Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah Carlisle: Cleopatra's Carpet

Cleopatra's Carpet is the first book by Sarah Carlisle that I have illustrated by Allan Kass. It was published in December 1979 and is the story of Louisa Bardoff and her unrequited love for Lord Geffrey. Can a London Season bring them together?

Allan Kass illustrates a beautiful night scene for this cover! Our couple standing in front of a fountain and are sharing an intimate moment. Our heroine is pretty in purple, a dress which has quite a modern cut to it, but also Grecian in style. Our hero embraces her and seems cast into the shadow of the evening. Note the cupid on top of the fountain and the flowers growing around the grass. A very pretty cover!

Most regency girls dreamed of going to London during April-July for the season. It was also referred to as the "marriage mart" since many people came to visit and court. A season was expensive and some girls traveled to relatives or in groups in order to attend. For many, it was the one chance to meet young men from outside their neighborhood!

I'm happy that this is the 100th Allan Kass book cover that's listed in my blog! I have just under 800 covers illustrated by Kass and am looking forward to posting all of them here. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Allan Kass did approximately 1000 covers, so I'm convinced that a few are lurking out there that I don't have!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Diana Campbell: The Reluctant Cyprian

The Reluctant Cyprian is the last book of Diana Campbell's that was illustrated by Allan Kass. This book was published in June 1983 and is the story of mistaken identity as Nicholas Stafford took Miss Juliet Brandon to be a cyprian, while in fact she was a young lady of respectability! The plot thickens when she agrees to help Nicholas lead astray his brother, Oliver and still keep her reputation!

Allan Kass shows our couple in a studio. It looks as if our heroine is painting the hero! Note the tools of the trade along with the painting on the easel behind them. Hopefully the heroine has a smock somewhere because it would be a pity to damage that pretty white dress that she is wearing! I'm sure that Diana Campbell was well pleased with the books that Allan Kass illustrated for her!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Diana Campbell: Payment in Kind

Payment in Kind was published in January 1985 and is another one of Diana Campbell's Signet regencies that Allan Kass illustrated. The book is about Molly Trevor, whose father made his fortune as a moneylender and left it all to her. She has her eyes set on a match with the Viscount Ogilvie and will enter society under a different identity to marry him!

Allan Kass must have been in a purple mood on the day he illustrated this book cover, but since purple is one of my favorite colors, I don't mind! Our heroine is pretty in a purple and white trimmed day dress while our hero matches her in his purple coat! I don't know if I have any other covers with the hero in purple! Also note the pretty blue flowers on the bottom right along with the concrete obelisks and gate!

Aristocrats would marry a women of lower class for money and this was considered a last measure to regain a fortune. Most would not contemplate this permanent decision unless it was highly necessary since there would be heiresses in society.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Diana Campbell: A Marriage of Inconvenience

A Marriage of Convenience was published by Signet in November 1982 for Diana Campbell. It is a story about a girl named Marietta Chase, who enters Twin Oaks to marry Roger, but ends up married to his elder brother, Christopher, instead.

Allan Kass draws a touching scene in this cover with our couple sharing a tender moment. Our heroine has a pensive expression, but is elegant in mint green. Our hero seems to comfort her as he gazes down at her from behind. I like how the cover tells a story that makes you want to pick up the book and read the back cover! I'd love to know if Allan's illustrated books sold more copies than the other Signet regencies?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Diana Campbell: Lord Margrave's Deception

Lord Margrave's Deception is the latest Diana Campbell book that I have illustrated by Allan Kass. It was published in April 1982 and is a story about Miranda Russell's receiving a shocking proposal from Lord Margrave that she pose as his wife to enable him to be free of the fortune hunters. She accepts because she is poor and realizes quickly that she wishes to become his wife in truth!

Allan Kass creates a pretty cover of our couple outside enjoying a moment in the garden. The heroine's purple dress is simple and pretty and she wears a matching headband in her brown hair. Our hero has red hair and wears a matching red tailcoat. I love the craggy old tree behind them. It doesn't seem to fit in with the landscaped nature of the lake and wall behind!

Regency life at times was very profligate, but it would have been difficult for a peer of the realm to have a pretend marriage, even though the Prince Regent once did the very same thing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Diana Campbell: Kissing Cousins

Kissing Cousins was published in May 1986 and is the story of Cecily Osborne who is married to her cousin after he saves her from a seducer. Can these "kissing cousins" find love together?

