Historical Romance Clinch Covers: Courtship Row

If you’ve been around romance books for any length of time, then you’re quite familiar with the classic romance clinch covers. While you can find them most easily in the historical romance genre, there are some around in other subgenres as well. But in today’s post we are exploring the Romanceopoly 2023 reading challenge: Courtship Row. So let’s dive into historical romances and clinch covers.


Courtship Row - Historical Romance Clinch Covers

The Reading Challenge

You’re excited for your Romanceopoly roll and you’ve landed in one of the historical romance spots. This is one of my most anticipated neighborhoods on the board. And this reading challenge is so much fun! As always, you can read the genre only, first prompt below, or go for the more specific challenge, second prompt below.

  • Read any historical romance book of your choice; or,
  • Read a historical romance book with a clinch cover

The Romance Clinch Covers Memory Lane

First let’s talk about what do we mean when we say romance clinch covers. The term is usually used nowadays when the couple on the cover are embracing each other, pre-kiss for example. If we go back in time however, the embraces and the poses were a bit more revealing and sultry. You can still find those, but the clinch term has expanded a bit since then. A good cheesy clinch cover is never too far from the romance shelves.

If you are an author on the lookout for the perfect romance clinch cover for your next novel, then you’ll have to get one from one of my favorite artists: Jon Paul Ferrara. Not many are doing them quite as nice as he is right now.

Take a walk down memory lane with Fabio! These are some classic romance clinch covers that don’t all include the romance book cover staple cover model. Sadly, a lot of these have gotten new covers that are completely devoid of the fantasy of the clinch cover. But we can still reminisce.

The clinch cover outside of historical romance

Even though today we will be discussing historical romances because that’s the prompt of the reading challenge, I wanted to share some of my favorite non-historical romance clinch covers!

Let’s jump into some historical romance clinch covers

While it’s always an option to opt for one of the classics, especially if you can get your hands on the original paperbacks! How exciting! But on this list I’ll mention historical romance clinch covers that have caught my attention recently and that came to mind first. Let me know in the comments below what are some of your favorite historical romance clinch covers that I didn’t mention.

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Gilded Age New York setting
  • Class Differences
  • Dirty talking hero with a tortured past

Silver-tongued lawyer.
Keeper of secrets.
Breaker of hearts.

He can solve any problem . . .

In serving the wealthy power brokers of New York society, Frank Tripp has finally gained the respectability and security his own upbringing lacked. There’s no issue he cannot fix . . . except for one: the beautiful and reckless daughter of an important client who doesn’t seem to understand the word danger.

She’s not looking for a hero . . .

Excitement lies just below Forty-Second Street and Mamie Greene is determined to explore all of it—while playing a modern-day Robin Hood along the way. What she doesn’t need is her father’s lawyer dogging her every step and threatening her efforts to help struggling families in the tenements.

However, she doesn’t count on Frank’s persistence . . . or the sparks that fly between them. When fate upends all her plans, Mamie must decide if she’s willing to risk it all on a rogue . . .

The Counterfeit's Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath

The Counterfeit Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Fake rake plot
  • Amateur sleuth heroine
  • Hero falls first
  • Forced proximity

New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath begins a compelling new spin-off series, The Chessmen: Masters of Seduction, centering around three heroes–Knight, Bishop, and Rook–who play to win at any cost.

Born into an aristocratic family, yearning for a life beyond Society’s strictures, Marguerite “Daisy” Townsend is an enterprising sleuth. Hired to obtain proof of a wife’s infidelity, she secures a position in the household of the woman’s lover, never expecting to be lured into the seductive blackguard’s arms herself.

Devilishly handsome, David Blackwood, known widely as Bishop, quickly realizes the enticing maid is interested in far more than dusting. She aims to uncover his sins. Although tempted by the dangerous beauty, he can’t risk her learning the truth: his affairs are chaste. As a boy who witnessed his mother’s abusive relationship, Bishop now helps desperate wives escape unhappy marriages.

Yet when he is accused of murdering the husband of a “paramour,” he is forced to seek Daisy’s assistance in proving his innocence. As their perilous search draws them into a web of deceits, they can no longer deny their simmering desire. Once secrets are revealed, will Daisy’s counterfeit scoundrel give up the scandalous games he plays and surrender his heart into her keeping?

To Seduce a Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

To Seduce a Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Highland Berserkers
  • Paranormal/Fantasy Historical
  • Collection of short stories

Meet the MacLauchlan Berserkers…

Roderick – (Highland Secret)

He’s death for hire, cursed by a malicious enemy who left him unable to speak. She’s a refugee with a dangerous secret that could cost her life. Outnumbered by thousands, he’s fated to die in battle like so many Berserkers before him. Could the strength of their love defy destiny?

