Home | Index

Email comments, corrections, additions to Gemma

Cover art appearing on more than one Mills & Boon Historical or Harlequin Historical

This page was becoming so large that I have broken it up into several pieces, including a page for the oddball honourable mentions. I've also added a cover re-use FAQ.

Jump to: covers used on 4+ titles, 3 titles, 2 in the same country, 2 different countries (1), 2 different (2), honourable mentions.
Jump to: all on one page (6.5MB), cover re-use FAQ.

Cover Art Re-use FAQ

How do you find all these duplicates?

Occasionally I see a new cover and immediately remember which book I've seen it on before. Other times a new cover is familiar but I have to scan back through my collection of images to find who else used it.

Some other romance readers have emailed me when they've spotted duplicates. (I'm not the only one who notices!)

Others I have found through deliberately picking out all the cover images with a certain pose or colour (this doesn't work so well when they re-tint the covers!). You can then easily spot duplicates in such a small subset.

Isn't this a bit crazy?

I'd rather go for "delightfully obsessive" if you don't mind.

Why are you peeved by this? It makes economic sense.

Pet peeves can be fun. Also reusing the same image (especially in quick succession in the same country) is confusing for those of us with good visual memories. Picture me in a library browsing the Mills & Boon shelf. I pull out a novel with a pretty forgettable title and look at the cover to see if I've read it. I recognise the picture.... but have I read it? I can't tell you for certain.

This annoyance applies to any of us (who notice & care) who pick up books in libraries, second hand bookshops, on ebay, etc. It wouldn't matter so much to someone who subscribes to the series but who isn't driven to seek out the authors' backlists. I.e. you are annoying some of your best fans. For all I know this only bothers a tiny handful of fans, but since this particular fan has built a website I feel fully entitled to give my obsession free reign!

I do wonder what the cover artists think. I don't know if they get paid extra each time a cover is re-used. For all I know they quite like the system. I assume that authors would prefer cover art "made to measure" since that might be more likely to match the tone and content of their novels. But authors appear to get no say, and specially commissioned art can be totally inappropriate (and it's easy for an artist to make nasty historical faux pas), whereas an image judiciously picked from a stock library can be a wonderful match.

Have you ever accidentally duplicated entries on your cover duplicates page?

Yes!

Are there any duplicates you approve of?

Indeed there are!

For example, Paula Marshall wrote a romance which spanned two books (unusual in itself for Mills & Boon). Whoever picked the British covers took a montage cover from the image library and cropped it to show the heroine on the first cover, then the hero and heroine in a cozying up to each other on the second.

I secretly quite enjoy the ingenuity shown whenever a small clinch couple on a montage cover get reused as the principle image on a new cover. But don't tell anyone, as it might affect my curmudgeonly reputation.

Given that re-using cover art appears to be inescapable, are there any covers that you would like to see re-used?

There are a couple of the old Harlequin Regency Romances with slightly unlikely covers. I would love to see someone write a romance and deliberately include an outdoor parrot escape scene, or have the hero lure the heroine indoors to see his ant farm.

Then there are covers which I find attractive. So if it wouldn't be confusing and annoying, I think they'd deserve to get another outing.

I am particularly fond of covers which appear to be more period correct than average. I like covers which show heroines without makeup, or almost so (if the story is set in a period in which respectable women did not wear makeup, that is). And with her hair up if she's not in the bedroom. And likewise, the hero not falling out of his shirt without an excuse. And if the heroine is displaying her underwear, she should have it on in the right order (i.e. corset goes over shift/chemise). There aren't all that many of these!

(Contrast them to the more numerous covers with heroines in over-the-top makeup.)

Jump to: covers used on 4+ titles, 3 titles, 2 in the same country, 2 different countries (1), 2 different (2), honourable mentions.
Jump to: all on one page (6.5MB), cover re-use FAQ.