While I was browsing the Harlequin website I kept seeing these new Susan Mallery covers. I wasn’t familiar with the titles and at first glance I thought they were a part of a new series.
After all, the carefree couple, bright backdrop and an outdoor setting under san serif font is emblematic of Susan Mallery’s modern romances, just look at one of her most recent releases.
But I couldn’t remember hearing anything about her having a new series. I went to read the synopsis and found out that these books are a re-releases of Susan Mallery’s Desert Rogues series from the 2000s, and wow did the covers get a complete modern day makeover. Let’s compare.
I think the first thing that stands out to me is that they’ve removed the possessive ‘sheik’ (note, they didn’t use the second ‘h’ like you see now) from the titles. You know . . . to make the women seem less like objects. Recently, the sheikh trope has been called out for often being racially insensitive and problematic. Like where did this odd fetishization of Middle Eastern men even come from ? Romance writer Suleikha Snyder breaks down exactly what’s wrong with sheikhs here .
I wonder if all the organization and chatter around cultural representation is what lead them to remove sheik from the title ? Of course that doesn’t completely track since Harlequin is still publishing other sheikh romances in their Presents lines.
Now not all of the re-releases have modern titles. And honestly it’s kind of funny seeing these dated, slightly cringey titles on modern covers. Like I’m not sure this would be the first choice for a title nowadays.
Have you seen the other re-release covers ? What are your faves ?
Fun fact a 2010 blog post on sheiks first introduced me to Sara Wendell’s site and to romance as a whole, even though it’d be a good five years before I began reading the genre