Tag Archives: Cover Artist Robert McGinnis

Link: The Art of Robert E. McGinnis by Robert McGinnis and Art Scott

Review by Introvert Reader

The Art of Robert McGinnis, Robert McGinnis & Art Scott, Titan Books, 2014

For lovers of throwback historical and gothic romances, vintage pulpy reads and spy thrillers, or old movies and magazines, the name Robert McGinnis might be familiar. If it isn’t, then his works of art surely are.

The Art of Robert E. McGinnis by Robert McGinnis and Art Scott — Introvert Reader

A Master Artist

For lovers of throwback historical and gothic romances, vintage pulpy reads and spy thrillers, or old movies and magazines, the name Robert McGinnis might be familiar. But if it isn’t, then his works of art are. I consider McGinnis, along with H. Tom Hall and Elaine Duillo, the holy triumvirate of old-school pulp-gothic-romance cover illustrators, although who is the best can be debated.

The Art of Robert McGinnis is a glorious book depicting hundreds of beautiful McGinnis images.

Born in 1926, McGinnis has spent over 70 years creating book covers for almost every genre, magazine illustrations, portraits, and movie posters, such as the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” featuring Audrey Hepburn. He has worked almost exclusively in tempera paints.

robert mcginnis
Breakfast At Tiffany’s Movie Poster

After the paperback was introduced into the US by Pocket Books in 1939, the business model was for tasteful illustrations, and chic graphic design, almost like mini hardcovers.

When other publishers like Dell and Fawcett began producing their paperbacks, they appealed to a more pulp/comic-book-oriented market. McGinnis’s art was tailor-made for these kinds of books, especially the hardboiled mysteries.

Romance Book Covers and More

He started with covers for characters Mike Shane, Perry Mason, and Carter Brown, grew into spy thrillers like James Bond, and eventually entered the romance genre.

It was a logical choice, as McGinnis had a talent for depicting the feminine form most erotically (as well as males). He started in Gothics and then soon became the first Bodice ripper illustrator for works by Kathleen E. Woodiwss, like The Flame and the Flower:

Cover of The Flame and the Flower

And later, The Wolf and the Dove:

Artwork for The Wolf and the Dove

But he became super notorious for his Johanna Lindsey covers, starting with Fires of Winter (Haardrad Viking Family, #1) by Johanna Lindsey, which began a rage of naked men covers, where the hero would wear less clothing than the heroine. I loved that cover and remember sketching it over and over as a young teen. Supposedly, he painted this one where both hero and heroine were nude and had to cover up the heroine as an afterthought. No matter, I always thought the sight of those pale, naked men’s thighs was one of the most arousing things I’d ever seen. I eternally prefer them to jacked-up bare chests that inundate so many modern covers.

Fires of Winter Artwork

McGinnis’s cover for Lindsey’s Tender Is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey was hugely controversial, with many stores refusing to sell the book. Stickers had to be sent to booksellers to cover up the hero’s naked butt. (It does look like the hero is giving the heroine a gold ole titty bang, doesn’t it?


Besides Gothics and Bodice Rippers, other famous books McGinnis illustrated were epics like The Clan of the Cave BearMandalay, and The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, which required extravagant wraparound covers in intimate detail.

Lover of the Female Form

Whatever modern art enthusiasts may have to say about McGinnis, there is no denying that he adored the female form. “The McGinnis woman” was plastered on hundreds of covers. Lawrence Block of the NY Times notes on the back of The Art of Robert McGinnis, “[He] can paint anything– a movie poster, a western landscape–and draw you in. But when he paints a woman, he makes you fall in love.”

“The McGinnis Woman is a mix of a Greek goddess and man-eating Ursula Andress. While today she might be interpreted as a sex object or adornment, she was conceived, in her day, to represent the empowered woman. The McGinnis Woman possesses a whirling narrative force all her own, a perfumed cyclone of sexuality, savvy, mystery, and danger. She also sells books—lots and lots of books.”

(Source: Vanity Fair)

More Than a Book Illustrator

Besides his hundreds of book covers, McGinnis is responsible for famous movie posters such as the aforementioned “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Odd Couple,” “Barbarella,” several Blaxploitation films, and most famously, the James Bond films.

