This week’s selection for our Covers of the Week is a celebration of Western romances featuring cowboys who are both tough and tender heroes.
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For Sweet Savage Flame’s 122nd edition of Covers of the Week, the focus is on cowboys! Featuring rugged men and beautiful women in romantic western clinches, this week’s selection captures the passion of the Old West.
After medievals, Western historicals are my favorite romance subgenre. These books were immensely popular in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Even in the early part of this century, there were numerous romance novels set in the western genre, like those found in the Harlequin Historical line.
Westerns published by the big five New York publishers have become scarce over the past decade. But there are still indie publishing houses and self-published authors out there who are keeping the Western genre alive and kicking. Plus, stories featuring cowboys, ranchers, and vaqueros are also common in Inspirational romances.
In modern category and contemporaries there are plenty of “Alpha” male cattlemen billionaires with the self-sufficient, tough, yet caring qualities old-school romance readers admire. (Though the future of this hero may seem uncertain, considering the end of the Harlequin Desire line.)
I so wish historical westerns would make a comeback. As romance fandom skews younger each year this seems unlikely. The majority of Gen Z and Millenials readers are drawn to a modernist historical aesthetic that is categorized more as fantasy than fiction. Those romances abound in the genteel Regency, Victorian, or Georgian eras of merry old England, not the frontiers of 19th century America.
These men represent a “macho” archetype. They lived in an era where violence could—and did—break out often. Wearing his white–or black hat–riding on horseback, armed with pistols and rifles, he is the caballero of the New World. While capable of extreme brutality, these romance heroes also displayed tenderness towards their women and possessed emotional depth.
The 20th century produced many romantic books featuring rancheros, cattlemen and gunslingers, adorned with stunning covers by legendary artists. We hope you enjoy this brief collection featuring these heroes in intimate embraces with their ladies.
Covers of the Week #122 for Monday, November 6 to Sunday, November 12, highlights four romances all about cowboys.
What do you think of this week’s theme of covers featuring cowboys? Which of our selections do you like the best, and what about them appeals to you?
Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.