Monday, March 31, 2014

Florence Stevenson: A Darkness on the Stairs

A Darkness on the Stairs was published by Signet in April 1976 for author Florence Stevenson. Oriel Quentin was the image of her famous grandmother, Calista Blake, and found during a visit to Harrowdene that Calista's presence still haunted those who lived there.

Allan Kass gives us a pretty heroine and her dress makes it hard to know what era this book is set though the jewelry seem modern. I like the red coat which is a splash of color on this dark cover. I wish my copy was in better condition.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Florence Stevenson: The Curse of the Concullens

The Curse of the Concullens was published by Signet in February 1972 and is the first of 5 that I have illustrated by Allan Kass. This story is about Lucy Ayers who loved imagining herself a heroine until she takes residence as governess in O'Hagan Calstle and the evil that lived therein.

Allan Kass focuses on the heroine with this illustration. He gives us a gothic/Victorian look with her full, low cut gown. The castle and dark trees complete the eerie look.

With Allan's gothic romances, I always look for his signature. Some of the style of other artists were similar enough that I check the cover for verification. On this, you can see his signature under her right elbow!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Florence Stevenson and Patricia Hagan Murray: Bianca

Bianca by F. Stevenson and P Murray is the name of a girl who broke up Jack and Anne's marriage after 10 months. Why did she seem to be part of the house that they sought to sell?

This is one of Allan Kass's best gothic romance illustrations, in my opinion! I love the close up of the fleeing heroine as she runs on the sandy beach. Her red hair is gorgeous and the green robe sets off her coloring to perfection. The muted setting of the early morning also is shown by the grays and pink beige colors he uses.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mira Stables: The Swynden Necklace

The Swynden Necklace is a Georgian romance published by Fawcett in 1974. Honor Fenton was a poor girl until she inherited the Swynden necklace. Soon, a Mr. Jocelyn came with an offer to purchase the necklace for his client. She wasn't too sure about him or his offer!

Allan Kass didn't illustrate many Georgian covers so they are all a treat to see. This one shows our couple dancing, possibly a minuet, and the hero's hair is powdered and his dress is more colorful and intricate than the regency style of the future. The heroine wears a low cut emerald green gown over a lighter green underskirt that is very elegant. I'm sure it was a fun departure from his usual illustrations!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mira Stables: Stranger Within the Gates

Fawcett books published Stranger Within the Gates, a book by Mira Stables, in 1976. This is the rocky romance of Robert Develyn and the beautiful Francesca Thornish, the ward of his late uncle.

Allan Kass shows us a pretty picture of a modest house behind our couple. The heroine is very beautiful as she says goodbye to the hero. Her face and hairdo is more Victorian than Regency in style and even her dress seems so, too. I like when Allan includes animals in his illustrations because we see what a good artist he really was!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mira Stables: Marriage Alliance

Marriage Alliance is another story by Mira Stables. This book was published by Fawcett in 1975. She also wrote other books for Fawcett besides the 5 illustrated by Allan Kass. This story is about Fleur and her husband Marcus whose marriage was arranged by their relatives. He thinks her too young and ignores her until the day he realizes that he's married a beauty!

Allan Kass illustrated our couple interestingly. The hero looks like a highwayman and the heroine a bride. We don't know if he's trying to kidnap her away from her wedding or if they are in costume? Her gown is very simple but the cape gives it a touch of elegance.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mira Stables: Lissa

Lissa was published in 1974 by Fawcett and is the story of Viscount Stapleford who left London after a disappointing season and when he met the young Lissa, asked her to be his sister's companion. However, Lissa's parentage was unknown and she was falling in love with the viscount, so she ran away!