I’m a Roger Moore fan (of course I would be), and I like this one from “Live and Let Die,” although McGinnis’s representation of Jane Seymour as Solitaire is slightly off.

“Live and Let Die” artwork for movie poster

Some of my favorites:

The Girl Who Cried Wolf:


Cotton Comes to Harlem:

As Old as Cain: (The woman is depicted after Goldie Hawn, the man after James Coburn. Can you tell?)

And this is McGinnis’s own favorite picture:

A Cat with No Name:

Opinion on The Art of Robert McGinnis

Don’t be fooled by the raunchy pictures and book covers. McGinnis has a fine eye for land and seascapes and personal portraits, as he painted Princess Diana.

I enjoy art, but I’m certainly no expert on it. I see what I like and know I like it. For me, Robert McGinnis is a genius of the 20th century, and hopefully, his legacy will live on for ages to come.

Historical Romance Review: So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Medieval Romance
Pages: 358
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks

Historical Romance Review: So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey

Spoiler & Major Douchebag Hero Alert ⚠

Caveat Emptor

I acknowledge that not all readers can tolerate a cruel, rapacious hero in their romance; that’s why I gave a rare warning for this book. It’s fair to compare So Speaks the Heart (which should be subtitled: Medieval Norman Psychopath Falls for French Co-Dependent and Fellow Anger Management Classmate) to another of Johanna Lindsey‘s works, A Pirate’s Love, which had a similar captor/captive trope.

However, So Speaks the Heart is–IMO–better than the latter because:

  1. This heroine is not a spineless jellyfish; she fights back and is strong in her own way.
  2. The hero is more than just a good-looking rapist who eventually falls in love with the woman he’s been tormenting.

Ok, he’s as deep as a crack in the sidewalk, and, yeah, he’s still a bully and a douche. But his background is fleshed out a lot more; therefore, we understand why he’s such an arsehole. So I can sort of forgive this hunk of a warrior for his caveman behavior. Plus, this is not a book to take seriously; it’s too whacktastic.

The heroine is spunky, although not in a too-feisty-she’s-annoying-way. She gives as good as she gets to a hero who is a thick-headed block of wood.

The Violent Hero

After his life is saved in battle, Sir Rowland de Montfort vows to repay his savior by visiting the knight’s castle and ensuring all is well with the knight’s beloved sister, Brigitte. Instead, greedy relatives trick Rowland into believing Lady Brigitte is, in fact, a trouble-causing serf.

Rather than listen to reason, the dude is dead set against hearing anything the filthy “peasant” has to say. Rowland is a crazy character and would be diagnosed today with Borderline Personality Disorder and maybe Narcissistic Personality Disorder as well.

He goes from spouting things like this:

“On the contrary. I know a woman can have sweet words when she wants something, and that otherwise, she is a bitch. No, I want no wife nagging at me. I would sooner rot in hell than marry.”

To being nice:

He brought his hand up and caressed her cheek with his fingers. “For you I will change…”

There was a long, surprised pause, and then she asked, “Why?”

“To see you smile more often.”

To back to being crazy, this time rapey and violent:

“Before Brigitte could find the words to plead with him, Rowland’s belt descended on her back. She gasped and cried out.”

He’s crazed and all over the place. Most sane readers would stop after one of Rowland’s brutal outbursts, but for some reason, I went on, fascinated. Rowland is a primitive Dark Ages knight who believes he has a right to treat disrespectful servants with discipline, as he is the son of a powerful lord. Rowland refuses to believe Brigitte is who she claims she is because he’d prefer to think he’s merely kidnapped and violated a serf girl rather than pissing all over his “honor” by abusing the sister of the man who saved his life.

The Beyond Feisty Heroine

Rowland is cruel to Brigitte, but she doesn’t cower or cry. She knows she is a lady and rages at the injustice of her situation. Although perhaps her reactions are not “lady-like,” she responds with righteous anger:

“I do not ever want to hurt you!” he said furiously. “You force me to it!”

“Oh, of course, milord,” she said, just as furiously. “I am the cause of all my pain. I even beat myself.” He stepped toward her menacingly, but she stood her ground. “What? Am I going to beat myself again, milord?”

