One of my favorite Romances is Loving Julia, by Karen Robards, which came out in 1986. I probably read that book a bazillion times. The hero, Sebastian, was :::gasp::: blond! Here’s the cover:

Cover of Loving Julia by Karen Robards

Cover of Loving Julia

Yes, it’s a little beat up, but I read this book a lot. On page 36, Sebastian is described like this:

This man was blond, lean, and blindingly beautiful with the flawlessly molded face of one of the Lord’s archangels.

On that cover, people, the hero is BLOND.

Blond heroines abound in Romance, but sometime in the mid-1990’s I think, the blond hero became anathema on the cover and almost as rare between the pages. Word was, blond heroes don’t sell. I checked on Amazon, by the way, and the available paperbacks of this book have a yellow cover with flowers, not a shirtless blond dude about to ravish a brunette beauty. Readers complain about covers that don’t match the story, but this one comes pretty darn close.

Why I loved this book

I loved the icy, remote, Sebastian, and I loved how he learned to unbend. It’s a Pygmalion story and I had the same issues with the trope here as I do with My Fair Lady; the quickness with which women are trained up to be worthy of a man. But Sebastian is no asshat ‘Enry Higgins, thank goodness. I think it’s the blond hair. Like Eliza Dolittle, Jewel, the heroine, is not stupid. She really, really, wants to take advantage of this chance to change her life.

Sebastian gets drunk and has intercourse with her, and for Jewel it’s emotionally transformative and for him–so he says later, it’s a blank.

Robards writes a good grovel and you know it’s coming.

And that’s why I LOVE this book.


As I thumbed through my copy of this book, I could not help noticing that the pages are yellow, getting brittle, and though the pages are still glued in, if I read it again, I’d have to be careful.

Which makes me wonder about people who talk about the permanence of paper books.

Not really, right? They only mean certain books. Not all books.

Alas, alas, alas, Loving Julia is NOT available as an eBook, and that makes me sad.

What’s one of your favorite romances?