Tag Archives: great book purge


Covers of the Week #91: Beverly Jenkins

We’re highlighting these stunning covers of Beverly Jenkins’ historical romances from the 1990s for Black History Month.

 beverly jenkins

Theme: Beverly Jenkins Early Historicals

Beverly Jenkins’ historical romance covers always get the five-star treatment. They’re not stepbacks, which is unusual for one of Avon’s preeminent authors. Especially one who’s been with the publishers for 30 years.

But they’re so darn pretty; hiding them behind a plain exterior cover wouldn’t be right, anyway.

A Trip Back to 1994

I remember picking up her first book, Night Song, in 1994 at the old Genovese Drug Store. While I had little time to read for pleasure as a high school student, it was now Summer. Plus, I had a job, so I had time and money to spend for once.

I’d already read Johanna Lindsey‘s Surrender My Love, which I’d purchased the month before. Scanning the shelves for something new, I stopped, surprised at seeing Beverly Jenkins’ book, as I’d never seen a black couple on the cover of a romance before.

In the many romance books I read, I’d encountered numerous Latino heroes and heroines, not to mention in the Biancas (Spanish Harlequins) I gifted my mother to read (she never did).


There were many Native American characters, too, as there was a whole subgenre about them. Ditto, North African & Middle Eastern Sheiks. And occasionally South & East Asian protagonists, but never Black or African-American ones.

I enjoyed Night Song, although I’m fuzzy on some details. (It has been three decades!) I’ve thought it over the years, though, lamenting what a rare collector’s item a 1st edition copy of Beverly Jenkins’ first romance would have been.

To my misfortune, it was one of the 100s of casualties lost in The Great Book Purge after I left High School to go to College. But that’s another story.

The Covers

(Apologies for uploading this post two days late!)

For Monday, February 20, 2023, to Sunday, February 26, 2023, we’re selecting these beautiful Beverly Jenkins historical romance covers from the 1990s for this Covers of the Week theme. Enjoy!

Beverly Jenkins Covers (from Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

  • Vivid, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 1995, artist unknown
  • The Taming of Jessi Rose, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 1999, artist unknown
  • Indigo, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 1996, artist unknown
  • A Chance at Love, Beverly Jenkins, Avon, 2000, artist unknown

Your Opinion?

What do you think of this week’s theme of Beverly Jenkin’s early romances? Do any of the covers stand out to you as a favorite? Mine is in Indigo. The roses and the purple gown are charming.

Have a recommendation for a future Covers of the Week theme? Let us know, and we’ll try it out.

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

most expensive book

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

We’ve assembled a price list for first edition romance novels that are collector’s items. These out of print books are among some of the most expensive romance novels you can find.

hard to find romance novels

The Great Book Purge of 1995

My Teenage Romance Novel Collection

At Sweet Savage Flame, we’ve previously talked about where to look for vintage romance novels.

When I was 17 years old, I amassed a library of over 500 first-edition romance novels.

I had spent all my teenage years curating my collection, subscribing to monthly book clubs, trading novels with friends, and scouring the bookstores at malls and shopping centers (most are now defunct, like B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and Borders, although Barnes-and-Noble is still around). Not to mention searching stationery stores, drug stores, supermarkets, and UBSes (used bookstores). Plus, thrift shops, hospitals, libraries, and garage sales for rare and coveted titles!

But not the internet, since the years I collected them (1990 to 1995) were back in “ye olden days” of the 1900s.

hard to find book tender is the storm mcginnis
Even the out of print romance, Tender is the Storm–the McGinnis version, where the hero does unspeakable things to the heroine’s boobies–was tossed!

When I left for college in August of 1995 I made the mistake of leaving my beloved books at home. There were category romances: Harlequin Temptations, Presents, and Romances; Silhouette Desires; and Bantam Loveswepts.

