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hard to find book tender is the storm mcginnis

Historical Romance Review: Tender is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey

historical romance review
Tender Is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey
Rating: three-stars
Published: 1985
Illustrator: Robert McGinnis
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Tender is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey


The Book

So… About Johanna Lindsey‘s Tender Is the Storm.

Did You Hear the One About the Naked Guy?

A Cover Collectible

If you’re familiar with your romance history, then you must know of this book, even if you haven’t read it.

The cover of Tender Is the Storm is the notorious one designed by Robert McGinnis with the naked hero standing tall as the heroine kneels before him, her ample breasts pressed firmly against his–er…dongle.

Robert McGinnis, Cover Artist

Tender is the Storm was released in 1985 as Lindsey’s 10th consecutive bestseller. McGinnis’ artwork and Lindsey’s novels made for a powerhouse combination.

Their first two covers were pleasing enough, but starting with 1980’s Fires of Winter, McGinnis would upend the romance industry. Before that, most clinch covers would show the heroine’s heaving bosoms while the hero remained fully clothed. Fires of Winter portrayed a fully naked hero, his legs bent and splayed open, with the heroine lying between his thighs.

McGinnis was a great admirer of the sensual female form. Much of his work featured nude or scantily clad women–of all skin and hair colors–with tightly muscled yet voluptuous figures.

As a pulp, detective, and movie poster artist, he had many opportunities to display his talents for painting ladies. The romance revolution of the 1970s would now allow him to demonstrate his ability to create beautiful male figures.

I’ve said before that I am not fond of modern covers with dehumanizing headless torsos, waxed naked chests, and rippling 8-pack-abs. Even so, male eye candy is a sweet sight to behold! So thank you, Robert McGinnis, for being an equal opportunity exploiter of undressed males and females.

Yeah, He Was [CENSORED]

tender is the storm
From The Art of Robert McGinnis

I owned a first-edition copy of Tender Is the Storm when I initially read it 25 years ago. Alas, it was lost in the Great Book Purge, which I’ve spoken of many times before. Now, I’m stuck with a later edition with the hero’s ass [CENSORED].

The cover was so controversial at the time that booksellers from “coast to coast” refused to stock Tender Is the Storm on their shelves.

Avon had to rush out golden star stickers printed with “#1 EVERYWHERE” to place upon the hero’s buttocks. A second printing followed, this one with a circular starburst emblazoned upon the area of controversy, with the words “A COAST TO COAST BESTSELLER” on it.

tender is the storm
See? Now you can’t notice anything!

Did anyone really believe that no one would figure out what was going on beneath that “subtle” distraction?

The dude is titty-banging her, and she loves every minute!

About That Review of Tender Is the Storm

So… about Johanna Lindsey’s Tender Is the Storm.

Yuppers. It was a romance novel.

Perhaps if I’d read this from a “new-to-me” author, I would have enjoyed it more. Sadly, by Lindsey’s standards, this was mostly a meh read for me. She’s written much better books. (And some worse.)

The Plot

It’s the late 1800s in New York City. The Eastern heiress Sharisse Hammond finds herself fleeing from an arranged engagement to a high-society scion in a convoluted setup. Sharisse wants nothing to do with the union. When she discovers her sister is in love with the man, the two of them hatch a plan.

They find a newspaper ad a rancher placed looking for a wife. Sharisse responds to it, deciding her best option is to move out West and be a mail-order bride (to a man she knows nothing about). Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fryer!

Her groom turns out to be Lucas Holt. He’s a white man who’s familiar with the ways of the Native American people. He’s also a handsome devil, and Sharisse is very attracted to him.

The trouble is that she’s also attracted to Lucas’ identical twin brother, Slade. Slade shows up whenever Lucas isn’t around to torment and flirt with her.

Over time, Sharisse becomes accustomed to the arduous labors of being a Western bride. And in due course, she and Lucas draw closer. She becomes his wife in the complete sense of the word. Nevertheless, Sharisse remains strongly attracted to his bothersome twin.

Whatever will she do?

I usually appreciate a plot where the heroine is torn between twin brothers (My, that sounds absolutely naughty, doesn’t it?😋). I just wasn’t wowed here. Maybe it was the ugly font that soured me.

Final Analysis of Tender Is the Storm

This isn’t a terrible romance, not really. I judged Tender Is the Storm on a curve with the other Lindseys I’ve read and found it lacking in places.

The chemistry between Sharisse & Slade and Sharisse & Lucas was hot. But the plot was thin, even for this barely 300+ page book. The ending was predictable.

But please don’t let my opinion stop you from reading this one. Your mileage may vary.

