Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…

Hideous Romance Novel Covers — the Madeline Baker Edition

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I came across a thread on an All About Romance board the other day about a Madeline Baker book. Having never heard of Madeline Baker, and being naturally nosy, I just had to check her out on good old Amazon.

And oh, what a happy day that was. Turns out Madeline Baker wrote during the mid-1980s golden age of Hideous Romance Novel Covers. Almost every one of her covers is a cheesetastic classic, and they were such a joy to behold that I had to share them with you, dumplins.

Here goes everything:

The last time we saw a heroine on the cover of a romance novel in a situation similar to this one, she was most definitely not enjoying herself. In the case of Reckless Desire’s Mary, though, who knows what she’s thinking. After all, according to Amazon’s synopsis,

Mary is bound to a white man who despises her for her Indian heritage. Cloud Walker knows it is wrong to love her, but entwined in Mary’s soft embrace, he would never be able to deny the flaming passion, the bittersweet ecstacy [sic] that he and Mary share.

Flaming passion! Bittersweet ecstacy [sic]! Enough neon colors to induce acid flashbacks!

One of the hallmarks of hideous historical romance covers from the 1980s was a horse depicted in some distress. Cheyenne Surrender has that one covered. Some of you may think the horse is distressed because he’s standing in what looks like Niagara, with a hulking man attempting to put a woman who is clearly not a horsewoman on his back. I, on the other hand, think he’s a Puritan horse, and he’s simply put out by all the boobage going on here.

Not even deer are safe from the flaming passion of Madeline Baker’s heroes and heroines. And these deer obviously disapprove of bittersweet ecstacy, by the way. But though our heroine’s love be reckless, her hairdo and makeup are not — you know it took her three or four hours in hot rollers to achieve that look, and I bet she has a whole deerskin full of Mary Kay.  That I cannot find a better picture of this cover burns me up.  I may have to buy the book just to have the cover.

This is exactly why my mother always insisted I wear nice pajamas. Should you have to flee a midnight fire, it’s best not to risk singeing your boobs in the process. If you’re forced to actually hold your boobs in your dress or whatever that thing is, you may not even escape the midnight fire. But wait — is our well-endowed heroine holding the girls in check, or is someone else doing it for her?  That hardly-feminine hand seems strangely disembodied. Maybe it’s part of her Naughty Native Maiden costume, attached to the bodice of whatever that is she’s wearing as a detachable accessory.

Who agrees that Lacey’s way is probably the hard way? Is that supposed to be ecstacy on Lacey’s face, or has Lacey’s way resulted in poison ivy on her over-exposed lady parts? And who else suspects that her half-naked hero (who has oddly gnarly arms and an awesome mullet, by the way) is whispering “Lacey, get yer clothes on! Company’s coming!”?

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Author: J.E.

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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