Allan Kass paints an intricate cover of our couple standing in front of a beautiful mirrored piece of furniture. She wears an royal blue and gold slashed sleeved dress that looks like it could be an evening dress. Her hair is short, which would have been unusual for that time. Again, Allan embellishes his heroine with beautiful gold jewelry! Our hero is elegant in black. Note Allan's signature at the bottom right of this cover.

It was common for cousins to marry in regency England and it is still legal in many US states for first cousins to marry, though most think this weird! Many times it was to keep the estates intact and you knew the bloodlines and family. Remember how Lady Catherine wanted her daughter to marry Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Diana Campbell: Family Affairs

Family Affairs was published by Signet in July 1984 for Diana Campbell and is the story of Gwen and Viscount Fullerton as they try to break up the relationship of their respective parents! Can they do this without falling in love themselves?

Allan Kass paints another of my favorite covers! I love how the hero and heroine seem to be sharing an intimate moment! He is handsome in black evening wear while she wears a beautiful gold dress that is made elegant by her beautiful necklace and earrings along with her embroidered shawl. The room in which they stand is pretty, but what catches the eye is the green marble topped dresser. Most of Allan's models were townspeople of Big Sky, Montana or his children!

I remember this being a fun read with the parents causing trouble that is usually reserved for their children!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Diana Campbell: The Earl's Invention

The Earl's Invention is also by Diana Campbell and was published in October 1986. It is a story about Bonnie Gordon, who is persuaded by the Earl of Sedgewick to pose as his niece in order to halt the expenditures of his heirs.

Allan Kass's illustration of this book is classic! I love the covers that he created in the mid-1980's. They are just full of beauty and elegance! This cover shows our couple dressed formally with our hero dashing with a red sash and a bit of gray in his hair! He leans on a brocade covered chair while our heroine is pretty in blue. I like the gold trimming on her dress and in her hair along with her long gloves. They stand in a room that is ornate without being overdone. Allan Kass was a master at creating a beautiful scene for his couples. Another beautiful and unique illustration that was not the norm for 1980's romances!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Diana Campbell: The Counterfeit Countess

The Counterfeit Countess was published in December 1983 by Signet for author Diana Campbell. This is the second book of hers illustrated by Allan Kass and it is the story of Selina, who poses as the wife of Lord Worsham in order to gain access to high society while he is trying to gain a fortune from his very strict grandmother.

Allan Kass creates an elegant cover of our couple at a ball. They stand outside and our heroine is dressed in a teal gown with gold accents. I like her matching jewelry and tiara. Note that our hero wears a velvet jacket and lace cravat! Allan initials this book in the lower right corner.

While this plot makes for fun reading, it's assumed that it wouldn't have happened in regency days. Any female spending the night with an unmarried man would have been ruined and have needed to marry immediately.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Diana Campbell: A Breath of Scandal

A Breath of Scandal is the first book by Diana Campbell that I have illustrated by Allan Kass. Signet published this book in October 1987. The story is about Susanna Randall, who marries the Earl of Langham, who has seemingly disappeared after visiting the United States. She is ready to annul her marriage when he unexpectantly returns at the time she is ready to make another alliance!

Allan Kass creates a very interesting cover for this book. Our hero is different in that he has prematurely graying hair! Our heroine is elegant in a pink bonnet and pelisse. she carries a large striped hatbox, which meant that she was shopping or traveling. In the background stands the coach, coachman, and horse. This cover makes you wonder if the hero went gray from visiting the US!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Miranda Cameron: The Undaunted Bride

The Undaunted Bride is the last Allan Kass cover art done for Miranda Cameron. This book was published in March 1987 and is the story of Beatrice and Gareth, who start out their married life on a misunderstanding. Can getting to know one another create love for them?

Allan Kass illustrates an interesting cover. Our couple is center with the estate house and sky looming large behind them. Both are dressed in riding gear and in an interesting pose where she leans on his shoulder while he holds her from behind. This cover could almost be taken for a gothic romance!

This couple, like many during regency times, married for money or position, not love. This was not uncommon since people married to better themselves and their future offspring. Marrying for love was done, but became popular after the marriage of Queen Victoria.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Miranda Cameron: A Scandalous Bargain

A Scandalous Bargain was published in August 1983 and Miranda Cameron writes a story about Valeria, whose brother has indebted himself to the Earl of Carlyle. Valeria's only solution to help her brother is to offer herself to Lord Carlyle, but she is determined to make him fall in love!

Allan Kass illustrates our couple in an embrace, so they obviously fell in love!! Again, Allan is so great in drawing proportions and I like the lines of her dress as she embraces the hero. Her hairdo is the other feature that stands out in this cover: very curly and elegant! I also like how this illustration is so relaxed! You feel as if you're peeking into a tender, intimate moment with this couple!