3 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.6


Headstrong heiress Sharisse Hammond wants no part of the New York society marriage that has been arranged for her. So she heads west across a vast and dangerous land–with no intention of honoring her agreement to become the mail-order bride of a rugged Arizona rancher. But Lucas Holt needs a wife–any wife–if his plan to destroy his most hated enemy is to succeed. And this gullible Eastern lady would do quite nicely. However, their separate schemes to use one another are complicated by raw, aching passion. For Lucas’s beautiful, unsuspecting pawn was not supposed to be so irresistibly alluring. And freedom-loving Sharisse never dreamed she could ever desire one man so much!

Tender is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey
duncans bride

Category Romance Review: Duncan’s Bride by Linda Howard

Duncan’s Bride, Linda Howard, Silhouette Intimate Moment, 1990, Cover Artist TBD

#349 Silhouette Intimate Moments


4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Duncan’s Bride has an old-school plot, even by the standards of romances written in…1990. (That wasn’t a long time ago!) In Silhouette Intimate Moments #349 by Linda Howard, a 28-year-old beauty from New York City travels across the country to become the mail-order bride of a hero who’s damn lucky to get her.

Character & Plot

Madelyn, the shining star of this romance, is 28-years-old and has been working for her step-brother’s company for a couple of years. Although she’s hit a wall in her career, she’s secure in her identity. Madelyn is funny, outspoken, and friendly. She’s a lovely woman with no baggage.

On the other hand, Gideon “Reese” Duncan carries a 5-piece set of Samsonite luggage packed full of bricks. He’s a divorced rancher in Montana who decides it’s time to settle down with a new wife. Years ago, his first marriage ended in disaster when his gorgeous ex left him, bored of life in the country. Reese was forced to sell his family lands and lay off the workers to liquidate his assets which were split 50-50.

Embittered by a disappointing first marriage and impoverished by the divorce settlement, it has taken Reese years to dig himself out of the financial hole his ex left him in. He runs his ranch all alone, working from dawn till midnight, caring for his livestock. Reese’s house is in shambles, he drives an old truck, and his ranch has been running at a loss for years. Now that he might turn a profit, getting a wife seems like the logical next step. But this time, Reese wants marriage based on practicality rather than passion. He places a frank, unromantic ad in a few small-town newspapers, stating his blunt needs, with no offer of love. What a catch this guy is!

Madelyn, who, despite being a big city girl, happens to subscribe to small-town newspapers to keep up with “real life and real people.” She sees Reese’s ad and is intrigued. So much so that Maddie drops a letter in the mail responding to him. She dreamily wonders about the kind of man who would seek a bride through the post.

She soon finds out. Reese offers Madelyn a bus ticket from NYC to Montana (bus tickets he can’t afford, mind you); she insists on flying out to see him. It’s an instant attraction for them both. Reese concedes that he would like nothing more than to have Madelyn’s legs wrapped around his waist (he says this plus lots of other sexy things to Maddie). However, she’d never suit for wife material. Disappointed, Madelyn leaves the next day, not before the two share a passionate kiss.

That’s all it takes for her to fall in love with Reese. She flies back to the Big Apple, nursing a broken heart. It’s only when Reese’s other options for wives turn out to be duds that he agrees to take Madelyn as his bride. That’s after she signs a prenuptial agreement which stipulates she doesn’t get a penny in case of divorce. He’s had enough of gold diggers and won’t get shafted again.

Like, I said, what a catch, eh?

My Opinion

Reese isn’t the worst, but he’s so hung up on the pain his first marriage brought that he’s a hard character to like. Madelyn is wonderful, working hard to transform his house into a comforting home again. She paints the siding, tends to the animals, and makes passionate love with Resse.

One thing Linda Howard does right is knowing how to write erotic love scenes. Besides the fantastic heroine, the sexy moments are the highlights of this romance.

As for Reese… My goodness, is that man a blockhead! Yes, he’s good-looking, possessive, virile, and has all those alpha traits that make a Romancelandia hero swoon-worthy. He also has this wonderful, amazing woman by his side who’s willing to go through hardships, facing them head-on with vigor, proving over again that she’s worthy of his love.

The problem is that it’s Reese who’s undeserving of Madelyn’s devotion. There were so many moments when I wanted Madelyn to give Reese the old heave-ho. Ultimately, Madelyn and Reese both have to face the truth on their own. I disliked part of the conclusion and how Reese came to his epiphany, but stubborn men will be stubborn men, and Reese is just that.

Final Analysis of Duncan’s Bride

I wondered why this book was called Duncan’s Bride, not Reese’s Bride. Duncan’s Bride does have a nicer ring, then why not name the hero Duncan Reese instead of Reese Duncan? Pointless questions like that plague me.

I would have given this book an average positive review if not for the greatness that was Madelyn. Despite her fine qualities, she was far from perfect and Reese was fallibly human. In the end, love wins. So I was happy for Maddie, even though the man she had her heart set on wasn’t an easy man to love.

Reviewed by Introvert Reader