“You are awfully saucy for a wench who has just been beaten.” He frowned. Her eyes grew larger.

“Norman bastard! If I were a man I would kill you!”

Rowland’s not the only one who catches Brigitte’s ire. When catty ladies call Brigitte a bitch, she gives it right back:

Brigitte laughed humorlessly. “Well, perhaps a bitch is what I am, but of the two of us, you are the whore. I have heard the gossip about you, and surely Rowland has, too.”

Hey, at least they have being jerks in common. That’s a soli6yd basis for a stable, long-lasting relationship, right?

Final Analysis of So Speaks the Heart

So Speaks the Heart is a no-holds-barred, non-PC, old-school romance. If this kind of stuff melts your twisted heart, regardless of how dickish the hero’s been:

But there was a rage in him that fought to be released, the rage of a little boy begging for love, the rage of a little boy beaten, scorned, humiliated cruelly. All of it, his rage reminded him, need not have been.

Then you might enjoy the emotional ride.

Rowland denies his actions against Brigitte were cruel or excessive. In the end, though, he realizes what a jerk he was and tries to become a changed man when he realizes he’s in love. Rowland does get a sort of comeuppance, a humbling, where he comprehends how badly the situation was FUBAR’d.

He does a decent grovel at the end, if that matters. Not that I think groveling makes up for all of Rowland’s misdeeds, but this is a romance novel, a fantasy, so reality has no bearing in this story.

“What do you want to hear from me? That I could not bear to see you go? That if you are not near me I feel as if a part of myself is gone? I am a man of war, Brigitte. I know nothing of tender words. So do not expect them from me.”

“You just said them, Rowland,” she whispered softly.

I’m twisted. Plus, I have bad taste, so I like this sort of thing. It’s understandable if this book turns you off; it certainly didn’t turn me on!

This was a dark descent into the minds of two beautiful, self-centered people who lived in a time where, perhaps, such brutal, fanciful events could occur. I kept turning the pages to the very end. I’m not sure about So Speaks the Heart as a romance, but as a character study, it’s fascinating.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.1


Born a wealthy French heiress but betrayed into bondage, Brigitte de Louroux swears she will never be any man’s slave. Rugged and powerful Rowland of Montville sees only a beautiful enchantress in peasant’s rags–a wench to serve his every need. Defenseless against his unbridled passions, Brigitte is forced to yield her innocence to the desires the warrior lord arouses in her heart. But her surrender will vanquish the handsome knight–awakening within him a love as mighty and relentless as his conquering sword

So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
johanna lindsey

Author Spotlight: Johanna Lindsey

johanna lindsey
Johanna Lindsey

A Historical Romance Favorite

I still mourn the passing of a romance-genre great, Johanna Lindsey. Lindsey holds a special place in my heart, more so than any other historical romance author.

Oddly enough, the first Lindsey I read was not a historical romance but her science-fantasy romance, Warrior’s Woman. I vividly recall June 1990, as this was four months into my introduction to the romance genre. I loved Tedra and her kickass attitude, Martha’s irreverent humor, Challen’s stoic nature–which broke only when he thought his kerima was dying–and the steamy love scenes!

After that, her books became an addiction for me.

warrior's Woman
Warrior’s Woman, Johanna Lindsey, Avon. 1990, Elaine Duillo cover art

It’s no wonder that her publishers labeled her with the motto “Everyone Loves a Lindsey.” She reached the #1 position on the New York Times Best Seller list with Defy Not the HeartAngel, and others. Lindsey sold over 60 million copies of her approximately 56 published romance novels. Her works were translated into at least a dozen different languages.

Life, Love, Family, & Career

Lindsey was born Johanna Helen Howard on March 10, 1952, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Edwin Dennis Howard, a soldier in the U.S. Army, and his wife, Wanda Lindsey (nee Castle). After her father died in 1964, Lindsey and her mother settled in Hawaii, as her father had always dreamed of doing.

