anne Hampson, Violet Winspear was one of the three original authors for the Harlequin Presents line when it launched in 1973. Her bestseller, The Honey is Bitter, was originally published in 1967 by Mills & Boon. It had about 30 reprintings under Harlequin. Paul, a Greek tycoon, blackmails Domini into marriage. 4 stars

the honey is bitter

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

song of the waves

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

stranger in the night

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

tabitha in the moonlight

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. These were American reprints of British originals; this one was first published by Hamlyn Paperbacks in 1981. 
4 stars

whisper to the waves

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.

mansfield park

Category Romance Review: Tangled Tapestry by Anne Mather

Thanks to Anne Mather’s Tangled Tapestry I now realize publishers don’t always put the correct copyright information in the front of e-books. Going into this read, I knew it was a vintage romance, but you only get to know that it was published in 1969 after you finish it. I’m only stating this because, like many things written in the mid 20th century, it’s aged as if… it was written in the mid-20th century! This book may offend some readers’ sensibilities, or, if you’re twisted like me, make you laugh! 2 1/2 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

Shadows on the Moon
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