When I glance back at all of the illustrations Allan did for Miranda Cameron, I can't help but feel that she must have been thrilled at the cover art for her stories! They are so beautiful!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Miranda Cameron: The Meddlesome Heiress

The Meddlesome Heiress is the third book illustrated by Allan Kass for Miranda Cameron. It was published in December 1983 by Signet. It is a story about Diantha Cunningham whose possession of an estate managed by Lord Rotherford causes some hard feelings between them. Could love be part of the problem?

This is a very pretty cover by Allan Kass. Our couple is outside spending a moment together. What initially strikes me is all the color in this cover. Our heroine is golden in a gown of the same color with darker trim. Our hero leans against the wall dressed in a smart coat. Note all of the shadow and shading in this cover. Very nice!

Back in the early '80's, most regencies had a similar plot with a heroine being pursued by three eligible gentlemen and this one is no different! These earlier stories usually had a good plot and good writing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Miranda Cameron: Lord Cleary's Revenge

Lord Cleary's Revenge was published in August 1985 and is the story of Felicia Mannering who is engaged to Darcy Vellacort. Vellacort killed Lord Cleary's brother in a duel, so he plans to take his revenge by wooing away Vellacort's fiancee!

Allan Kass illustrates a classic and beautiful cover for this book. Our heroine is featured as she sits on a bench with our hero wooing her from behind. She wears a simple regency empire dress in rose and gold jewelry, which compliments her dress. Our hero is handsome in maroon and the detail of the garden wall is fascinating! It's noteworthy to mention that most books published in the 1980's didn't have the beauty and attention to detail as Allan created!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Miranda Cameron: The Dissolute Duke

The Dissolute Duke is the first of five books Allan Kass illustrated for Miranda Cameron. This book was published by Signet in September 1986. The story is about Celeste and her conviction that the Duke of Malvern was the worst man in England! She couldn't figure out why she was so attracted to him when he was such a monster to everyone else!

This is one of Allan Kass's classic cover illustrations. I think during period from 1980-1990 he produced some of his best work! This cover is an example with all the detail of the background, outdoors, and people. Our couple stand in an embrace by a window with a beautiful scene of the English countryside. Note the gathers of her bodice and the folds of his sleeve. Also, the bracelets on the wrist of the heroine are a classic Kass feature! He was superb in his rendition of the human figure!

Friday, September 11, 2009

June Calvin: My Lord Ghost

My Lord Ghost was written in October 1996 by Signet and it is the second and last book of June Calvin's that Allan Kass published. She did publish more regencies by Signet. This is a Halloween themed book also trying to mimic the popular paranormal books that were being published. Juliette doesn't believe in ghosts, but is wondering if Hammerswold Castle contains one!

Allan Kass didn't like illustrating gimmicky covers and tried to stay away from them. He paints a Halloween ball scene in this one with our couple on a balcony where our heroine looks as if she's seen a ghost! I like the positioning of the pumpkin and the gargoyle! Our couple is handsome in evening clothes and the people in the background are enjoying the ball. The elegance of the scene keep it from becoming gimmicky.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

June Calvin: The Jilting of Baron Pelham

The Jilting of Baron Pelham was published in December 1994 by Signet for June Calvin. This is one of 2 books that Allan Kass published for her. This is the story of Davida who is new to London and being pursued by three very different gentlemen with three very different agendas!

I really like this cover by Allan Kass. Our couple is outside enjoying a picnic in a very pretty spot. Looking at the cover, it suggests that our couple is pausing in their walk to the gazebo in the background where they plan to picnic. Our heroine is bright in a yellow dress and the daisy that the hero is presenting her compliments her dress. He is informal in a vest and trousers. Note his belt, which looks very modern! The apple, checked cloth and stone bridge all add to the beauty of the cover.

London society was an adventure for a young miss looking for a husband. One had to be wise to navigate through the suitors and gentle in order to catch one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Janet Caird: The Shrouded Way

The Shrouded Way by Janet Caird is the second gothic romance I have that was illustrated by Allan Kass. It was published by Signet in January 1974. It is the story of Elizabeth who discovers the key to sunken treasure off the coast of Scotland and finds that her life is now in danger. Can the Laird of Mourie House save her or is he part of the trap?