While still attending high school, at the age of 18, Lindsey met her one true love, Ralph Bruce Lindsey. They married soon after. The couple had three sons: Alfred, Joseph, and Garret. Lindsey would lovingly dedicate many of her books to her family members.

captive bride
Captive Bride, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1977, Robert McGinnis cover art

Lindsey’s first historical romance, Captive Bride, an homage to E.M. Hull’s The Sheik, was published in 1977 by Avon. It was a smash sensation, and Lindsey quickly followed up her desert fantasy with a pirate and then a Viking romance, A Pirate’s Love and Fires of Winter.

“I started writing as a hobby,” she once said. “I never thought of being a writer when I was young. Now I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

Every single one of her books made it to the bestseller lists.

Sadly, Lindsey’s husband died tragically young in 1994. After Ralph’s passing, Lindsey moved to Maine to be closer to her sons.

More changes were to follow. In 2001, after producing 37 books with Avon for over 24 years, Lindsey switched over to big-name publisher Simon & Schuster.

Johhana lindsey & Tom E Huff Browne Popular Culture Library @ BGSU
Johanna Lindsey and Tom Huff (Jennifer Wilde)

Old School Bodice Ripper Legend

Although insular, shy, and sometimes reclusive, Lindsey was a champion of the romance industry. She always respected the writers who came before her. When asked who her favorite authors were, she responded: “Kathleen Woodwiss and Rosemary Rogers, who started this wonderful genre.”

As the years passed, however, some would deride the “bodice rippers” that had revolutionized the romance world. Lindsey, like all authors, had her detractors. The beautiful painted covers of her books would be dismissed as “gaudy” by those who felt the images of naked men and women with heaving breasts somehow diminished the romance genre.

Her novels have also been attacked for being “problematic,” which can mean many things to many people.

But, despite the naysayers, Lindsey has her staunch defenders. “Johanna’s strong, feminist heroines were revolutionaries in their own right — fighting for partnership, respect, and happily ever after,” author Sarah McLean has said. “These were heroines who captained their own fate… They lived fearlessly, fought passionately, and loved with abandon… And they inspired millions of us to do the same.”

The Lindsey Cover: A Thing of Beauty

A Lindsey cover was a thing of wonder. The talented artist Robert McGinnis painted the covers of 13 of her books. The first two, Captive Bride and A Pirate’s Love, were tame compared to the “naked man” phase that started with Fires of Winter.

fires of winter
Fires of Winter, Robert McGinnis cover art

Some of her book covers were quite racy and controversial. As a result, many booksellers refused to sell Tender is the Storm. So to cover up the hero’s rear, stickers were provided by the publisher. Further printings would have the cover emblazoned with a golden starburst.

tender is the storm mcginnis
Tender is the Storm, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1985, Robert McGinnis cover art

A Gentle Feuding was not released in the U.S. in its original form, where the hero Jamie is fully naked. However, other nations were not so censorious.

Gentle Feuding spanish cover
Una dulce enemistad, Spanish language version of A Gentle feuding
a gentle feuding johanna lindsey
A Gentle Feuding, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1984, Robert McGinnis cover art

With the release of Hearts Aflame, the sequel to Fires of Winter, Lindsey’s cover artist changed from McGinnis to Elaine Duillo. Duillo famously used Fabio Lanzoni as the male cover model for many of Lindsey’s books.

johanna lindsey hearts-aflame-duillo
Hearts Aflame, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1987, Elaine Duillo cover art, cover model Fabio

Starting with Once a Princess, Lindsey’s books would have stepback covers. Duillo would get a little more graphic with her work, as she did for the interior of Man of My Dreams.

man of my dreams
Stepback interior, Man of My Dreams, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1992, Elaine Duillo cover art, cover model Fabio

Farewell to Johanna

In 1994, 24 years into their marriage, Lindsey’s husband, Ralph, passed away at the young age of 45. Johanna outlived him by another quarter of a decade. She never remarried. Somehow, her books were never quite the same after his death.

After Johanna left Avon for Simon & Schuster, her books were tamer, with less dominant heroes. She consequently changed into a different type of romance author for a different era.

Despite the transformations in her career and craft, Johanna had millions of devoted fans who loved her works. I will always be one of them.

