Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Art of Romance

The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs

Total entertainment for devoted romance readers!

The book starts with a 10-page history of these two romance publishing giants, and then the rest is filled with cover art, 1908 through 2008. Looking at those old cover styles is hysterical! Let alone the story titles!

Mills & Boon started in 1908, and originally published a wide variety of genres. Jack London was one of their early authors. The company began to focus on romances for women in the WWI era. Harlequin started in Canada in 1949; in the late 1950s they began to publish M&B hospital romances in paperback in North America. Mills&Boon merged with Harlequin in 1971.

Oh, lawdy, the covers of The Girl Who Saved His Honour (1913) and Footlights (1920) by Arthur Applin! One of my favorite titles is Romance Goes Tenting (1956) - it appears to be a circus romance. The poorly drawn couple on the cover of The Good and the Bad (1955) seem to be suffering from bad hangovers after a night of dissipation and who knows what - makes me wonder what the story plot was. It's clear that even through the 1990s, the M&B covers were much tamer and "old-fashioned" than the Harlequin covers.

The last section has a few covers of foreign editions, including several Japanese Manga editions of Harlequin romances. Definitely a different look.

by Raelene Gorlinsky

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