Romantic Suspense Covers ~ Fonts on Steroids

The Dead Will Tell

St. Martins ~ July, 2014

The last time Cover Cafe featured a Romantic Suspense category was in our 2007 cover contest. One of the reasons RS was discontinued was because its popularity was declining and there weren’t enough releases for a separate category. This year, we received one or two comments from voters wishing for a separate RS category. They wondered why there were so few Romantic Suspense covers represented in the contest.

If you look at the current Romantic Suspense releases, you will see one reason why. The current trend in RS is using huge fonts for the titles and authors’ names. This “steroid” trend doesn’t compete well with balanced cover layouts featuring an illustration or photograph on equal footing with the title and author’s name.

I spent a few hours searching for Romantic Suspense covers and discovered that the fonts on steroids trend is still alive and well.  The Dead Will Tell cover is a classic example of  the title and author’s name overpowering the layout.  Look at the tiny row of Amish ladies.  Are they looking at the title in the sky or the tiny vultures circling the dead?  It’s difficult to tell but the cover made me laugh.

I will continue my quest for excellent Romantic Suspense covers and there might be one or two the make it to the final slate of 15 in next year’s contest.   Below I’m posting a few promising RS covers I discovered in my latest search.  They have a nice balance between the title, author’s name and the illustration or images.

Close To Home

Kensington ~ August, 2014

Game Of Fear

Montlake ~ August, 2014


Harlequin HQN ~ August, 2014

Seagrass Pier

Thomas Nelson ~ July, 2014

Do you agree that the RS titles and authors’ names overpower the images or do you like the huge fonts?   For me, it’s all about a perfect balance of the three components – title, author’s name, and the illustration or image.

Harlequin Historical Cover Showdown – UK vs US

We received a recent Harlequin Historical cover nomination with this comment, “There is also a slightly different cover for Harlequin in North America…but I think the UK version is superior.”

The comment inspired another cover showdown between the two styles. I found both covers and two other HH examples to make the decision easier or they might make it more difficult.

First up is the nominated UK cover with its sister US version.

Unlacing Lady Thea

Harlequin UK & US – April, 2014

I like that the UK version doesn’t place their category logo over the heroine’s head but I’m sad that the title and author’s name covers the lacing on the back of the dress.  Why have that enchanting detail and then cover it, especially when it is part of the title?  The hero’s right arm looks awkward on both covers but the UK version makes it look even more awkward.  I vote for the US cover because of the lacing on the dress…love that.

Here is the second duo from the UK and US.

From Ruin to Riches

Harlequin Historical UK & US – January, 2014

I prefer the US version because they didn’t cut off the top of the hero’s head (even though they covered it with the logo.) and the title and author’s name do not overwhelm the illustration.  The dancers being visible on the US version add interest and texture to the cover.   I like that the fan is recognizable on the US version because I can’t tell what it is on the UK cover.   I vote for the US cover from this duo because of the dancers, the fan, and the smaller font.

And last is your third duo.

Rancher Wants a Wife

Harlequin Historical UK & US – January, 2014

This is another case where the heroine’s head being chopped off on the UK cover annoys me.  Why cut off the top of her head instead of cutting off the dress at the bottom of the cover?

I love the seeing more of the sky and prairie background details on the US cover and barely notice the background on the UK version.  The smaller US title and author font appeals to me but I wish  the gorgeous bouquet wasn’t covered by them.  The UK version wins this one by a slim margin because covering the bouquet was a deal breaker for me.

My vote total is 2  US and 1 UK.  Which covers do you prefer and why?