I’ve been ranting about hideous romance novel covers for some time now. I’ve even confessed to having been reader shamed simply because I couldn’t bear to let anyone see the mortifying covers of some of the romance books I’ve enjoyed most.
You probably think I’m exaggerating the problem. If you have no interest in romance, you simply can’t understand the severity of this problem. I sincerely want to help you. I want you to be prepared, whether you find yourself in the romance section of Amazon or at the romance shelf at Wal-Mart. So, as a community service, I’ve decided to start sharing with you, dear readers, some of the more cornea-searing romance covers I’ve encountered.
Let’s start with this entry:
You know, I’m not sure I would be ashamed to carry this book around. It would be a great conversation starter, I bet. People would ask me about my scrapbooking project, or whether I liked to play with paper dolls, or if I am a fan of ghost stories, especially the ones where a bored 21st century woman decides to haunt a Regency-era paper doll. Sadly, this is an e-book edition, so I’ll have to find some other means of striking up conversations with strangers.
Also, this begs the questions: who is borrowing whose vows?
I know, I know — that example was more lame and ugly than truly hideous, but I’m gradually ratcheting up the drama here.
I love you, all of you, dear readers, so I want to ease you into the world of awful romance novel covers. So for the second example, I offer you a cover that is, perhaps, more unintentionally funny than ugly:
Incorrigible indeed! Has she just kidnapped this obviously confused man? Or is it that her pimp is standing just outside the carriage? Is that why her companion looks so scared?
I have an even better theory — this lovely lady is supposed to be on the cover of a Regency romance, and has just realized that she’s stumbled upon the cardboard cut-out photo backdrop for a late-1880s Old West whore-with-a-heart-of-gold novel instead. The overdressed token gambler behind her doesn’t understand why she doesn’t answer to “Sweet Connie,” and wonders if maybe he has wandered on to the wrong romance novel cover assembly line station. Cue the pratfall music.
That incorrigible example was so wonderful that I felt compelled to share it with the awesome bitches at Smart Bitches Trashy Books. So you may see it there, too, if that’s a place you go. And if it’s not, you should — just saying.
And now for the crowning glory, the absolute worst romance novel cover I’ve seen in ages. Be forewarned, this one’s not for the faint of heart — if you’re easily frightened or have some sort of condition, don’t look:
Oh, what can I say about this one? Someone, somewhere thought this guy was handsome. That he bore a passing resemblance to Sean Connery, maybe. That women everywhere would be unable to pass this book up because of this guy’s riveting gaze.
Little did that misguided person realize that the only the reason I was unable to pass this one up was because this guy’s riveting gaze FREAKS ME OUT. As I told Sarah from SBTB, the phrase that comes to mind is “bovine spongiform encephalopathy.” Thankfully, this is an e-book edition, because if this were actually a book, and I actually bought it (which I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t be able to get past that cover, so go ahead and judge me), I would have to remove the cover before I brought it home. Otherwise I’d feel like those crazy eyes were following me everywhere.
UPDATE: I’m sure it’s not because I made so much fun of this cover here on Sweet Rocket, but The Fortune Hunter now has a new cover on Amazon. Because Amazon’s image is so little and wonky, I’m just going to link to the new, vastly improved (although much less interesting) cover. However, if you really want a dose of crazy, feel free to purchase The Fortune Hunter from B&N, where it’s still sporting the misbegotten creation above.
And yes, this will be an ongoing saga, as there are so many to choose from that I’d hate to deprive you of any of the covers I come across.