Covers of the Week #46

black couples in romance

Theme: Black or Afro-American Couples on Covers

The month of February in the United States is recognized as Black History Month. So this week Sweet Savage Flame takes a look at some retro romance novels that portray Afro-American or Black couples in intimate embraces on the covers.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s when Pinnacle started their Arabesque line that mainstream romances began depicting relationships between Black partners.

Or even half-pairings. I’ve read many old-school romances with interracial couplings. Invariably the partner with African heritage was biracial and, usually, that part of their identity was kept secret.

Since then horizons have broadened. There is more variety of characters in romance today than ever before.

Still, there were positive aspects from the late 20th-century that brought us to where we are now.

Part of me wanted to make this an all Beverly Jenkins edition. Jenkins is a pioneer in the romance genre and the “Leading Lady of Historical Romance” featuring Black couples. Her covers really were (and still are) divine. Lamentably, I haven’t been able to track down the illustrators for her 1990s books. Avon has a spotty track record identifying cover artists.

The Covers

In honor of Black history month, for the week of Monday, February 21, 2022, to Sunday, February 26, 2022, let’s appreciate some older romance covers with Black or Afro-American protagonists.

Black Couples in Romance Covers (Clockwise)

  • Topaz, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 1997, cover artist TBD
  • Unforgivable, Joyce McGill, Silhouette, 1992, George H. Jones cover art
  • A Strong and Tender Thread, Jackie Wegner, Harlequin, 1983, cover artist TBD
  • Sunshine and Shadows, Roberta Gayle, Pinnacle, 1995, cover artist TBD

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