Here in the United States, March is recognized as Irish Heritage Month. This week also sees the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, who is the patron Saint of Ireland. It’s a day when everyone celebrates Irish heritage, even if they have none. It’s a day of good cheer and festivity.
To take part in some of the fun this week, Sweet Savage Flame takes a look at romance book covers featuring Irish heroes or heroines.
For the week of Monday, March 14, 2022, to Sunday, March 26, 2020, let’s appreciate some romance covers featuring American-set romances with protagonists of Irish ancestry.
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 all the illustrators for her 1990s books. Avon has a spotty track record identifying cover artists.
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, Steve Assel cover art
I encountered Jones’ gorgeous art while reading Harlequin Historical romances as a preteen. Highland Heather andStranger In My Arms are two exquisite examples of his covers. They are forever etched in my memory. (As we’ve reviewed/highlighted those books before, we omitted them from this week’s showcase).
Only recently did I discover who this illustrator was. Since there are many George Joneses in the world, including several artists of distinction, it took some time to track down his information.
George Jones, Life & Career
George Jones was originally from Chicago and served in the Korean War. Later on, he moved with his family to Milford, CT. Jones broke into the New York City commercial art world in the 1970s. By the end of the decade, he produced illustrations for big publishers includingDell, Simon & Schuster, and Pocket Books.
Readers familiar with Silhouette Intimate Moments, Pocket Books’ Tapestry imprint, and early Harlequin Historicals should recognize his artwork. He produced covers for Fern Michaels, Janet Dailey, Nora Roberts, and many other popular authors. Jones passed away in 1993.
Jones’ use of light, bright colors (especially reds, golds, and purples), his unique brush strokes, and the hazy, dreamlike mood of his subjects combines to create memorable romantic tableaux.
Whenever I come upon a new Jones cover, it is like celebrating Christmas, Halloween, and a single-digit birthday party all at once. There is no way to express the elation and admiration I feel when coming upon some never-before-seen Jones cover art.
For the week of Monday, January 31, 2022, to Sunday, February 6, 2022, we’re delighted to display the glorious handiwork of George Jones.
The Covers from Left to Right, Top to Bottom
Sweet Seduction, Julie Tetel, Harlequin, 1993
Heart of the Raven, Diane Wicker Davis, Avon, 1989