Reading,  Regency

Covers I really like!

Here are some Regency covers I really like! They’re shown here in approximate order of publication.

This Georgette Heyer cover is done by the famous cover artist Barbosa, for the 1957 SYLVESTER: OR, THE WICKED UNCLE released by Heinemann. I love the coach in the background, and the way Sylvester dominates the picture. He’s standing in shadow, too, to make him seem just a little bit mysterious…or wicked. Our Sylvester has no false modesty; he says “there are not five but a dozen young women of rank and fashion who are perfectly ready to receive an offer from me.” Hmmm…definitely needs to be taught a lesson!

Joan Smith’s SWEET AND TWENTY (Fawcett, 1979) has a charming cover. I love the shops in the background, and the pretty young thing center stage. What I find really intriguing is that this pretty young thing is not the heroine, but her empty-headed cousin! In chapter one, this creature exclaims, “Cousin, have you read a book too?” in wonderment. Ah, silly young ladies. Gotta love them.

In 1981, Warner brought us PRETTY KITTY by Zabrina Faire. (Yes, it was a pen name!) I love the heroine’s big eyes and curly hair, and the action-packed background (a city in flame, with cannon firing at it? You don’t see that on every Regency cover!) The hero a bloody bandage, too–and a lovely sword. Ah, those military heroes… He inadvertantly compromises the heroine, and then becomes engaged to her, without ever knowing her name!

I was never the biggest fan of Signet’s older covers, the ones that tended to shades of brown and olive–they always looked rather dreary to me. But some of them were lovely, such as this 1997 cover for Gail Eastwood’s THE LADY FROM SPAIN. I think the colors go wonderfully together, and the entire composition is just pleasing to the eye. The carriage and horses in the background is a plus! The hero is dapper, and the heroine’s costume hints at interesting things. Indeed, on the first page we learn of her: For now it suited her purposes to be taken for a foreigner… Definitely intriguing!

Here’s a lovely cover for Amanda McCabe’s 2002 THE GOLDEN FEATHER. What makes this cover stand out for me is the lighting — the whole feeling here, the mood, the mystery is created by the way the artist handles the light. The gaming table in the background promises interesting historical detail, and heroine’s mask hints at an intriguing character! And at least part of the picture is accurate; when the hero sees the heroine, he notices: Mrs. Archer was very striking. And she did indeed have a magnificent bosom, its whiteness set off by the low bodice of her green satin gown.

Here’s one for Amanda, who loves headless characters! Well, these are half headless, anyway. A lovely and unusual Signet cover, from April of this year, for Sophia Nash’s LORD WILL & HER GRACE. So…is the heroine kissing him? Turning away as he tries to kiss her? Ah, the questions this covers creates! The pose looks simple at first glance, but another look shows the tense way she holds her fan, and the way her body is turned quite away from him…definitely makes one want to find out more!

Here’s one of Zebra’s gorgeous covers from earlier this year — May, to be precise — for Judith Laik’s THE LADY IS MINE. I love the silhouette (and her later book had a similar silhouette, but with purple in the background). It’s elegant and lovely, and very very Regency. Even better, if you look closely, you can see all sorts of things in the yellow background! Definitely one of my favorite covers. It doesn’t reveal much about the story, but a cover like this doesn’t need to…even for a hero who talks about potential brides thus: “After all, one can’t spend all one’s time in bed. Over the years one will occasionally have to chat with the woman.” Hmm…perhaps another man who needs to be taught a lesson! 🙂

I positively adore this cartoon cover for Myretta Robens’ ONCE UPON A SOFA, which was another May 2005 release from Zebra. It’s funny, it’s catchy, it’s bright and colorful, and it’s very very new. The colors, the composition — everything is perfect!

So — which of these covers do you like best? Why? What sort of covers do you like in general? (Amanda doesn’t have to answer — we know she likes headless people best! BTW, Amanda, are you a fan of Washington Irving, by any chance???) 🙂

Cara King,
MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency November 2005

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17 years ago

I like all these covers! But I must admit, I particularly like Judith Laik’s, which is clearly set in Magical Yellow Land. In Magical Yellow Land, all things except the people are painted in shades of brilliant yellow. It’s so bright there that the people only show up as silhouettes. Which at least means you don’t have to worry about getting hair and eye color right. 🙂


17 years ago

And by the way, the book is pretty good, too!


Elena Greene
17 years ago

I have a bunch of Georgette Heyers with the Barbosa covers–agree, they are very evocative!

I can’t agree about SWEET AND TWENTY. The anachronistic hairstyle just screams 70’s to me. Sorry! PRETTY KITTY I like because of the different background and the hero’s obvious wound–though I have to say they seem out of tune with the cutesy title.

I totally agree about THE LADY FROM SPAIN–and the packaging matches the book, which is one of my favorites by Gail Eastwood.

LORD WILL AND HER GRACE–also very lovely and evocative of sensuality.

The new Zebra covers are gorgeous and distinctive. (You probably all know by now that my pet peeve with the covers is that too often they are all the same.)

As to which cover I liked best, I haven’t a clue!

Elena 🙂

Cara King
17 years ago

Well, Elena, we can agree to disagree about SWEET AND TWENTY’s cover! 🙂 If only I had all my old Heyer paperbacks here (they seem to still be in storage) I could do a post on my favorite delightful anachronistic covers — and why I don’t hate them even though they’re all wrong! 🙂

But I’ll agree to AGREE with you that THE LADY FROM SPAIN is a great book!

By the way, Todd, did it ever occur to you that YOU might live in Magical Yellow Land? Just wondering… 🙂


Megan Frampton
17 years ago

Oh, Cara, I love these posts! I love these old covers, these are what attracted them to me in the first place, although I do have a special spot in my heart for Cartland’s early Bantams. I have to stand on the side with Elena, though, about Sweet And Twenty. The hairstyle is way too Carnaby street for me.

17 years ago

I like the three Signets there. To me, they are a nice type of busy, but not going overboard, and do sometimes give you a clue about what’s inside, either a scene, or something close to the written scene, and (with the ones I thought to compare), the people tend to have the hair color as written! You really have to love that! 🙂

Amanda McCabe
17 years ago

I LOVE seeing these old covers, Cara! It has inspired me to go back through my keeper shelves and see what else I can find. 🙂 And I agree about the old Cartlands, Megan–all those weirdly craggy-faced people, with the sparkly tulle dresses and smeared background.

17 years ago

You callin’ me yellow, ma’am?


Sophia Nash
17 years ago

Cara- I love your comments about my cover: “So…is the heroine kissing him? Turning away as he tries to kiss her? Ah, the questions this covers creates! The pose looks simple at first glance, but another look shows the tense way she holds her fan, and the way her body is turned quite away from him…definitely makes one want to find out more!”
I will tell you the real story behind the cover…My editor wanted something a little different as she felt this book was unusual for the traditional line. I gave her a few ideas and voila…I have to say it is my favorite of all my covers. But, I did have to change the color of my heroine’s hair from brown to blonde in the story as the cover heroine has blond hair. The funniest reaction to the cover was from my children – they thought it looked like me and my husband. However, no miracle bra in the world is going to give me that sort of cleavage! Best, Sophia

Risky Regencies
17 years ago

Thanks for sharing the inside info on your cover, Sophia! So you actually changed the color of your heroine’s hair??? That’s dedication above and beyond, if you ask me! Wow! It is a fantastic cover.


17 years ago

My favorites are Pretty Kitty, The Lady is Mine, and Lord Will and Her Grace.

Fun selection of covers!

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