When I think of iconic romance novels, the first place my mind goes is to a childhood memory of sneaking my grandmother’s vintage Mills & Boon out of her bedside drawers. They were an elegant mystery, and despite not being old enough to read them, I can picture their covers full of gorgeous ladies and dashing heroes even now.
Mills & Boon covers have come a long way since then, so let’s have a look at some classic covers and see how they fare against their modern equivalents!
I adore this vintage cover! The pastel colours, the elegant clothes, how dreamy! I think our more modern covers trend towards brighter, more eye-catching colours, a definite change from the more vintage designs.
From ‘office wife’ to love for life!
Landing a job as Austin Fortune’s assistant was a dream come true for Felicity Schafer – until she made the mistake of falling for her boss! But the brooding executive was nursing wounds from a nasty divorce, so she kept her distance. Now, after five years, Felicity seems no closer to a promotion – or to getting Austin to open up. Will giving notice finally get Austin to take notice?
There’s clear a trend towards using more close cropped images on more recent covers, which I think does a great job of focusing on the couple and their passion, but I do love the covers that lean heavily on the landscape. I feel like I’m being swept right into the beautiful location of the story.
Greek Mavericks: Seduced Into The Greek’s World
Carides’s Forgotten Wife – Maisey Yates
Greek billionaire Leon Carides has it all: wealth, power, notoriety, even a wife – though he’s never touched his convenient bride. Then an accident rids this damaged, debauched playboy of his memories…
Leon remembers nothing, except his wife’s sparkling blue eyes. Now, the desire he feels for Rose overrides the gaps in his past, making her impossible to resist! But when his sins catch up with him, can Rose forgive the mistakes of the man he once was? Or will Leon lose more than just his memory?
Captivated By The Greek – Julia James
Mel Cooper intends to travel the world and shake off the shackles of her past. Until charismatic billionaire Nikos Parakis offers her a glimpse into his world full of opulent riches and sensual delicacies…
Salesgirl Mel may not be the rich lothario’s usual type but she can’t resist Nikos’s tempting offer: a no-strings romance with sun, sea and sinful seduction. But soon Mel discovers the cost of sultry nights with the captivating Greek – she’s pregnant! And when Nikos learns she’s carrying his heir, Mel risks losing her liberty once more…
The Return Of Antonides – Anne McAllister
Widow Holly Halloran’s fresh start is only a plane ride away. Until Lukas Antonides – the man she hates but has never been able to forget – strides arrogantly back into her life. Lukas was her late husband’s best friend and he openly disapproved of Holly. Then one unforgettable night their acrimony ricocheted into the bedroom!
Now the arrogant Greek is kicking the hornets’ nest again – by offering Holly a job. Holly agrees, determined not to let Lukas get beneath her surface this time. But as the tension mounts between them so too does that bubbling attraction of old…
Betty Neels is one of the Mills & Boon greats, and it’s easy to see how her stories have stood the test of time. Her covers have undergone one of the most drastic change though, from muted monotone to bright, poppy colours. I’m definitely much more of a fan of the updated covers in this case!
Sappha Devenish jumped at the chance of a job in Scotland when her romance with Andrew went wrong. The change in scenery – not to mention the presence of an attractive Dutch doctor – did take her mind off her heartbreak. But then Andrew came back – and Sappha was entangled in the past once more!
Medical stories have always been a fan-favourite amongst Mills & Boon readers – probably because they feature contemporary characters with heart’s of gold. I really enjoy these pulpy classic covers, although I enjoy the fresh feel of the modern iterations too. I like that on the newer covers, it’s not clear who the medical professional is – the doctor could be the hero or the heroine, no-one is typecast here!
He never meant to love again…until he goes to Vietnam!
Widower Scottish GP Joe and his young son are in Vietnam for a fresh start. Volunteering at a humanitarian hospital, Joe is surprised by how quickly he feels at home — which could have something to do with beautiful, intriguing Dr Lien, his colleague and unofficial tour guide. With her, Joe glimpses a tantalising future…if he can let go of the past.
Out of all of the covers featured, these suspense-filled stories seem to have changed the least. In fact, the lady on the modern cover looks like she could be the daughter of the lady on the vintage cover! Both feature a couple in peril, and tend towards a single colour wash over the background.
Does she have the key to solving a murder? A Cavanaugh is on the (cold) case!
Kenzie Cavanaugh strives to prove herself to her legendary law enforcement family. But when her missing persons case grabs the attention of infuriating – gorgeous – Detective Hunter Brannigan, she grudgingly collaborates with her work rival to catch a killer. As the partners uncover a lethal conspiracy, they must learn to trust their instincts, and one another, to stay alive.
Probably the ‘sexiest’ covers on this list, it’s interesting to see how these covers portray intimacy in eerily similar ways. I guess some things never change!
Illicit pleasures…are harder to resist!
A flirty encounter with a stranger leads Gabe Foster into a sex-filled night in Vegas. But he wakes up alone…with a hangover and a wedding band on his left hand. Then he discovers his new ‘wife’ is also his unsuspecting boss’s daughter, Ellie. She’s definitely off limits now, but that only makes their connection harder to resist. Will Gabe risk everything for a taste of forbidden pleasure?
Animals have always been a part of the Mills & Boon world, perhaps now even more than ever. It’s a little hard to find older covers with dogs on them, but now we’re seeing whole units based around couples and their canine companions. How gorgeous is the illustration on that vintage Lilian Peake though?
What she forgot could kill her!
Injured by an attack she can’t remember, Abigail Jones knows someone’s after her, but she doesn’t know why or who. Now the man who rescued her, Officer Reed Branson, and his K-9 partner will shield her while she regains her memory. But unraveling the mystery surrounding Abigail leads to more questions than answers…and to a ruthless enemy who’s determined to take their lives.
This is my favourite of all the vintage covers on this list, because it’s really what comes to mind when you think of a vintage bodice-ripper! Today’s historical reads are a little lighter on the lighter on the revealing clothes, but the stories inside are just as passionate. I’d love to see these classic covers make a comeback!
A soldier burdened by guilt…to the future Earl of Foxgrove?
Captain Lucas Johns-Ives is injured in the same battle that killed his brother. Haunted by loss, Lucas is saved by Mairi Wallace. In this Highland idyll, masquerading as her family’s butler, Lucas can avoid the responsibilities of becoming the new earl. He’s tempted by Mairi’s sweetness — but to win her hand, he must face his demons and claim his noble birthright…
Which are your favourite covers on this list? Any styles you’d like to see make a comeback? Let us know in the comments below!