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in memorium

In Memoriam: Old School Romance Authors Who Have Passed Away

in memorium

Romance Authors Who Passed Away

Many romance authors who wrote books in the 20th century have left this mortal plane. Sadly, they have died recently or in the last twenty years. Romance authors Janis Reams Hudson and Mary Daheim just passed a few months ago

For that reason, Sweet Savage Flame has assembled a list of old-school romance authors who have moved to the great beyond. We’ll be dedicating an “In Memorium” page to these authors. Look for that in the upcoming weeks.

In Memorium


  • Janis Reams Hudson b. May 7, 1951 – d. January 15, 2022
    • Hudson wrote 40 books since 1991, many contemporary series, but also historicals.
  • Mary Daheim b. November 7, 1937 – d. March 31, 2022
    • Daheim wrote historical romances from 1983 to 1992. Then she wrote many successful mysteries.
janis reams hudson
Janis Reams Hudson


  • Miranda Lee b. 1945 – d. November 13, 2021
    • Lee, whose real name was Maureen, wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.
  • Valerie Parv b. 1951 – d. 25 April 2021
    • Parv wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.


  • Emma Darcy b. November 28, 1940 – d. December 21, 2020
    • Darcy was the husband-wife duo of Frank and Wendy Brennan and wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.
  • Donna Kauffman b. March 18, 1960 – d. April 9, 2020
    • Kaufmann wrote about 70 series and full-length contemporary romances since 1994.
  • Connie Mason b. 1930 – d. March 20, 2020
    • Mason also wrote as Cara Miles. She published historical romances with Avon and Dorchester.


  • Johanna Lindsey b. March 10, 1952 – d. October 19, 2019
    • Johanna Lindsey was one of the most successful authors of historical romance, one of Avon’s “Love’s Leading Ladies.”
  • Rosemary Rogers b. December 7, 1932. – d. 2019
    • Rosemary Rogers was a blockbuster bestseller of romance, also one of Avon’s original “Love Leading Ladies”
  • Judith Krantz b. January 9, 1928 – d. June 22, 2019
    • Her soapy, romantic fiction novels sold tens of millions worldwide and were made into successful miniseries.
JOhanna lindsey
Johanna Lindsey


  • Evelyn Anthony b. Jul 03, 1926 – d. Sep 25, 2018
    • A prolific British author of romance, mysteries, historical fiction, and more.
  • Mary Kay Simmons d. July 16, 2018
    • Since the late 1970s, she wrote about 20 historical and Gothic romances.


  • Nan Ryan b. 1936 – d. 2017
    • Nancy Ryan was a writer of historical romances for several publishers, including Kensington Zebra and Dell.
  • Sara Craven (Annie Ashurst) b. 1938 – d. November 15, 2017.
    • Craven wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.
Sara Craven romance writer
Sara Craven


  • Roberta Gellis b. September 27, 1927 – d. May 6, 2016
    • Since the 1960s Gellis wrote authentic historicals, mainly medievals, She also wrote mysteries & fantasy romance.
  • Jo Beverley b. Sep 22, 1947 – d. May 23, 2016
    • Beverley was a prominent author of historical romances.


  • Bertrice Small b. Dec 09, 1937 – d. February 24, 2015
    • Labeled the “Queen of Erotic Romances,” Small wrote lusty historical and fantasy romances.
  • Colleen McCullough b. June 1, 1937 – d. June 29, 2015
    • Author of epics like The Thorn Birds and romances like Tim.


  • Valerie Sherwood (Jeanne Hines) b. July 29, 1922 – d. August 23, 2014
    • As Jeanne Hines, she wrote Gothics, as Sherwood, wrote historical romances, selling millions of copies.


  • Mary Wibberley b. 1934 – d. December 29, 2013
    • Wibberley wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.
  • Janet Dailey b. May 21, 1944 – d. December 14, 2013
    • Dailey wrote category romances for Harlequin & Silhouette. She also wrote contemporary romances for Pocket Books, selling 100-300 million books.
  • Ida Pollock b. April 12, 1908 – d. December 05, 2013
    • British author of 120 romance novels.
mary wibbery romance author
Mary Wibberley


  • Maeve Binchy b. May 28, 1940 – d. July 30, 2012
    • Called Ireland’s best-known novelist, she wrote stories about regular people with heavy romantic elements.
  • Eva Rutland b. January 15, 1917 – d. March 12, 2012
    • One of the first Afro-American romance writers, she wrote about 20 contemporaries for Harlequin before ariting another 20 books.