This cover by Allan Kass is a pretty picture of a skating party. We see the large estate in the background and our couple who are skating together. I really like the heroine's fur lined cloak and matching muff. The hero is typically Kass handsome, as he gazes on the heroine! It looks like so much fun on a cold, icy day.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mira Stables: High Garth

High Garth, by Mira Stables, was published by Fawcett in April 1980. Ann is the daughter of a gentleman who takes a position as housekeeper for a man in Yorkshire. He is a farmer and has a son, but Ann soon realizes that she belongs at High Garth.

Allan Kass portrays our couple at the top of a hill which overlooks a farm and pretty rolling country. The heroine is simply dressed in a periwinkle blue gown and her hair is flowing loose in the wind. The hero is casually dressed and we wonder if he's been herding the sheep in the background. It's an unusual and pretty picture.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

MIra Stables: The Byram Succession

Back to the Regency with Mira Stables book, The Byram Succession. Published in 1976 by Fawcett, it is the story of Alethea, who inherited all of Cousin Albert's fortune and soon engaged the attention of the Duke of Byram, to her cousin's fury.

Allan Kass illustrates our couple on a roadside where they have stepped out of the coach and are resting in the fresh air. I like the stone wall and you can almost see the dirt and mud of the street while feeling the mist of an early morning. The heroine's red cape is cheery and functional. They seem to have reached an understanding as they stand handclasp.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Elizabeth St. Clair: Secret of the Locket

Secret of the Locket was published in June 1975 and is about Deirdre Camden who took a job at St. Ambros Hill in archaeology and assist Keith Powell, who may not be what he seems.

This cover by Allan Kass is interesting because of the dimensions. He definitely made the haunted house the focal point and the heroine lesser. I like the eerie green color and the leaning, bare trees. It's good and spooky!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Elizabeth St. Clair: Mansion in Miniature

Mansion in Miniature by Elizabeth St. Clair was published by Signet in March 1977. While Signet didn't have a "gothic line" they did publish quite a few titles in the 1970's. Karen went to visit her mentally fragile sister and began to discover that someone was making her sister mad!

Allan Kass gives us a fleeing heroine who is running from the eerie mansion near the sea. Even the clouds look menacing as she looks back. I like her outfit which is so typical of 1970's clothes that I owned! Note her jewelry, which is a Kass touch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Elizabeth St. Clair: The Jeweled Secret

The Jeweled Secret by Elizabeth St. Clair was published by Signet in August 1978. This gothic romance is the story of Celeste who is invited to the mansion of exiled Russians to study their jewels and artwork. Was Nicholas part of the evil that she sensed there?

Allan Kass shows us a snow covered mansion with our heroine walking outside as if to escape from the evil inside. I'm sure artists had little scope for imagination with these covers; I can hear the art editors saying: "house, heroine, horror"!! This heroine is very pretty and I like the round tower of the mansion!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grace South: Merrie

Merrie by Grace South was published by Fawcett in July 1981 and is the story of Merrie Sherrington whose besetting sin was curiosity! She was determined to wed Sir Ninian, whether he was a fortune hunter or not!

Allan Kass illustrates our couple in London where we see sights of the city. They look as if they've just gotten out of the carriage. I like the heroine's matching umbrella and bonnet which give some glamor to her pink dress. The hero looks cozy in a warm tailed coat. I imagine that they are sightseeing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gretchen Sprague: A Question of Harmony

Switching gears, we have Gretchen Sprague's young adult story, A Question of Harmony. Published by Signet in March 1969, it's the story of Dave, Jeanne, and Mel, a black friend from school. Their friendship would set their town buzzing and upset the prejudice.

Allan Kass gives us a sweet picture of our teen couple sitting on a log near a stream. The autumn colors blend with their clothes as they relax and draw strength from each other. I like how Allan portrays them just at the right age--they don't look like adults or young kids. He did a few young adult or teen novels and they are all a treat to see since I was unaware of them for a long time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Joan Smith: Valerie

Valerie by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in July 1981 and it's the last I have that Allan Kass illustrated for her. If you find one that's not listed in this blog, please contact me. Valerie is the story of a girl who visits her aunt's house and finds it full of odd relatives and mysteries.

