Different Books, Same Cover #2

Double Vision: Cover Twinning

Have you ever noticed you own two different books with the same cover? Recycling cover art is quite common in the book industry. Publishers often re-use artwork to save money or time.

Hat Tip to Biologistreadsromance

Previously I mentioned the Instagram hashtag #covertwinning. This was the brainchild of biologistreadsromance, who also created the hashtag #stepbacktwinning. The images of the beautifully arranged books come from her Instagram account, so I recommend checking it out.

The hashtag #covertwinning allows posters to show off their duplicate covers.

The Hawk and the Dove & Gentle Rogue by Sharon Spiak

We referred to this twinning combo last time we discussed recycled cover art.

The 2007 Avon reissue of Gentle Rogue uses the same Sharon Spiak illustration for Virginia Henley’s Dell-released, The Hawk and the Dove.

Notice the dress and the ship. In the revamped version, the protagonists’ hair colors are altered, and there’s no castle in the back. Nor are there any birds and flowers in the foreground.

The new cover is pretty enough. But the clothing and sword are about 150 years too early for the Regency-age Gentle Rogue.

the hawk and the dove
The Hawk and the Dove, Virginia Henley, Dell, 1988, Sharon Spiak cover art
cover recycling
Gentle Rogue, Johanna Lindsey,
Avon, 2021 re-issue (1990 orig. pub.), Sharon Spiak cover art

Reckless Abandon and Moonlight Enchantment by Renato Aime

Dorchester Publishing was notorious for doing everything on the cheap. Whether it was selling books through BMI at a discounted rate–thereby providing little to no royalties to authors–, not paying authors outright, or using recycled cover art for their books, they were awfully cheap in their endeavors.

The cover design for Reckless Abandon by Jolene Prewit-Parker and Moonlight Enchantment by Deborah Martin is a most blatant case of cover twinning. They didn’t alter the image at all.

The art design is the handiwork of Renato Aime, who, along with Harry Burman and Pino, was one of Dorchester’s most commonly used artists.

cover twinning
Reckless Abandon, Jolene Prewit-Parker, Dorchester, 1988 Renato Aime cover art
cover recycling
Moonlight Enchantment, Deborah Martin, Dorchester, 1992, Renato Aime cover art

Lorielle and Love Only Once by Elaine Duillo

When covers are recycled, it’s usually by the same publishers. In some cases, the artist owns the right to images and can reuse them as they wish. That looks to be the case here.

Elaine Duillo illustrated the cover for Lorielle in 1980. After Avon hired her to paint Johanna Lindsey’s books, they reprinted Lindsey’s first Malory romance, Love Only Once, using that Duillo cover. The original Love Only Once was published in 1984 and designed by Robert McGinnis.

I can’t confirm when the Duillo version was issued, but I recall seeing it in 1990 when Gentle Rogue–the third Malory entry–was released.

cover twinning
Lorielle, Marilyn Granbeck, Jove, 1980 Elaine Duillo cover art
cover twinning
Love Only Once, Johanna Lindsey, 1984 (original release) Elaine Duillo cover art

Scarlet Lady and Scoundrel’s Kiss

Here is another Avon case of cover twinning. Scarlet Lady and Scoundrel’s Kiss are strikingly similar, except for the colors.

Max Ginsburg painted the first cover. At first glance, it looks like the same artist’s work, but look closer. I doubt it’s Ginsburg, as the strokes are not as precise as his usual style.

I assume Avon just had a different artist paint a new cover for A Scoundrel’s Kiss using the same original image.

scarlet lady ginsburg cover flowers
Scarlet Lady, Marlene Suson, Avon, 1997, Max Ginsburg cover art
scoundrel's kiss
A Scoundrel’s Kiss, Margaret Moore, Avon, 1999, cover artist TBD

Victor Gadino’s Tribute To Robert McGinnis

Besides his fantastic talent, one of the numerous reasons Victor Gadino is my favorite active cover artist is his sense of whimsy. He has great respect for the field he works in, taking pride in his work. Many artists who have designed romance covers seem embarrassed of that fact or bluntly state they only did it for the money.

Not Gadino. He embraces sensuality and romance wholeheartedly, putting his best efforts into his pictures.

One of my best-loved covers is the legendary “first naked man” painted by Robert McGinnis for Johanna Lindsey’s 1980 bodice ripper Fires of Winter. I loved this cover so much as a teen I would draw copies of it repeatedly, just changing the hair colors and backgrounds.

For Elizabeth Lowell’s medieval romance, Enchanted, Gadino paid homage to McGinnis’ cover with a couple posed in the same position. A black-haired heroine lays between the blond hero’s naked thighs while he grasps her in his manly embrace. Instead of a white ermine rug, the couple rests on various colorful, multitextured pillows.

It’s a truly stunning step back.

It’s hard to say who did it better, McGinnis or Gadino. What do you think?

fires of winter
Fires of Winter, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1980, Robert McGinnis cover art
same book different cover
Enchanted, Elizabeth Lowell, Avon, 1994, Victor Gadino cover art

The Barefoot Bride and Wild and Wicked in Scotland

This cover twinning case had one photo used as a prototype for the two covers. In this case, they were painted by different artists 17 years apart.

Rebecca Paisley’s The Barefoot Bride came out in 1990 and–I think–was illustrated again by the prolific Max Ginsburg. However, I’m unsure who the artist is for Melody Thomas’ Wild and Wicked in Scotland. A change of hair, dress, and background color doesn’t disguise that it’s the same picture, recycled into a newer cover.

The publisher for both books was Avon, yet again. To pinch pennies, Avon created two lovely covers from the same original photo, a decade and a half apart.

cover twinning
The Barefoot Bride, Rebecca Paisley, Avon, 1990, Max Ginsburg cover art
copy cat covers
Wild and Wicked in Scotland, Melody Thomas, 2007, cover artist TBD

Your Opinion

What do you think of these copy-cat covers? What are your favorites? Who did it better, the original or the copy? Please drop us a comment, and let’s talk romance.

1 thought on “Different Books, Same Cover #2

  1. Mary Anne Landers

    Thanks, Jacqueline. In each case, I like the original cover better.

    Even the Renato Aime one, in which the picture remains the same. But on the second cover the text is too big, too fancy. It overwhelms the image, making it less effective. On the first cover the text is big and bold enough to do its job, but no more. It allows the artwork to do ITS job!

    Recycling cover art doesn’t really bother me. Certainly not compared to problems like bad composition, lack of emotion, or anachronism. Or covers that were obviously painted or drawn in a hurry. Or unconvincing emotion; the models are supposed to be in the throes of passion, but it just doesn’t ring true.

    But these are the exceptions, not the rule. Most of my complaints about cover art belong to those of today’s romance covers. Not those of vintage romances.

    And don’t get me started on that!


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