  • Beverly Barton (Beverly Inman-Beaver) b. December 23, 1946 – d. April 21, 2011
    • Author of category romances and then romantic suspense and thrillers.
  • Penny Jordan (Penelope Halsall) b. November 24, 1946 – d. December 31, 2011
    • She wrote Regency romances and World War II dramas under the pen-names, Caroline Courtney and Annie Groves, in addition to being one of Mills & Boon/ Harlequin’s best-selling authors.
  • Jean Innes Saunders b. February 08, 1932 – d. August 03, 2011
    • Innes-Saunders wrote Gothic & historical romances under the names Jean Innes, Jean Saunders, Sally Blake, Rowena Summers & Rachel Moore.


  • Eva Ibbotson, (Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner) b. January 21, 1925 – d. October 20, 2010
    • British novelist who wrote romance, young adult, and children’s fantasy.


  • Flora Kidd b. 1926 – d. March 19, 2008.
    • Kidd wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.


  • Kathleen Woodiwiss b. June 3, 1939 – d. 2007
    • Woodiwiss revitalized the historical romance and the entire romance genre with her publication of The Flame and the Flower in 1972.
  • Anne Weale d. 2007
    • Weale wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines.
anne weale passed away
Anne Weale


  • Charlotte Lamb (Sheila Coates-Holland) b. 1937 – d. October 8, 2000
    • As Lamb, she wrote for Mills and Boon/ Harlequin category lines and romantic suspense. As Sheila Lancaster, she wrote historical romances & Gothics.
  • Barbara Cartland b. December 13, 1901 – d. May 21, 2000
    • Cartland was the bestselling romance author of all time, with about 1 billion books sold.
barbara cartland died
Barbara Cartland

Your Opinion

Did you know these romance authors had passed away in the last few years? Were you a fan of any in particular? Did we overlook any romance writer you know has died recently?

Please drop us a line and let’s talk romance.

Covers of the Week #19: Elaine Duillo Cover Artist

Legendary romance cover artist Elaine Duillo passed away in June. We celebrate her life and career byt spotlighting her beautiful illustrations for some beloved books.

elaine duillo cover artist

Artist: Elaine Duillo

The Queen of Historical Romance Covers

Elaine Duillo was the undisputed “Queen of Historical Romance” cover artist. She was a major force in the competitive field of pulp fiction artwork, where women were few and far between. Duillo painted hundreds of book covers and was an inductee of the prestigious Illustrators Hall of fame.

All that, plus Duillo was the matriarch of a talented artistic family.

Sadly, she passed away on July 30, 2021, at 93.

This amazing artist influenced generations of illustrators and revolutionized romance cover art. She helped give rise to the pop culture phenom Fabio. One of the covers I chose, Defy Not the Heart, features Fabio and was a favorite of Elaine’s. It is also my all-time favorite cover.

Although she created many gorgeous stepbacks, or “tip-ins,” as those in the industry called them, Duillo was not a fan. She believed the eye-catching covers she designed were meant to be seen, not hidden away. Yes, to that, I say. Display those gorgeous illustrations displayed proudly!

Sweet Savage Flame Remembers Elaine

Sweet Savage Flame laments her passing. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family. We celebrate Elaine Duillo’s life as she brought much joy and beauty to countless tens of millions of readers worldwide.

Her legacy lives on through her stunning cover art, which will continue to inspire and captivate future generations. Thank you, Elaine, for your incredible contributions to the world of romance novels and cover art. Rest in peace.

The Covers by Elaine Duillo

Here is a small sampling of my favorite romance covers painted by the late, great Elaine Duillo for this week of Monday, August 16 – Sunday, August 22, 2021.

The Covers

  • Golden Roses, Patricia Hagan, Avon, 1983
  • Defy Not the Heart, Johanna Lindsey, Avon, 1989
  • Damsel in Distress, Shannon Drake, Avon, 1992 (outer cover)
  • Rainbow’s End, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1991.

This Side of Heaven
This Side of Heaven, Katherine Robards, Dell, 1991, (Interior stepback)

Your Opinion

What are your favorite Elaine Duillo covers? What do you think of this week’s tribute? Do any of the covers stand out to you as a favorite?

Do you 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.