I was working on a post about the covers that end up on genre blended books and I fell down the hole at the intersection of amazing and ridiculous that is romance covers. Rather than do a whole post with link-y links, I simply have to throw some of these up there for your enjoyment. The best are no doubt the ones from the 1980s for sheer ridiculousness. I’m sure I was reading the occasional romance in the 80s, but perhaps the fashion and style of the 80s was so terrible (in an awesome way) that they just washed off me like water flowing off thebare chest of a Fabio clone. The 1990s seems to be where some discretion came into the art departments for romances. Lots more still lifes with flowers or swords or flowers and swords. Broaches were big, too. Then we moved into the period weith the headless pretty dresses, which we are mostly still in. Now I get the psychology of the whole headless thing — allow the reader to picture herself in the heroine — but I still find them disturbing. Lots of the classics of romance eventually get a more serious “women’s fiction” cover as if to say “they’ve finally made the big leagues!”. I love romances, but sometimes you have to call out the thing you love. Here are some of the most fun covers I ran across. Check out how they change over time! Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught, Sweet Surrender (which was retitled Evening Star, presumeably to be less rape-y) by Catherine Coulter, Honor’s Splendour by Julie Garwood and Tender is the Storm by Johanna Lindsey are a good example of the pattern of whoa-crazy orginal 1980s (or early 90s) cover, stylized yet girly less-embarrasing-to-be-seen-reading-in-public mid-90s cover, and final non-romance-y cover. The others I present for the sheer fun of it. I could seriously do this all day.