Tag Archives: Hollywood

movies based on books

Movies Based on Romance Novels, Part II: Best-Selling Authors

movies based on books

Harlequin Romance Movies

We’ve found more movies based on romance novels. These are adapted from bestselling bookd in the 1980s.

By the mid-1970s, the romance genre was hot, from historical romances to family sagas to Gothics to category romances.

It was no surprise when Hollywood would come knocking at the door. Despite the vast number of romance novels written and sold, surprisingly few of them were adapted to the screen.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, there would be a smattering of romance novels turned into movies, from Harlequin, Pocket Books, and other publishers.

Leopard in the Snow by Anne Mather, 1974

The Book

Mildred Grieves, better known to romance readers as Anne Mather, was Harlequin’s best-selling author in the 1970s. Her Harlequin Presents novels were fresh, exciting, and sensual.

Her 1974 romance, Leopard In the Snow, was a hit with readers. It has been republished several times and was–at one point–available on Kindle, although it doesn’t appear to be so now. The original edition of this book is highly prized, hard to find, and expensive if you do.

leopardinsnow
Leopard in the Snow, Anne Mather, Harlequin, Don Sinclair art

The Plot

Helen simply couldn’t believe her eyes when, stranded in the snow in the wilds of Cumberland, she found herself confronted by a leopard! But luckily it was a tame one, and its owner, the mysterious Dominic Lyall, was able to offer Helen shelter in his house.

Soon, however, the situation turned into a nightmare as she realized that he intended to keep her there, virtually a prisoner – and no one had any idea where to start searching for her! How could she get away? And, as time went by, did she want to get away?

Yet she was only too well aware that if Dominic did decide to let her go, it would only be because he wanted to get rid of her for good…

Leopard In the Snow by Anne Mather
harlequin romance movie
Leopard in the Snow, Anne Mather, Mills & Boon, 1974, cover artist unknown

The Film

This Harlequin Presents romance was made into a 1978 romance movie starring Keir Dullea, star of 2001, A Space Odyssey, and Susan Penhaligon.

harlequin romance movies
Leopard in the Snow, Anne Mather, Mills & Boon, 1978, movie-tie edition

The film wasn’t very profitable and garnered mixed reviews. It would be a long while before Harlequin romance movies would hit the screens again.

You can watch Leopard In the Snow on YouTube.

Leopard in the Snow, film

Janet Dailey Romances Made Into Films

English-born Anne Mather sold millions of books worldwide for Harlequin. She had an American counterpart in Janet Dailey. By the end of the 1970s, Dailey was Harlequin’s only American writer and an extremely popular one.

After producing more than 50 books with Harlequin, Dailey signed a massive deal with Simon & Schuster to write category and full-length romances for their Pocket Books Division and new Silhouette imprint.

She and her husband Bill developed a movie studio of their own, Ramblin’ Films, to produce their own films.

Foxfire Light by Janet Dailey, 1983

The Book

Janet Dailey‘s Silhouette Special Edition #36, Foxfire Light, was from 1982 and was the Daileys’ first foray into filmmaking.

foxfire light
Foxfire Light, Janet Dailey, Silhouette Special Edition #36, 1982, cover artist unknown

The Plot

The original Special Edition version is hard to find, but the book is available on Kindle.

BUY FOXFIRE LIGHT

foxfire light
Foxfire Light, Janet Dailey, Kindle version

The Film

In the wooded Ozark hills Joanna met proud-hearted Linc Wilder. His gold-flecked eyes mocked her, his country-born spirit clashed with her city-wise ways. His lean body challenged her, sparking her senses till Joanna was as sweetly glowing as the foxfire that lit their nights.

This was no will-o’-the-wisp, to slip away in the dark, but a bright and shining love to show the way into tomorrow.

FOXFIRE LIGHT by JANET DAILEY

This was the Daileys production company’s only romantic adaptation to film. The movie came out in 1983 and was neither a commercial nor a critical success.

