Columns > Published on June 8th, 2012

The Top 10 Worst Romance Covers

Romance novels have notoriously terrible covers. Is it intentional? It must be, right? For that, I sort of love them. They're eye-catching and their genres are easily defined. That's the pinnacle of advertising success! If you're looking for a romance novel, you don't have to read the spine or the summary to know you've found one. Just grab the most hideously covered books at the store and you're set.

So yeah, they're all bad - but these are the worst.

1. 'Baby Bonanza' by Maureen Child, 2008

First impression: There's an entire series dedicated to billionaires and babies? 

WTF is going on: This particular billionaire looks a bit bemused to be carrying twins (in his arms, not his womb). Were they thrust upon him? Are they his? How is he so surprised by these babies? One presumes this unsuspecting tycoon was just baby-blitzed by a one night stand from his recent past. 


2. 'Bushwhacked Groom' by Eugenia Riley, 2004

First impression: This is a creepy little tableau.

WTF is going on: So something's been recently shot in the boudoir, and they're happy about it. She's in an ugly nightie and he's got muscles and sideburns. He's all, "You wily minx!" So she must have just defended his honor against some diabolical interlopers, I guess.


3. 'The Cowboy and the Cossack' by Merline Lovelace, 1994 

First impression: Code Name: DANGER!

WTF is going on: I can't tell - are they riding a horse? A motorcycle? Straddling a diner table? Is that a bell on his boot? So many questions! One thing's for sure: she's a cunning person of Slavic descent, and he has cowboy boots. Fish out of water hijinks ensue!


4. 'Discreet Young Gentleman' by M.J. Pearson, 2006

First impression: Lovers of gay romance the world over deserve better than this.

WTF is going on: Wolverine is banging Gaston, no?


5. 'Leaving L.A.' by Rexanne Becnel, 2006

First impression: Those are not maternity pants.

WTF is going on: This young lady is going home again - who says she can't? She's taking her giant teddy bear, and her hat box, and her midriff shirt, and her citrus print pants and her enormous baby-stuffed belly and going home!


6. 'Nighthawk' by Kristen Kyle, 1997

First impression: So much hair on this cover!

WTF is going on: An Elven princess falls in love and lust with Richard Marx, who gives up his highly successful recording career to hunt gazelle with her in outer space.


7. 'Promise Me Paradise' by Ellen Tanner Marsh, 1998

First impression: Who are Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen Woodiwiss?

WTF is going on: She's a genie?


8. 'Rumor Has It' by Cindi Myers, 2004

First impression: I legitimately do not understand how these two forms fit together.

WTF is going on: Hot and heavy make-out sesh in the car, for sure. But where is his head? Where is the rest of her body? How is her hand at that angle from her feet? I've stared at this cover for several minutes, and my brain cannot make sense of what my eyes are seeing.


9. 'The Very Virile Viking' by Sandra Hill, 2011

First impression: Well, hellooooo

WTF is going on: He's virile. He's a Viking. And he's victorious over those empty fields! Also, he's hot - even though his nipples are slightly askew. But who am I to split hairs?


10. 'Yule Be Mine' by Jennifer LaBrecque, 2008

First impression: That review quote seems a little ambiguously attributed. 

WTF is going on: Well, it's Christmas. There's some wine, some foreplay, some intense staring and the ugliest rug I have ever seen. It's love-making time!

Go crazy with your Google Image searching and link to your worst in the comments. Fair warning: this could suck hours out of your day, trust me.

About the author

Meredith is a writer, editor and brewpub owner living in Houston, Texas. Her four most commonly used words are, "The book was better."

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