Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Romance Covers: Special Careers Edition

I freely admit I'm cheating with this first cover. It doesn't depict a "career girl," or even a working girl (or a stripper--more about that later). I just wanted to stick it in as an early version of "The Runaway Bride."
Bride in Flight

She looks overjoyed, doesn't she? Heartwarming, really.

Moving right along. This next cover is clipped, but I love it anyway. Partly for the title, which not only calls to mind girls' books of the "Cherry Ames, Army Nurse" variety, but is also defiantly capslocked and stubbornly devoid of dash or a colon. It's CAROL TRENT AIR STEWARDESS, damn it, she doesn't need punctuation!
Carol Trent Air Stewardess

You have to love the way he's staring directly at her chest. I mean, he's not merely casually checking her out, there. He has an expression of intense concentration such as you or I might wear when doing calculus.

I've come to the conclusion that it used to be considered very romantic to depict people--or, really, just their heads--staring off into space and not noticing one another at all.
Fly Away, Love

I was going to comment on the attractions of pilots and uniforms, but I hardly need to. Even in disconnected cover art which looks like it was drawn with crayons, he looks good. Damn.

You know what else is awesome about pilots in romance novels? They're responsible and manly and yet don't have quite the same duty of care towards their passengers as, say, doctors do towards patients. Why am I bringing that up? You'll see.
Cobweb Morning

Sorry, but yes, the cover really is JUST THAT YELLOW. And you're not going to understand why this made the list without a quotation from the back cover.
Alexandra Dobbs knew just how she felt about the inscrutable doctor, Taro van Dresselhuys--but their young patient, Penny, seemed to feel that way about him too. Unfortunately all the cards were stacked in Penny's favor.
And by "all the cards were stacked in Penny's favor," the author apparently means "Penny is not only pretty and possibly under-aged, but an amnesiac!" I'm imagining an inscrutable Ethics Committee probably had to get involved to sort that out.

In contrast, the Doctor and Nurse on this next cover positively exude professionalism.
The Mercy Heroes

...professionalism and heavy makeup.
I'm not entirely sure this is a romance novel, really, because in addition to the standard "brilliant surgeon, devoted to his calling" and "a competent and beautiful nurse, in love and afraid to show it," we have action, and lots of it:
Together they brave a night of blinding snow to pick up an accident case suffering from severe head injuries. They fly through the storm-tossed sky, subdue the crazed patient, race against time...all to save the life of a destitute tramp.
Notice how he has to be brilliant, while she merely has to be competent (and, not coincidentally, beautiful; if she'd been plain, would she have had to be brilliant too? How does the scoring system work in romance novels, does anyone know?).

The bar is lower for our next hero.
Gregor Lotharian Surgeon

Not "brilliant surgeon" or "dedicated surgeon;" it's enough that he's a surgeon. That alone makes him sufficiently desirable, or it did back in 1962, anyway. Nowadays women would probably expect him to have an adequate personality or to dress well or something, God, WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? It was much easier when the rules were clear: go to med school, get chicks.
I also keep misreading that title as "Gregor Lothario," but that's because I'm confusing him with Doctor Woodward, below.

You know, the title of this one made me expect it to be about a nun, which, yes, I know doesn't make any sense for a romance novel.
Heaven is Gentle

It didn't help that the back cover refers to "Sister Eliza Proudfoot," which I stared at in complete confusion for several minutes before the phrase "nursing sister" surfaced from somewhere deep within my memory, dispelling my horrible suspicion that someone had written a romance novel featuring a nun.
I should have guessed, though, from the stethoscope around the man's neck; clearly he is a doctor, so of course the heroine is a nurse. Or an amnesiac. I DON'T EVEN CARE, as long as she's not a nun.

But that's nothing to the misreadings this next cover lends itself to.
Sister Pussycat

Back in the days when there were no helpful websites to generate your stripper name, it was completely possible to read that title with a straight face.
Bonus: the unattractive hero in the vest made from a tablecloth is, of course, a doctor. "Doctor David Jasper," to be precise.

The aforementioned Lothario:
Doctor Woodward's Ambition

From the front cover, you'd guess that Dr. Woodward's ambition consisted of marrying a nurse, and living happily ever after on a diet of fruit and pep pills. Seriously, no one looks as perky as these two without the aid of medication.
But then you read the back cover, and suddenly it all seems so much more sordid.

Why yes: I could resist him. I'm resisting him RIGHT NOW, aided by the nausea induced by his sleeziness and his cartoon moustache.

And I can't end this without something more recent, something from an era which offers something new:
A Doctor in her Stocking

Yes, I know: another damned doctor. That wasn't the "something new" I meant.
What I meant is, the heroine is a pregnant waitress (not a nurse!) with a dead (and formerly deadbeat) husband, and there are explicit sex scenes between her and "Reed Atchison, M.D.," who offers to let her live at his place because he's lost a bet. The sex scenes are especially special since the entire book spans less than two weeks, not to mention the whole "hugely pregnant" thing. Sex during pregnancy, imho, takes more trust than can be established in two weeks.
Also it all takes place at Christmas. And "it all" includes the heroine giving birth, right before the requisite proposal. *facepalm* I don't even know where to start with explaining why I find this all profoundly unromantic...

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