Historical romance covers can be beautiful artwork. I’ve seen some that take my breath away. When you look at the older covers from the bodice-ripping days, there are three major poses that come to mind. These are still, for the most part, on our twenty-first-century historical romance book covers. If it’s not the poses of the hero and heroine together, it’s usually the flowing dress of a single female character. Nevertheless, have a bit of a chuckle with me as we look at these rather awkward positions.
The Back Strain
This pose has the male bending the lady backward. You have to admit the older covers usually have the man grabbing one leg at the same time. I can imagine an ensuing backache and sustained neck strain if a shirtless man bent me over backward, while I lifted my naked leg up against his side. You have to chuckle at some of the faces of these ladies who appear to be in pain as they turn away from the overpowering male. To add to the commonality of the pose, the wind is always blowing through the lady’s hair. Do these covers make you go ouch at the thought of the dominant male seducing you as your spine cracks? Has the pose diminished in current historical romance covers? Not really. Backs and necks are still out of line, however, it’s hard to find the consistent leg up these days.
The Behind Approach
Moving on from the back and neck strain pose comes the opposite with the hero seductively approaching the heroine from behind. Not quite as popular as the frontal seduction, they still make up a large number of covers in the historical romance genre.
As you can see, the windstorm continues with flying female hair in a few of the scenes. The male domination remains as the shirtless, seductive hero clutches their female prey from behind. The ladies turn their heads backward, getting a good look at their seducer. One cover I discovered looks like a gymnastics movement, as the hero raises her in the air while clutching her hips.
The Reclining Lovers
From the back and neck strain to the grasping male from behind, comes the ultimate place most heroes are hoping to place their heroines — on their back.
After searching through the covers of past and present, this pose seems to be the least used in the variety of physical positions. Nonetheless, it serves to take the story to a satisfying conclusion, if you get my drift. I’ve posted a few goodies from the past on my blog page.
As much as I love the genre, you still need a little humor to brighten the read. I guess you could say that these classic covers and current covers is what defines the genre and gives it the heat. Of course, not all historical romance covers are risque, as the more pure Jane Austen-type-Regencies have their fair share of fully dressed characters in upright positions on the book cover. In addition, the heat index of covers has toned down as well, because if it’s too hot, author advertisements on Facebook and other platforms get rejected.
What is your favorite pose? The back strain? The behind embrace, or the laying in the grass with your lover? If I had to choose one, I’d probably take the embrace from behind. I don’t want my neck to crack or ants crawling in my hair, no matter how hot the guy is on top.