Connor – (Highland Shadow)

He’s a mercenary Laird who fears nothing but the darkness inside him. She’s a noble beauty from two of the most prominent families in Scotland, sold to the highest bidder. He mistakenly rescues her from a fate worse than death, but now she’s his captive. They must battle their pride and their explosive attraction to each other in order to defeat a common enemy who threatens the clan’s survival.

Finn – (Highland Stranger)

He’s a nameless bastard, stalking the Highlands bent on revenge and murder when he stumbles on an infant deserted in the snow. She’s a desperate woman who’s lost everything, including her dignity.

They are three of the world’s Unwanted. On a snowy Solstice night, their tale becomes one of blood and vengeance, of love, redemption, and forging the bonds that make a family.

The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley

The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Found family, orphans adopted by a rich man who moonlight as vigilantes
  • Hero falls for heroine while she’s trying to steal from him

NYT bestselling author kicks off a new Regency series of “irresistible romance and a family of delightful scoundrels” as a woman looking to recover a stolen painting accidentally kidnaps a duke instead. (Eloisa James)

Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable — a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she’s ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she’s the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she’ll also abduct a handsome duke.
Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father’s mistakes. To repair his estate’s ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family’s legacy to follow true love?

The Heiress at Sea by Christi Caldwell

The Heiress at Sea by Christi Caldwell

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Pirates
  • Spinster and a Duke
  • Forced proximity

A seafaring journey is the second chance for a lady and the last chance for a marquess in a thrilling novel about rebellious love, secrets, and danger by USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell.

Perpetually unattached Lady Cassia McQuoid has accepted her fate as a spinster. But how can she be expected to lead a life confined to drawing rooms and royal balls when there’s a vast, exciting world to explore? Cassia can find but one solution: she masquerades as a thrill-seeking lad and stows away on a ship bound for open waters. Adventure awaits. So does notorious privateer Nathaniel Ellsby.

Nathaniel doesn’t want to be the Duke of Roxburghe. Instead, the second-born son relishes his freedom to do as he pleases: pursuing enemy ships in service of the war effort. But when his older brother dies, Nathaniel embarks on one last mission before he fulfills his ducal duties with an arranged marriage. That’s the intention, at least—until he discovers that his woefully green deckhand is a fetching but vulnerable woman in disguise.

Nathaniel’s new mission is to protect Cassia from the perils of the sea, both above and below the water, by sharing the close confines of the captain’s quarters. As roiling emotions turn to love, Nathaniel and Cassia realize the greatest risks—to the Crown, to their futures, and to the heart—still lie ahead.

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Beta hero, single dad, widower
  • Full of feminism and alpha heroine

Meet the SOCIETY OF SIRENS—three radical, libertine ladies determined to weaponize their scandalous reputations to fight for justice and the love they deserve…

She’s a Rakess on a quest for women’s rights…

Seraphina Arden’s passions include equality, amorous affairs, and wild, wine-soaked nights. To raise funds for her cause, she’s set to publish explosive memoirs exposing the powerful man who ruined her. Her ideals are her purpose, her friends are her family, and her paramours are forbidden to linger in the morning.

He’s not looking for a summer lover…

Adam Anderson is a wholesome, handsome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children, a business to protect, and an aversion to scandal. He could never, ever afford to fall for Seraphina. But her indecent proposal—one month, no strings, no future—proves too tempting for a man who strains to keep his passions buried with the losses of his past.

But one night changes everything…

What began as a fling soon forces them to confront painful secrets—and yearnings they thought they’d never have again. But when Seraphina discovers Adam’s future depends on the man she’s about to destroy, she must decide what to protect… her desire for justice, or her heart.

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Spy, second son, hero
  • Marriage of convenience
  • Businesswoman heroine

Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?


Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?


Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?

For the Duke's Eyes Only by Lenora Bell

For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora Bell

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Intrepid archeologist and thrill-seeking antiques hunter
  • Former best friend, current enemies

If adventure has a name…it must be Lady India Rochester. The intrepid archaeologist possesses a sharp blade and an even sharper knack for uncovering history’s forgotten women. Unfortunately, she has one annoying weakness: the dangerously handsome Duke of Ravenwood. Former best friend. Current enemy. And the man who dared to break her heart.