It starred Leslie Morgan and Tippi Hedren as the heroine’s parents and Faye Grant and Barry van Dyke as the young lovers.

foxfire light movie poster
Foxfire Light, 1983 Movie Poster

Ride the Thunder (aka When a Spider Bites) by Janet Dailey, 1980

The Book

A decade after the release of Foxfire Light, the Daileys would have another of Janet’s books transferred to the big screen. This time, it was one of her full-length novels, Pocket Books’ Ride the Thunder. Bill Dailey acted as an Executive Producer.

ride the thunder cover
ride the thunder
Ride the Thunder, Janet Dailey, Pocket Books, 1980, George H. Jones cover art

Ride the Thunder is still available on the Kindle version. If you can get your hands on the original copy, it is a collector’s item, as it’s one of the first stepback romances.

Buy Ride the Thunder

The Plot

From the Driving Power of Manhattan’s Penthouses to the High, Wild Beauty of Idaho’s Mountains, a Love Story That Rides the Thunder!

Jordanna Smith was the wild and willowy daughter of a prominent banker and a glamorous socialite, a globe-trotting huntress who sought the world’s big game at her father’s side. No man was her father’s equal in her eyes–until the night she met the rugged stranger who, in one frenzied and exalted moment, tapped the roots of a desire she had never known.

Fleeing to Idaho to join her father’s hunting party, she hoped to forget the bronzed stranger’s fiery touch. But there he was — her stranger, their guide, Brig McCord.

Their days were filled with the wild beauty of the hunt, their nights with the primitive fire of their passion. But soon their idyll was shattered by jealousy, betrayal and murder.

Now Jordanna would have to face the hidden truths about her father and her brother, and a secret that already had claimed one life and threatened to destroy her newfound love.

Ride the Thunder by Janet Dailey

The Film

The title was changed from Ride the Thunder to When a Spider Bites to make the film sound less pornographic, more suspenseful.

When A Spider Bites had a small budget of $350,000. The film starred Andrew Lamond as Brig McCord and Sharon Young as Jordanna ‘Dannie’ Smith. It was released in 1993.

janet dailey movie
When a Spider Bites, Movie Poster, 1993

When Jordanna Smith accepts an invitation to accompany her father & three others on a hunting trip into the Idaho mountains, she doesn’t know the trip will lead to both romance & murder – & that the motive for each will be revenge.

WHEN A SPIDER BITES, IMDB

Movie Based on a Lavyrle Spencer Romance

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer, 1989

The Book

LaVyrle Spencer’s 1989 romance novel, Morning Glory, is a romance about:

The book is available on Kindle, but the original Jove edition with the James Griffin stepback is also a collector’s copy.

Buy Morning Glory

morning-glory-outside
morning glory griffin
Morning Glory, LaVyrle Spencer, Jove, 1989, James Griffin cover art

The Plot

LOVE IN A STRANGER’S EYES…
ELLY
In town, they called her “Crazy Widow Dinsmore.” But Elly was no stranger to their ridicule–she had been an outsider all her life, growing up in a boarded-up old house under the strict eye of her eccentric grandparents. Now she was all alone, with two little boys to raise, and a third child on the way.
WILL
He drifted into Whitney, Georgia, one lazy afternoon in the summer of 1941, hoping to put his lonely past behind him. He yearned for the tenderness he had never known, the home he’d never had. All he needed was for someone to give him a chance.
Then he saw her classified ad: WANTED–A husband. When he stepped across Elly Dinsmore’s cluttered yard, Will Parker knew he had come home at last … 

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

The Film

Morning Glory was made into a film in 1993, starring Christopher Reeve as Will Parker and Deborah Raffin as Elly Dinsmore. Although it was not a box office hit by any means, it received some critical acclaim.

The movie has gone on to be an appreciated romance classic.

morning glory movie

You can watch Morning Glory on Youtube:

Your Opinion

Have you seen any of these movies based on romance novels? Have you read the original books? Let us know!

Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance!

timeless love

Category Romance Review: Timeless Love by Judith Arnold

category romance

MILD SPOILERS😉

The Book and Characters

This review is of Timeless Love, book #11 and the final book in the “Bachelor Arms series. It is the second of two written by Judith Arnold, a pseudonym for Barbara Keiler. (Harlequin Temptation #565, published December 1995). 

