Who Loves Elaine Duillo? I Do!
Our blog mistress Jacqueline Diaz invited me to submit an article with my four favorite covers from vintage romances. Well, I don’t have just four favorites. Of ANYTHING! But she’s letting me post four favorites by the leading illustrators of our genre and period. Each in one blog post.
For my first such post, I want to honor the late, great Elaine Duillo (1928 to 2021). She left us on July 30 of this year and had been retired for some time. But her wonderful illustrations live on.
I picked four covers of hers that haven’t already been posted elsewhere on this blog. With a bit of background and my comments. If you can fill in any info I missed, please add it in the comments. And I welcome your own reactions.
1) Stepback cover for Fireblossom by Cynthia Wright, Ballantine, 1992. An old-fashioned quilt. A log cabin. The prairies of the Midwest. The hardscrabble life on the American frontier in the nineteenth century. These are images and concepts I don’t usually associate with sex. But Elaine Duillo made everything hot!
3) I dunno the title of the book or the author, but I dig this tender scene. In a setting pretty rare in historical romance, ancient Greece. Or is it Rome? Whatever. I downloaded this unidentified pic from Goodreads. A friend of mine said the artist is Elaine Duillo. Then I noticed her signature under the man’s left sandal. This Duillo features one of her recurring themes, scads of flowers and greenery. And the drama! We can’t be sure what the girl is thinking, but it’s obvious what the guy is thinking. The contrasting light and dark sky accent the drama. Can you recognize the book? If so, please leave the title in the comments.
4) And last but not least: How do you like them apples? The stepback cover for The Present by Johanna Lindsey, historical romance, Avon, 1998. The two panels open like a pair of interior shutters to show this passionate scene. I haven’t read the book, but according to the Amazon synopsis, the guy is the heir of a wealthy land-owning family. The girl is one of the hired help. But clearly, she’s climbing the social ladder!
[EDIT 1.18.2022 – Image #4 is NOT from Johanna Lindsey’s The Present, but from Kristin Hannah’s 1993 Ballantine/Ivy romance If You Believe. Also, we have no confirmation that this is an Elaine Duillo cover, as no signature can be seen like in the other covers. It could an Elaine or the handiwork of her daughter Melissa Duillo-Gallo, although we can’t confirm that either. Still, it’s a lovely picture to look upon. Just to round things out, we’ll add another Elaine Duillo image beneath these.]
[EDIT 4.26.22 – We have confirmed Image #4 was not an Elaine Duillo cover. It has been erroneously posted on the web as being attributed to her design of Johanna Lindsey’s The Present but is actually a stepback for Kristin Hannah’s If You Believe, and possibly painted by James Griffin. We have deleted this and apologize for the error. That’s to Courtney McCaskill for the head’s up and information!]
Next time I’ll post four covers from another illustrator. Any requests?