Allan Kass illustrates our couple outside a house that has some oddly shaped trees! I like that the hero and heroine are enchanted with one another. While simple at first glance, the flowering vine and lead windows lend a bit of detail to this cover.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Joan Smith: Talk of the Town

Joan Smith's Talk of the Town was published by Fawcett in 1979. Smith also wrote contemporary romances for Silhouette.  This story is about Daphne and her aunt Effie, whose memoirs were causing no little disturbance in London.

Allan Kass creates a picturesque cover here with our couple. The hero is strong and swarthy as he comes into the room where the heroine clutches a diary to her breast. I like the painting of Aunt Effie and the love letters tied up with ribbon! The heroine here is very elegant in the way only Kass seems to do!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Joan Smith: Rose Trelawney

Rose Trelawney by Joan Smith is a mystery story about a girl found  by the handsome Sir Ludwig. She has no memory of her accident or who she is but she knew that she could love her rescuer!

Allan Kass illustrates our couple on a balcony while a ball is taking place inside. I like the creeping roses that frame our couple as they share an intimate moment together and the play of shadow on the stone wall of the building.                    

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joan Smith: Reluctant Bride

Reluctant Bride is #171 in Fawcett's Coventry Romance series and was published in March 1982. Lizzie's only item of value is a diamond necklace that she plans to sell in order to secure her home. However, it is stolen on the way to London and Sir Edmund Blount offers to help them after his coach crashes into theirs!

Allan Kass shows our hero reassuring the heroine while they sit in front of an inn fire. The heroine seems relaxed while the hero talks to her. I like the light and shadows that Allan uses to highlight our couple.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joan Smith: Perdita

Perdita was published in April 1981 and is part of Fawcett's Coventry Romance line. Perdita was wild and impetuous but when she got caught up with Lord Stornaway, the biggest rake in London, could Moira, her cousin and chaperone, help her? Especially when she had a tendre for him, herself?

Allan Kass sets this cover in a ballroom and we see our couple sharing a moment together before a dance. It's as if the hero is pleading as he places his hand over hers. I like the detail of the gold and mirrors.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Joan Smith: La Comtesse

Joan Smith's La Comtesse was published by Fawcett in 1978. Renee, the French Countess, was the toast of London. Lewis Dashford, a British agent, wondered if she was spy or just playing a part.

This is an unusual cover for Allan Kass since it only depicts a heroine and no hero. I believe that covers with couples probably sold better but this is an example of Allan's talent. We have a very beautiful lady standing near a balcony where a party is going on down below. Note her tiara, expensive jewelry, and ornate accessories. The detail of the room is a perfect setting for her, too.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Joan Smith: Laces for Milady

Laces for Milady was originally published in May 1981. This cover is a June 1986 reprint. Joan Smith writes about Priscilla Denver and her rage at finding that her house didn't actually belong to her but to the Duke of Clavering.

Allan Kass illustrates this cover (which is the same as the 1981 version) with our couple standing on the grounds of a large estate. They wear riding dress and it's fun to see the detail with the trees, pond, statue, etc. Our heroine doesn't seem quite happy with the hero and this inquisitive look makes one pick up the book!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Joan Smith: Imprudent Lady

Imprudent Lady by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in 1978 and is the story of Prudence who fell in love with Lord Dammler after reading his book. The fun begins when she actually meets him! This book has a sequel called Reprise, which was rare in the late '70's.

Allan Kass shows our couple near a desk where the hero's trade is easily seen in the form of quill, ink, and paper. I wish the picture was bigger but it's almost as if our heroine was discovered in a room where she didn't belong!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Joan Smith: Escapade

Escapade by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in 1977 and is the story of Ella Fairmont, who was playing a dangerous game by writing a gossip column as the mysterious Miss Prattle! Now that she finds herself falling in love with the Duke of Clare, she needs to hide the fact that she is Miss Prattle!!