Of course, there were historicals: I subscribed to Harlequin Historicals and Zebra Lovegrams. And so many first editions: Johanna Lindsey, Rebecca Brandewyne, Jude Deveraux, and Catherine Coulter, as well as newer authors like Lisa Kleypas and Beverly Jenkins.

Plus, all my juicy Jackie Collins novels and V.C. Andrews’s original keyhole stepbacks.

Gone With the Wind! (No, I Borrowed That One From the Library)

My father, thinking they were just useless paperbacks cluttering up the house, threw them all out. He had no idea that my collection was worth a small fortune, with some of the most expensive romances a collector would cherish. Those first editions with the original cover art and the foil-embossed covers, all those now-priceless stepbacks, and my copy of The Thornbirds with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward on the front…all gone!

vintage book thorn birds

I refer to that loss as The Great Book Purge. Even though I’ve recouped some of the books, it came at a price. The loss still haunts me to this day.

That experience taught me the value of vintage book collecting and the importance of educating others on the worth of literary treasures.

Vintage Romance Book Collecting

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most difficult first-edition old-school paperback romance novels to track down. They are hard to find, expensive, and rare. Some of these books we’re lucky to have in our collection, and others we once had and sold or lost (how foolish!).

The original editions of these romances are (obviously) out-of-print and hard to find. If you do, they will be very expensive if you purchase them via mail-order.

One negative is that you can never be sure what condition they’ll be in when you get them.

Out in the wild, at thrift stores, etc., you may find them for a bargain. In pristine condition, no less. If you do, snatch them up!

And finally, there are those we’d pay our weight in gold to have. (Well, birth weight, anyway! ­čśť)

The Flesh and the Devil, Teresa Denys, St Martin’s Press

Out-Of-Print Or First Editions Priced from $15 to $40

Castles in the Air, Christina Dodd, Robert Maguire cover art

Hard to Find Books That Will Cost About $40-50+

  • Lisa KleypasGive Me Tonight $35-$60
  • Lisa KleypasLove, Come to Me $65- $80
  • Francine RiversRedeeming Love $50 – $70
    • (Original only)
  • Francine RiversHeart In Hiding $30 – $90
  • Francine RiversKathleen $25 – $75
  • Francine RiversSycamore Hill $30 – $60
  • Janet Louise Roberts / Louisa BronteHer Demon Lover $30 – $50
    • Depends on which version (Regular Avon Gothic or Avon Satanic Gothic)
  • June Lund ShiplettJourney to Yesterday 1977 $20-$50
  • Tracy WestA Lesson In Love $35 – $90
    • Original Version, Silhouette First Love,1982
  • Patricia VaughanShadows On the Bayou $50- $60
  • Valerie VayleNight Fire $60 – $90

The Great White Whales of Romance Novels $100+

(aka)┬áRomances That Are Darn Near Impossible to Find–and If You Do, You’ll Have to Pay A Lot

  • Judy Cuevas Dance $150 – $300
  • Beverly Jenkins Indigo $200 – GOOD LUCK!
    • (Original) Avon
  • Beverly JenkinsNight Song $150 – GOOD LUCK!
    • (Original) Avon, 1994
rare romance book night-song-beverly-jenkins
  • Nicole JordanVelvet Embrace $70 – $100
    • Original 1987 Zebra Edition
  • Lisa KleypasWhere Passion Leads $250 – $500
  • Lisa KleypasForever My Love $100- $250
  • Francine RiversHearts Divided $150 – $200
  • Francine RiversThis Golden Valley $90 – $200
  • Francine RiversSarina $100 – $200
  • Day TaylorThe Black Swan $100 – $150
  • Rosalind WellesEntwined Destinies $150 – $300
promise me tomorrow
Promise Me Tomorrow, Nora Roberts, Pocket Books, Elaine Gignilliat cover art

Your Opinion

What do you think of these expensive, hard-to-find romances? Would you pay that much for these books?

What hard-to-find, out-of-print books did we miss? Do you own any of these romance novels?

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