This is a very pretty cover at first glance but after looking closely at it I see some interesting features. It's fascinating that the heroine's outfit doesn't look outdated 35 years later! I also like how Allan uses the color green to show off the countryside, but also emphasize the water by making the sky a green haze. Not too menacing at first glance, but it does make one want to pick up the book and examine it! Another favorite from Allan Kass!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Janet Caird: The Loch

Janet Caird writes The Loch, which may be one of the first Gothic Romances that Allan Kass illustrated in my blog. This book was published in March 1974 and is a story of Janet Ogilvy who is intrigued by the caves that appeared after a tidal wave and she's worried about her love, Alan, who may be in danger.

Allan Kass paints an interesting cover in a typical gothic fashion with our heroine in the center of the cover with a haunted looking house in the background and the loch of the title calm and quiet. She is dressed in a long sleeved sweater and long skirt, but very different than the regency covers he mainly painted. I hope that you enjoy the gothic covers and the differences with the regencies.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nancy Butler: Keeper of the Swans

Keeper of the Swans is the only book by Nancy Butler that was illustrated by Allan Kass. She did write others for the Signet line. This book was published in September 1998 and may be the last book illustrated by Allan.

It is the story of Diana, who runs away from her betrothal ball and is rescued from a boating accident by Romulus Perrin, a mysterious man who tends to the river swans.

This is a very pretty cover and an amazing work for a man in his 80's! Our couple are clad in comfortable, outdoors clothes with our heroine's hair casually tied with a bow. The colors of the river are pretty with the swans swimming around and the pretty weeds and flowers surrounding them. Too bad that Signet felt that they had to take up so much room on the cover with the title, etc.

Signet continued to produce Regency Romances until 2005. The trend changed towards paranormal romances and the regency sales were down, besides, in my humble opinion, the quality of the stories was not as good either. Allan Kass retired in 1998 from illustrating book covers. For 20 years, he illustrated some of the prettiest regency and gothic books!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gayle Buck: Tempting Sarah

This is the last Allan Kass book that I have that was authored by Gayle Buck. Tempting Sarah was published by Signet in March 1998, making it one of the last book covers Kass illustrated. It is the story of Sarah and her sister Margaret, who fall in love with the same admirer!

This is an amazing piece of artwork for a man that was 80 years old! It has our hero and heroine looking at pictures either in a private home or gallery. Our heroine is pretty in a lemon yellow dress with a green shawl and bonnet. Note her pretty necklace, which I like since it is one of Allan's trademarks! Our hero is handsome in a dark purple coat and gold waistcoat, which blend well in this picture. Click on the picture to enlarge and enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gayle Buck: The Righteous Rakehell

The Righteous Rakehell was published in November 1988 and is one of Gayle Buck's earliest works. It is the story of Justin, who proposes to Catherine thinking that he could have both a marriage of convenience and a libertine lifestyle. Catherine marries him to show him that he could only really choose one or the other!

Allan Kass paints a vibrant cover of our couple in a box at the opera or theater. The heroine's green gown and wrap stand out vividly against the red fabric of the setting. Note her elegant jewels around her neck, on her ears and head! Our hero is dashing in black formal wear and the touches of her fan, his fob, and the display on the wall behind them all make for an elegant cover.

Regency people loved attending the opera and theater and the very rich would rent a box that was only used by themselves during the season. It was much cheaper to sit in the pit. While some came to watch or listen, most came to be seen and view others. It was considered a social event.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gayle Buck: A Magnificent Match

A Magnificent Match was published in December 1997 by Signet for author Gayle Buck. It is the story of Megan, who has the chance to leave Ireland for Russia and meets the dashing Prince Kirov. Can the Irish girl who has never even been to London catch the eye of a Russian Prince who has flirted with countless women?

Allan Kass creates an intriguing cover of our couple in a meadow or glen with their horses after they'd been riding. Our heroine is dressed in a green riding habit which compliments her red hair but our hero is dashing in a red uniform jacket and sash. I'm not sure if he looks Russian, but that is OK!

England and Russia were allies against the French during the Napoleonic Wars and the Russian Czar visited London during the peace celebrations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gayle Buck: Love for Lucinda

Love for Lucinda was written in January 1996 by Gayle Buck and published by Signet. She is a widow who is being romanced by many different men with varying motives. Who is truthful and honest and who isn't?

Allan Kass draws a picture of our couple that is pensive. They stand near each other in an elegantly furnished room, but you get the feeling that they are thinking of weighty matters. Our heroine is simply dressed in a white day gown trimmed in blue. Our hero's coat matches the trim on her dress and suits his complexion. He holds her hand as if to entreat her to his position. It is a very pretty cover.

Men in regency times favored widows since they had money to gain by marriage and also they could indulge in affairs that young women couldn't. Widows usually had a female companion live with them for modesty's sake.