As you probably know, here in the UK there have been extended celebrations for the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.
Because she has both an actual, personal birthday ( 21 April 1926) and an 'official birthday' this weekend, these celebrations have gone on for rather a long time. But after the special service of thanksgiviing, the Trooping of the Colour and the official 'street parties' this weekend I think that most of the official celebrations are now complete. But these celebrations and all the programmes looking back at the past 90 years made me wonder just how many Harlequin/Mills and Boon romances had been published in that time - which set me looking at the past covers and the way they've changed. If you've seen either The Art Of Romance or the brand-new Mills and Boon Colouring book, you'll be able to find lots more of these - and as I'm short of space here I thought I'd just select one cover from each decade to illustrate that period - so here you are - Ninety years - nine decades of romance novels so I thought I'd share with you a cover from a best selling author of each decade:
1920s The Fortune Hunters by C.N. & A.M. Williamson
1930s - Nobody Asked Me by the great Mary Burchell
Ida Cook (24 August 1904 – 22 December 1986) was a British campaigner for Jewish refugees and a romance novelist as Mary Burchell.
Ida Cook and her sister Mary Louise Cook (1901–1991) rescued Jews from the Nazis during the 1930s. The sisters helped 29 people escape, funded mainly by Ida's writing. Ida Cook's story was written in Safe Passage in 2008.
I actually have a copy of Nobody Asked Me in my 'antique' Mills & Boon Collection - found in a junk shop long ago.
1940s - The Reluctant Orphan Sara Seale
1950s - Romance Goes Tenting by Phyllis Matthewman
1960s Mystery at Butlins - another one I have an old copy of - and it's a gift to someone who worked as a 'Redcoat' at Butlins, signed by all her friends!
1970s - The Devil at Archangel this one has a very special importance for me as it's a favourite book by a favorite author. I read this before I was ever published and know this was the sort of romance I just wanted to write. Thankfully, Sara Craven is still writing!
1980s - I hope you'll indulge me if I now pick some of my own covers. It's amazing to see the way that covers have changed even in the time I've been writing.
So I start with my very first title ever - The Chalk Line - published in 1984
I can still remember how,m in the week before Christmas 1984, I opened the very first ever box of my books in published form. It was such an excitement - and not even the fact that my hero (Leo Dane Vincent) had jet black hair and this cover image was of a very blond hero could spoil it!
In the 1990s the covers went through quite a few changes so that there were different designs - perhaps the most interesting ones were the 'half a heart' design where one book would have an image in the right hand side of a heart shape and another would have the left hand side - so that when put together they made a complete heart!
So here we have two covers to show that - No Holding Back 1995 and Flirting with Danger 1996.
In 2000 there was one of my favourite covers ever - for Constantine's Revenge. I think this must have been a very popular cover for everyone else as this book has sold one of the most copies in all of my career - and it's still selling as a 'Vintage Modern' in ebook form.
Another really successful title was The Konstantos Marriage Demand - published in 2010. This book was the title that won me a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for that year.
So that brings me right up to date. As I said, if you'd like to see some more classic vintage cover artwork, check out The Art of Romance
or if you fancy a little relaxing 'art therapy' there is the other 'Art of
Romance ' - the Mills & Boon Colouring book.
Oh - no - that's not quite 'right up to date.' There is one more cover I want to share with you adn that's the brand-new cover for my next book, coming at the end of September.
I don't have the UK cover yet - but I can share the USA Harlequin Presents cover with you for the first time now.
What do you think?
PS If you were wondering why the Queen has an 'official birthday' in June, it's supposed to be to ensure that there will be better weather for the celebrations - er . . . I think the hundreds of rain-soaked picnickers on the Mall will think that that's not worked out too well!
But all the same - Happy 90th birthday to the Queen
If you want to see any more of my colovers, old and new - check out my web site and for all the really new ones and up to date info there's my blog or my Facebook page