I’ve been studying Gothic Romance Paperbacks ever since I inherited 6 of them from a great aunt in 1975, so by now I know how to ID them at a glance, and from a distance. Here are 3 major things to look for when you're deciding whether or not it’s worth wrestling that spine away from its Harlequin and Silhouette neighbors on the packed thrift store bookshelf:
- The background paper is in mournful colors like black, grey, bile, lavender, or slate.
- The title type is set in a bold and groovy swash face.
- The woman in the title belongs to a spooky place, as Mistress, Heiress, Lady or Bride.
This basic checklist should help you score at least one of your own! Keep the find handy for more lessons. Want a glimpse of the syllabus? Here's what's to come — Lesson 2: The History of Gothic Romance Paperbacks; Lesson 3: Cover Iconography of Gothic Romance Paperbacks; Lesson 4: The Laughable Disparity Between Blurb and Content in Gothic Romance Paperbacks, etc. You will qualify for a Ph.D. in Gothic Romance Paperbacks if you stick with the program! (And write a thesis, of course.)