Heroine: Hope Henley, 25. Black hair, brown eyes. Sales clerk in a retail store.

Hero: Morgan Delacourt, 30. Brown hair and eyes. Cartoonist. New millionaire. 

The Plot

At the beginning of the book, Morgan Delacourt is celebrating his newly minted millionaire status. That happiness, however, is short-lived as Morgan hits Hope Henley with his car. Although it wasn’t his fault, Morgan feels immense guilt as Hope is in a coma as a result of the accident. He vows to take care of Hope, pays her medical expenses, and lets her move in with him.

As they spend time together, we learn more about them, including Hope’s connection to the mystery that began in the first book in the series. They also fall in love with each other, although both try to fight it. 

In the end, the mystery of Bachelor Arms and Hope’s part in it are revealed. She and Morgan become lovers. They get married and have their Happily Ever After. 

Upside

Both Hope and Morgan are likable, developed characters. I liked the fact that Morgan took responsibility and cared for Hope even though he didn’t have to. He and Hope are very nice relatable characters who are the type of people I would love to know as real people. 

Downside

Slightly nitpicking, but at times Morgan was condescending towards Hope for her beliefs. I probably would be too, but it was still annoying. 

Sex

Two love scenes that are not graphic but fit in well with the rest of the book. 

Violence

Other than Morgan hitting Hope with his car, no violence. 

Bottom Line on Timeless Love

Readers who like a romance with a caring hero and sensitive heroine will find lots to like in Judith Duncan’s Timeless Love.

Tropes:  Contemporary romance, Hollywood, Light paranormal. 

Location: Los Angeles, Monterey, California

4 .55 Stars


Synopsis

A LIVING LEGEND…

Flights of fancy were not Hope Henley’s style. So why did she flee in terror after just one glance at the infamous mirror in Apartment 1-G–straight into the path of Morgan Delacourt’s car? Having just arrived in L.A., Hope reluctantly accepts Morgan’s generous offer of convalescence at his home. Suddenly she is believing in all sorts of crazy notions. Like destined, timeless love with sexy Morgan. But that couldn’t possibly be. Determined bachelor Morgan is tied to Hope by guilt, not by love. And the secret of Bachelor Arms isn’t connected to her. Or is it?

Could the history of Bachelor Arms be about to repeat itself?

Timeless Love by Judith Arnold
seduced and betrayed

Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler

category romance
Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1995
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Temptation #553
Book Series: Bachelor Arms #8; Hollywood Nights #2
Published by: Harlequin
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Category Romance Review: Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 🙂

The Book

This review is of Seduced and Betrayed, #8 in the Bachelor Arms” series, and book #2 of 3 in the series written by Candace Schuler. (Harlequin Temptation, September 1995).

The Plot

The book begins in 1970. A woman finds her boyfriend, naked, in bed with another woman, who is also naked. Their relationship isn’t the only thing that ends that night. 

Fast forward 25 years. Ezekiel “Zeke” Blackstone, 47, the book’s hero, is heading to a planning meeting for his daughter Cameron’s upcoming wedding. He is a famous actor turned producer/director and a major player in Hollywood.

Zeke is nervous, however, because this meeting will bring him face-to-face with Ariel Cameron, 43, the heroine of the book, Cameron’s mother, and Zeke’s ex-wife. (They were the couple who broke up in the first paragraph!). Ariel, a successful actress turned model, has been estranged from Zeke for 25 years.

As Zeke takes an apartment–ironically the same one he lived in before at the “Bachelor Arms”–we learn how he and Ariel met, became lovers, married, and the circumstances that led to their divorce. We also learn that despite all that has happened between them, Ariel and Zeke are still very attracted to each other. They later act on their attraction and become lovers again. For a while, Ariel and Zeke are happy again.

However, Ariel soon finds a reason to doubt Zeke again. In the end, however, Ariel and Zeke commit to each other and their love and find their Happily Ever After. 

Upside

Ariel and Zeke are both strong characters, both as younger people and as the mature adults they are in the primary setting for Seduced and Betrayed. They are fairly well-developed and interesting people.

