Sweet Savage Flame’s Best of 2022

2022

Sweet Savage Flame Looks Back at 2022

The old year is over, and a new year has begun. We’re excited about the fun stuff we have coming up for this blog! Sweet Savage Flame and lovers of retro-romance books have lots to look forward to in 2023.

In the meantime, let’s look back at our highest-ranking articles and our five star reads from 2022.

Our Top 5 Articles


21-cover-artist-to-know

Cover Artists

21 Old-School Cover Artists Every Romance Reader Should Know

This articles lists some of the best romance cover artists of all time. It is limited to historical romance illustrators who primarily worked in the last third of the 20th century, however. These 21 entries provide a starting point for the novice learner.


rob ashton

Cover Models

Male Romance Cover Model: Rob Ashton

In the 1990s and the 2000s, Rob Ashton was, for a while, the new King of romance cover models after Fabio officially retired from modeling for romance covers. Our article covering his life and career was one of the more popular posts of 2022.

Rob Ashton was a stunning figure of a man at six feet tall and 200 lbs. with long black hair and hazel-green eyes. He was of Cherokee Indian, English, and Irish descent, a beautiful combination. Sadly, Ashton’s career and life ended too soon.

We’ll be highlighting the careers of more cover models in 2023.


barbara cartland movies

Romance Novel Movies

Romance Novels on Screen: Barbara Cartland

We wrote a few articles in 2022 about retro romance books that were adapted to the screen in the 20th century. Of the three published, the Barbara Cartland posting resonated most.

Five of Cartland’s books were adapted for television films. Most are available to watch on YouTube.

  • The Flame Is Love 
  • A Hazard of Hearts 
  • The Lady and the Highwayman
  • A Ghost in Monte Carlo
  • Duel of Hearts


hard to find romance novels

Rare Books

Most Expensive and/ or Hard to Find Out-of-Print Romances

In another post that was a big hit, Sweet Savage Flame covered some of the hardest-to-find and most expensive romance novels. Demand for these rare books is always in flux, affecting asking prices, so a new article about the used-paperback market is on the horizon.

  • Judy Cuevas – Dance $150 – $300
  • Beverly Jenkins  Indigo (Original 1996 Avon edition) $200 – ??? GOOD LUCK!
  • Beverly Jenkins – Night Song (Original 1994 Avon edition ) $150 – ??? GOOD LUCK!
  • Lisa Kleypas – Where Passion Leads $250 – $500
  • Lisa Kleypas – Forever My Love $100- $250
  • Christine Monson – Stormfire $100 – $250 & GOOD LUCK!
  • Francine Rivers – Hearts Divided $150 – $200
  • Francine Rivers – This Golden Valley $90 – $200
  • Francine Rivers – Sarina $100 – $200
  • Nora Roberts – Promise Me Tomorrow $90 – $150
  • Day Taylor – The Black Swan $100 – $150
  • Rosalind Welles – Entwined Destinies $150 – $300

Our 5 Star Romance Reviews of 2022

Sweet Savage Flame posted over 100 book reviews in 2022.

As we read old-school and vintage romances, some of these are bound to be re-reads. But many of thsee old romances we enjoyed for the first time in 2022.

Let’s take a look at these fantastic love stories written 25 to 45 years ago that we reviewed and rated as 5-star reads last year.


5-Star Contemporary/Category Romance

Unfortunately, this year we were so busy with multiple projects that we didn’t get a chance to read as many contemporary romances as we had planned.

Therefore, only three books were rated as 5-star reads, and they are all category romances we’ve read before. In 2023,we’ll get to more retro contemporary romances.

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Devil in a Silver Room, Violet Winspear, Harlequin, 1973, Don Sinclair cover art

5-Star Historical Romances

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Ride the Free Wind, Rosanne Bittner, Zebra, Robert Sabin cover art

As for historical romances, fortunately we read plenty of those in 2022. We don’t DNF, so there were several clunkers. Mostly we had a pleasant year of nostalgic reads. There were a dozen 5-star reviews from our staff–which is considerable, since we’re nitpicky!

  1. My Name is Clary Brown by Charlotte Keppel
  2. River of Love by Rosanne Bittner
  3. Lone Star Surrender by Carol Finch
  4. The Golden Sovereigns by Jocelyn Carew
  5. White Lion’s Lady by Lara Adrian (aka Tina St. John)
  6. Ride the Free Wind by Rosanne Bittner
  7. Cherish Me, Embrace Me by Sylvie F. Sommerfield
  8. Dangerous Obsession by Natasha Peters
  9. Rebel Vixen by Dana Ransom
  10. Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
  11. Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
  12. Captive Angel by Deana James

5-Star Classic Review

the sheik
The Sheik, E. M. Hull, 1919

The Sheik by Edith M. Hull

One standout from 2022 is having read the 1919 classic The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull. We reviewed this seminal romance in April and cannot give it enough praise. Yes, the modern -day reader may label it “problematic” or “toxic,” but we got a kick out of it. It’s a great romance in our eyes.

The Sheik is the grandmother of the bodice ripper. If not for the closed-door bedroom scenes, this book would have fit right in with the romances penned in the 1970s.

In 1921, the silent film adaptation of the novel starring Agnes Ayres came out. The Sheik catapulted Rudolph Valentino’s career into movie stardom.


Your Opinion

We’re looking forward to looking back in time in 2023. Expect plenty more reviews for old-school romance novel, plus articles and best-of-lists.

How do you think we did in 2022? What would you like to see in 2023?

As always, please drop a comment and let’s talk romance.

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