This is an interesting cover by Allan Kass since we don't really see the heroine's face but only her profile. The hero is featured accepting a letter. The setting is unusual; maybe an art gallery or balcony of a famous building?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Joan Smith: Endure My Heart

Endure My Heart is another regency prolific author by Joan Smith. Published in June 1980, it's the story of Mab, her brother Andrew, and their life after the death of their father with a band of smugglers.

The cover by Allan Kass is gorgeous with our very handsome uniformed hero, our spirited heroine, and the beautiful scenic cove. The heroine's bold red gown highlights the red in the hero's uniform and keeps our eye on this electric couple. I'd hope the author was pleased with this illustration of her story!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Joan Smith: Delsie

Delsie by Joan Smith was published for Fawcett's Coventry Romance line in January 1982. This series ran from 1979-1982 and mostly featured regency stories, but had a few Edwardian and Victorian ones too. Smith is a prolific writer who has also published a lot of historical romances.

Delsie is a teacher who married a dying man and inherited his house and daughter! Now she just has to deal with new brother in law! This book is reminiscent of Georgette Heyer's The Reluctant Widow.

Allan Kass illustrates a favorite cover here. We see a typically Kass hero comforting one of his beautiful heroines. Everything about her is exquisite: her hair, her gown, her jewelry, and her accessories. The room they stand in is almost too cluttered with the delft tiles to the stained glass.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Joan Smith: Dame Durden's Daughter

Published in 1978, Dame Durden's Daughter (who comes up with these titles!!) is the story of Edith Durden who liked Helver, the heir of the Duke of Saymore. Everyone else thought he was a hellion and did their best to separate the pair!

Allan Kass shows our couple in front of an ornate bridge in the middle of a pretty lake. The hero and heroine seem in harmony as they walk close to one another. I like the hero's purple jacket which is a foil for the heroine's yellow gown. It's a shame that we don't see such artwork on romances anymore.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Joan Smith: The Blue Diamond

Joan Smith's The Blue Diamond was published by Fawcett in October 1981 for its Coventry Romance line. This story is set in Vienna during the Congress while Napoleon was imprisoned on the island of Elba. Maria Kruger was interested in the handsome Lord Moncrief, but he seems more interested in Mlle Feydeau and her stunning jewels!

I've always like Allan Kass's illustrations that take place in ballrooms and this is no exception. Our couple dance divinely and it's fun to see their clothing, jewels, and the others depicted in the picture. Who wouldn't want to be part of that fun?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Joan Smith: Babe

Babe by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in February 1980. Babe was the scandal of London and her new guardian, Lord Clivedon, was about to change that reputation. Or would he?

Allan Kass illustrates our couple in front of a window on a bright sunny day. Both hold a glass of wine and perhaps are celebrating, though the heroine looks pensive. The scenery is interesting with the curricle outside and the wrought iron railing. It's another pretty cover by Kass.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Joan Smith: Aurora

Aurora by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in February 1981 for their Coventry Romance line. Aurora meets a stranger but doesn't know if he is the long lost Kenelm Raiker or his illegitimate half brother!

Allan Kass creates a cover with our couple standing next to a gypsy caravan. Our heroine is simply dressed in blue while the hero looks natty for someone living in a wagon! I like the touch of flowers and the springtime vibe of this cover.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Joan Smith: Aunt Sophie's Diamonds

Aunt Sophie's Diamonds by Joan Smith was published by Fawcett in 1977. The diamonds of the title were owned by a tyrannical old aunt who took them, literally, to her grave. Claudia didn't care about the diamonds but she did care about Sir Hillary Thoreau!

Allan Kass features these diamonds in this illustration! We see the hero placing them around the heroine's neck and assume that they are the necklace of the title. The heroine's purple dress shows off the necklace while the room is a setting for her beauty.