Ms. Schuler is very good at getting me, as a reader, into her characters’ minds and their emotions. So much so that even during the lovemaking scenes between Ariel and Zeke, I felt like I was there with them, not as a voyeur but as part of them. 

Downside

One of the drawbacks to the category romance format is that certain things can get short shrift because of the relatively short nature of the books (around 200 to 300 pages). In Seduced and Betrayed, this crops up in Ariel’s relationship with her mother, Constance, who controls Ariel’s career. Constance’s reasons for doing so and why Ariel allows it are hinted at but never truly explained.

Given that this relationship had major implications for the early days of Ariel and Zeke’s marriage, this was a rather large miss. 

Sex

Several love scenes between Ariel and Zeke. They’re not quite as good as in Lovers and Strangers, but they’re good nonetheless.  

Violence

Ariel throws several objects at Zeke, who also kicks in a door. 

Bottom Line for Seduced and Betrayed

Seduced and Betrayed is a very good book, with one issue keeping it just below the great category.

* * *

Hero: Zeke Blackstone. Actor/producer/director. Black hair, brown eyes.

Heroine: Ariel Cameron. Actress/model. Golden blonde hair, blue eyes. 

Tropes: Actor. Actress. Contemporary romance. Harlequin Temptation. Hollywood. Reunited. Second chance.

4.49 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
4.5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
4.5
Overall: 4.5

Synopsis

In 1970, Zeke Blackstone was a smokin’ hot 22-year old bad boy actor staring in his first Hollywood movie. His co-star was 18-year-old Ariel Cameron, America’s TV sweetheart. Their instant chemistry—both on and off the screen—culminated in a whirlwind affair that came crashing down one night in the tragic aftermath of a wild party at the Wilshire Arms.

Now, twenty-five years later, Zeke is still smokin’ hot with a well-earned reputation as both a ladies’ man and a leading man. Ariel is one of the most respected actresses in America. Neither has willingly been in the same room together since their divorce was final.

But their beloved daughter is getting married and all she asks of her estranged parents is that they make nice for the wedding. Thrown together for the wedding festivities, the attraction between Zeke and Ariel reignites and all the old feelings come rushing back, stronger than ever.

Can they work through the hurt and betrayals of the past to make it to their happy ending?

Seduced and Betrayed by Candace Schuler
tangled-tapestry-mather-full

Category Romance Review: Tangled Tapestry by Anne Mather

BOOK REVIEW vintage
Tangled Tapestry by Anne Mather
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1969
Imprint or Line: Mills & Boon Romance #419
Published by: Mills & Boon
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance, Vintage Romance
Pages: 18
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Tangled Tapestry by Anne Mather

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

Admission

I’m cheating a bit with the date range we have here for books on Sweet Savage Flame. Tangled Tapestry was published in 1969 and never was reprinted in paperback in English in North America. This book was released in e-format a few years ago. Still, it’s close enough for government work, as the expression goes.

The Book

Thanks to Anne Mather‘s Tangled Tapestry I realize publishers don’t always put accurate copyright information in the front of e-books. Going into this read, I knew it was a vintage romance, but I only found out it was published in 1969 when I finished.

I’m only stating this because, like many things written in the mid-20th century, it’s aged as if… it was written in the mid-20th century! Tangled Tapestry may offend some readers’ sensibilities. Or, if you’re twisted like me, it will make you laugh as I did at this legendary panel from a Batman comic:

It’s funny because he keeps talking about his boner.

The Plot

British school teacher, Debra Warren, is on a work-exchange program in San Francisco educating underprivileged children. She takes them on a field trip to visit one of the local major movie studios because everyone knows San Francisco is right next to Hollywood.

(Anne Mather got her geography off in this one; it would be like going to Boston and taking a trip to visit the Lincoln Memorial, wouldn’t it?)

The staff at the studio are amazed by Debra’s similar looks to the deceased movie star, Elizabeth Steel, and instantly demand she take a screen test.

Before she knows what’s going on, Debra is whisked away by L.A. writer, Dominic McGill, to meet movie producers. Her appearance to Elizabeth is too close to be just a coincidence and, eventually, the orphaned Debra learns Elizabeth Steel was her real mother. Everyone’s dying to remake one of Steel’s old films that Dominic wrote starring our innocent heroine.

