Themes in British Social History

So a couple of days ago, I was looking at my shelf on Booklikes and saw that they were using the wrong cover for Cecilia Grant’s A Gentleman Undone: a Polish-language scholarly book on medieval history with a distinctly scholarly-book cover (sadly I didn’t take a screenshot and it’s fixed now! Does anyone have one?). Then this conversation happened on twitter:

twitter conversation about scholarly covers being the next trend in erotic romance

[transcript of screencapped twitter convo:

Jackie Barbosa (‏@jackiebarbosa): Well, it certainly doesn’t look like anything anyone would be embarrassed to read on the subway!
Cecilia Grant ‏(@Cecilia_Grant): Maybe this will be the next trend in erotic romance covers! The scholarly look!
Isobel Carr ‏(@IsobelCarr): So tempted. May need to make a scholarly book cover for my site.
Jackie Barbosa (‏@jackiebarbosa): I know. I was thinking of trying it on something, just for funsies.
Me: Let’s start a meme!
Isobel: I suck at using GIMP, but I’m game to try.]


fake scholarly cover of Sweet Disorder

Inspiration: The English Town 1680-1840 by Rosemary Sweet. Image credit: Covent Garden Market, Westminster Election by Rowlandson and Pugin, via Wikimedia Commons.

fake 1960s-style scholarly cover of In for a Penny with an orange-red background and a huge picture of a Regency penny

Inspiration: The Jew in the Literature of England by Montagu Frank Modder. Image credit for the penny: photo by Detecting on Wikimedia Commons.

fake scholarly cover of A Lily Among Thorns

Inspiration: miscellaneous, but the formatting is from the Lancaster Pamphlets series, especially The Great Reform Act of 1832 by Eric J. Evans. I tried to do a weird background image with an old map of London but my GIMP skills were not sufficient to get the right look. Image: Redouté’s “Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria pelegrina)” from a Dover clipart book I have.

And a couple of bonus covers of two of my favorite classic historicals:

fake scholarly cover of Lord of Scoundrels with a picture of evening gloves with a long row of pearl buttons

Inspiration: the Dodo Press edition of Godwin’s memoirs of Wollstonecraft. Image credit: If anyone knows the source beyond that, let me know!

fake scholarly cover of Georgette Heyer's The Corinthian with a picture of a Corinthian column

Inspiration: Britain Before the Reform Act: Politics and Society 1815-1832 by Eric J. Evans. Image credit: Rob and Lisa Meehan’s photo on Wikimedia Commons.

ETA: At Cecilia Grant’s request, I did The Black Moth too:

fake scholarly cover for the Black Moth, with weird color blocking and a photo of a moth desaturated in panels

Inspiration: Slave Women in Caribbean Society 1650-1838 by Barbara Bush. Image credit: This photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson via Wikimedia Commons.

Other authors’ covers: Isobel Carr, Jackie Barbosa, Olivia Waite, Ros Clarke.

What romance would you like to see with a scholarly cover?

ETA: I made a bunch more of these during my True Pretenses blog tour, for books by JR Ward, Meredith Duran, Theresa Romain, Molly O’Keefe, Susanna Fraser, and of course TP itself.

ETA2: Part 3. Listen to the Moon plus 10 more romances requested by commenters.

10 thoughts on “Themes in British Social History”

    1. Thank you! We can only hope. 🙂 (Although TBH I love the concept of traditional romance covers, it’s only the execution that frequently makes me wince.)

  1. Don’t forget, you need an explanatory subtitle that comes after your catchy-but-vague title!
    Sweet Disorder: Women’s Electoral Agency in Freeman Boroughs, 18– to 18–
    (I don’t know the date when your book is set but I’m sure you’ve got one, given the research you’ve put into it!)

  2. Oh, not to forget
    In for a Penny: Domestic Effects of Cross-Class Marriage in Early 19th Century Britain
    A Lily Among Thorns: A Gendered View of Class Mobility in Early 19th Century London
    Now they’re ready to go on a syllabus!

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