Near the end of her life, Lindsey moved from Maine to reside in Nashua, New Hampshire. On October 27, 2019, she passed away at the age of 67 due to lung cancer. Lindsey left behind three sons, several grandchildren, and millions who cherish her memory.

Her final book, Temptation’s Darling, was released in July 2019.

temptations darling
Temptation’s Darling

Readers all throughout the world have fond memories of Johanna Lindsey’s amazing escapist romances. Hopefully, today’s readers will embrace the escapism that provided joy to prior generations.

For more information about Johanna Lindsey and for reviews of her books, visit our Johanna Lindsey Page.

Your Opinion

Are you a fan of Johanna Lindsey’s books? If so, what are your favorites? Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.

heart so wild

Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1986
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Book Series: Stratton Family #1
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: A Heart So Wild by Johanna Lindsey


The Book

I just realized I had Johanna Lindsey‘s western romance A Heart So Wild on my Kindle. Since I hadn’t read it in 25 years, I figured why not give it a re-read?

And you know what? I loved this book more the second time around than the first.

The Plot

Why did I enjoy A Heart So Wild that much?

  • Heroine & hero “meet” when the heroine, Courtney, is getting sexually assaulted by an outlaw. What does the hero do? He sees a man messing with a woman and right away shoots the bad guy dead.
  • Enigmatic hero with a mysterious and tragic past.
  • The heroine needs a gunslinger to guide her through hostile Indian territory to find her missing father.
  • The hero, Chandos, fights, beats, and kills men who try to kidnap or try to rape the heroine.
  • A snakebite where the heroine sucks the blood out of the hero’s wound for an hour (!), and then he gets sick, revealing more in his fever dreams than he would if he was fine.
  • Quick love scenes that express passion, aren’t too purple in prose, and don’t go on for endless pages.

This western trek romance takes us through the deserts and wilderness as Courtney and Chandos travel to find her long-lost father. A Heart So Wild is more of a character-driven than a plot-driven romance, which is fine by me.

I’m so glad I gave this one a reread, as it made me remember why for such a long time, Johanna Lindsey was my favorite author: she’s easy to read. Sometimes reading is a chore, and it shouldn’t be if it’s a hobby I supposedly love.

The Characters

Courtney is a pleasant enough type. She grows on you as the story develops. And Chandos is just… Well, he’s the kind of hero that made Lindsey sell tens of millions of books.

He’s a hard nut to crack, but once Chandos falls, he falls hard and forever. Still, he retains that stubborn arrogance that was a trademark of the heroes in the first half of Lindey’s career.

“You’re my woman, cateyes. You’ve been my woman since I first laid eyes on you.”

That didn’t satisfy her. “Say it!”

He grinned and jerked her down onto his lap, where she sat stiffly, waiting, until at last he said, “I love you. Is that what you want to hear? I love you so much I’ve got no direction without you.”

“Oh, Chandos.” She melted against him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I love—”

“Uh-uh.” He stopped her. “You better think real carefully before you say anything, cateyes, because if you give me your love, I’m not going to let you take it back. I can’t keep worrying about whether or not I can make you happy. I’ll try my best but there isn’t going to be any changing your mind later. Do you understand what I’m saying? If you’re going to be my woman, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever let you go.”

Final Analysis of A Heart So Wild

Chandos is a wonderful Lindsey hero. Courtney is a likable, strong-willed heroine. Together they make for a sizzling combination.

Johanna Lindsey would revisit Courtney and Chandos in All I Need Is You, which tells the tale of their bounty-hunter daughter. That book was okay.

A Heart So Wild is one of Lindsey’s best, of which there are many!

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.6


Courtney Harte is certain her missing father is a alive, lost somewhere deep in Indian territory. But she needs a guide to lead her safely through this dangerous, unfamiliar country, someone as wild and unpredictable as the land itself. And that man is the gunslinger they call Chandos.

Courtney fears this enigmatic loner whose dark secrets torture his soul, yet whose eyes, bluer than the frontier sky, enflame the innocent, determined lady with wanton desires. But on the treacherous path they have chosen they have no one to trust but each other–as shared perils to their lives and hearts unleash turbulent, unbridled, passions that only love can tame.

CATEGORIES: , , , , , , , ,