Bantam Loveswept published over 900 category romance novels from 1983 to 1999. Many well-known authors wrote for this line, including Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich and Iris Johansen. Random House relaunched Loveswept in 2011 as a digital-first imprint focusing on romance and women’s fiction stories. They also made some of their romance classics available in eBook format for the first time.
I remember reading Loveswepts. Unlike category romance lines of today, there was unpredictability in the tone, heat level and even the word count of a Loveswept. The author might also write romantic suspense, historical or a contemporary romance with strong paranormal elements all for the line.
The classic Loveswepts that have been reissued are by authors who have either become superstars in publishing or whose books influenced the genre—and writers—we know today. It’s a treat to read an author’s earlier work. It’s a new-to-you story but there’s a familiarity in their writing style, themes and tropes.
Want to read some of the Loveswept classics? Here are a few recommendations:
Sunny Chandler’s Return by Sandra Brown
Three years ago Sunny left her hometown under a cloud of scandal. She’s back for her best friend’s wedding and discovers nothing has changed. But there’s a new addition to the small Louisiana town: Ty Beaumont. This good old boy is nothing like the sophisticated city men she’s used to and she doesn’t know how to take control of the passion flaring between them.
Originally published in 1987, this small town romance is steeped with Southern flavor. The small Louisiana town is a character of its own. Ty is all roguish charm as he pursues Sunny with breathtaking confidence. The sultry romance is filled with sexual teasing and wicked banter.
Trust Me On This by Jennifer Crusie
When Alec and Dennie meet at an academic conference, it’s antagonism at first sight. Unfortunately, they need each other to further their individual secret agendas. Dennie finds Alec unpredictable, yet for once, she’s not bored. Alec is distracted by the simmering heat between them but his charm doesn’t work on her.
Originally published in 1997, this screwball comedy has a lot of oomph. Expect witty repartee, mistaken identities, and a whirlwind romance. The secondary love story with the older couple is a wonderful bonus.
Lightning That Lingers by Sharon and Tom Curtis
Jennifer is an awkward and shy librarian who meets Philip, the star attraction at a strip club. After that brief encounter, Jennifer realizes she’s tired of being a spectator in life, but she’s not brave enough to break years of habit and go after her fantasy man. However, the more she gets to know Philip, the more she’s intrigued. But does she want to wish for a happily-ever-after with a man who strips naked for women?
Originally published in 1983, this Loveswept classic romance was written by a beloved writing duo. While the sensual love story about the unlikely couple is a category romance, the pacing allows the reader to savor and enjoy.