Debra is feeling pushed into a life she’s not sure she wants. She only knows that Dominic makes her feel all tingly, so much that she gives bitchy looks to the nubile females who cling to him. Then there are the unspoken rumors concerning Dominic and her mother. Could Dominic–gasp–have been her mother’s toyboy lover?

Tangled Tapestry Anne mather
Tangled Tapestry, Anne Mather, alternate Mills and Boon

The Romance

There is little romance here. Oh sure, there are a couple of sweet kisses and a whole paragraph at the end of the book where Dominic declares his love for Debra. But Dominic’s not the kind of man who chases women, so when Debra hurts Dominic’s pride, it’s she who follows him, she who does the “big grovel.”

Personally, I don’t care much for groveling, neither from the hero nor the heroine, (unless they really did do something horrid & then groveling is only a drop in the bucket!), so it didn’t bother me, although I know some readers like that sort of comeuppance when the hero’s a bit of an alpha-hole. And yes, Dominic is overbearing, cold, inscrutable, and unyielding, but I wouldn’t have vintage heroes any other way.

I mean, he needed to be a little stoic. It’s bad enough he’s in his late 30’s, parties with teenagers, hosts surfing parties, and dances the Watusi.

(I couldn’t figure out how to post a gif so here’s a picture of a huge Watusi bull.

Yeah, I know it’s 2021. I’m still clueless. I just learned to pronounce the word, for goodness’ sake!)

The Watusi. Not to be confused with the Batusi.

Time Stands Still For No Man

Oh, about the dated aspect of this book?

  • The meals: Hamburgers and coffee. Yuck. Why did people in the ’50s and ’60s eat that way? Yes, I know sodas are just as bad to have, but at least they taste good with food. Coffee is a morning drink and for occasional desserts.
  • The alcoholic drinks: LOTS of them and half of them gin martinis.
  • The smoking: Debra swears she hardly ever smokes, but she’s a liar because she smokes like a mesquite BBQ grill. I counted 48 references to cigarettes in this book! Plus another 10 to smoke/smoking.
  • The language: YMMV about taking offense. There are about a 1/2 dozen observations using old-timey racial terminology.
  • The music: Anne Mather really dug Dave Brubeck, didn’t she? She’s referred to him in other books. I looked him up. Don’t think this is what the teenagers in 1969 were hip to, but if that floats your boat, *shrug.*
Dave Brubeck. Did all the gals in the late ’60s dance erotically to this guy’s tunes?

Since the setting is mostly California, Anne Mather wanted to make sure we knew her hero was American so the book is peppered with cheesy epithets like:

  • Baby – 18 times
  • Kid – 12 times
  • Honey – 29 times
Tangled Tapestry Anne mather

Final Analysis of Tangled Tapestry

As I said, there wasn’t much romance in Tangled Tapestry. Debra basically allowed herself to be carried away by others to do their bidding. She didn’t want to be a movie star, so why didn’t she just open her mouth and say so? Then she pined away for Dominic was pathetic! I swear Anne Mather must have had at least ten heroes with that name!

Dominic played it hot and cold with her. He was never open with Debra until the very end.

Even so, this book wasn’t awful, because there was something charming about how dated it was. Anne Mather’s books are rarely timeless; you can almost always tell what decade they were written by the clothes. T

This sweet vintage romance (no sex, just mild kissing) was even more old-fashioned than Mather’s usual stuff. The characters were partying to old jams and shaking to the latest dances. (Aside: that’s one reason why I avoid modern contemporaries. I have zero interest in reading about a hero/heroine who grinds or twerks.) But their morals were somewhere in the 1950s. Quaint and old-fashioned. Although I can appreciate that when reading vintage romance.

Too bad the romance was lackluster here.

Rating Report Card
Plot
3
Characters
2
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
2
Fun Factor
2.5
Cover
3
Overall: 2.5

Synopsis

Debra Warren had believed during all her life that she was orphaned, until she went to San Francisco to work. She found she was the daughter of the famous actress Elizabeth Steel. There she knew Dominic McGill.

TANGLED TAPESTRY BY ANNE MATHER