Daniel Bonds, the Duke of Ravenwood, is a thrill-seeking antiquities hunter who only plays by one rule: Never fall in love. He’s in it for the fortune and glory. At least that’s what he wants the world to think. He’s sworn to hide his tangled web of secrets, especially from the one woman he cares about and will protect at any cost.

But when a priceless relic is stolen from the British Museum, the rivals must align forces. Racing to recover the stolen antiquity and avert an international disaster? All in a day’s work. Avoiding their buried feelings? More and more impossible. For love is about to become the greatest treasure of all.

The grand adventure begins…now!

The Duke's Deceitful Governess by Caroline Lee

The Duke’s Deceitful Governess by Caroline Lee

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • Ex assassin turned Duke and single guardian
  • Mischievous meddling kids
  • Fake governess hiding her real identity

Love is a luxury he can’t afford…

For years, he was known only as Blackrose’s Blade, an elite assassin in the employ of the Crown. But after a mission cost him the use of his leg, Rourke Lindsay has unexpectedly inherited a dukedom…and along with it, the headache of a pair of hellion twins. His niece and nephew have been kicked out of every school he’s sent them to and scared off every governess he’s hired. Now, he’s in dire need of a miracle.

He just didn’t expect her to be quite so tempting.

Needing a safe place to hide, Miss Sophia Cuny has forged her references and settled into the Duke of Exingham’s employ, unwilling to admit she knows next to nothing about children. (How hard can child-rearing be, after all? Perhaps there’s a book on the subject she could send off for.) She does, however, know all about the Duke’s painful past and why the cynical warrior refuses to allow himself close to a pair of rapscallion troublemakers, no matter how desperately they need his love.

The longer she tries to avoid the new duke, the more she sees the man beneath the scars—the man who needs love as well—even if he’s unwilling to admit it. Too bad she can’t afford to allow him into her heart, even as the danger she’s running from closes in.

Because Sophia possesses secrets about his past even Rourke doesn’t know, and revealing the truth will ruin them all.

The King's Commander by Cecelia Mecca

The King’s Commander by Cecelia Mecca

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Read this book if you’re in the mood for:

  • A lovestruck warrior, a corrupted church and a strong heroine
  • Epic medieval saga

He cared only for duty—until he met the one woman who could claim his heart.

My mission is clear.

I’m to go to Murwood End, the land of the Voyagers, to retrieve the king’s secret son. With the heir dead, it’s our only hope for saving our kingdom from those who would destroy us.

But complications arise from the start. No one knows when the king’s son will return from his latest mission, or at least no one will say. And his closest friend—a woman, a Garra—seems to loathe me on sight. A further complication: I’m completely captivated by her. In Meria, Garra practice their healing arts in secret, but there’s nothing covert about this bold, beautiful woman.

In the beginning, I tell myself I’m only pursuing Aedre Lorenson for her connection to the king’s son, but I know it for a lie. She has awakened something in me, and I’m torn between doing my duty as the king’s commander and following my heart.

Fans of The Last Kingdom and Vikings who also enjoy a little HEA in their epic medieval sagas will love The King’s Commander, a standalone, first-person romance and first installment in the Kingdoms of Meria series.

You can check out the Courtship row recommendations page with more historical clinch covers

What I’m reading…

My Kind of Earl by Vivienne Lorret

My Kind of Earl by Vivienne Lorret

I’m a huge fan of Vivienne Lorret! In fact, she’s one of my favorite historical romantic comedy authors. I just realized that I hadn’t read this release and read some of the others in the series out of order. So it’s time to rectify that. Such a pretty cover and perfect for this challenge. If this isn’t the perfect modern day romance clinch covers I don’t know what is.

USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret continues her charming new trilogy with a bluestocking whose search for information on the mating habits of scoundrels has her stumbling upon the missing heir to an earldom… in the London underworld.

Jane Pickerington never intended to start a brawl in a brothel. She only wanted to research her book. Yet when her simple study of scoundrels goes awry, she finds herself coming to the rescue of a dark, enigmatic stranger… who turns out to be far more than an average rake out for a night of pleasure. He’s positively wild!

Only the most feral and cunning could have survived foundling homes and work houses. Orphaned as an infant, Raven never had another name. At least… not until he meets her. Now he’s face-to-face with the one person who recognizes the strange birthmark on his arm and can reinstate him to his blue-blooded birthright.

All at once, Raven’s life takes a turn. His knowledge of dark alleys and gaming hells never prepared him for gilded ballrooms. So Jane becomes his tutor. Yet, the more lessons in decorum she offers, the more this untamed scoundrel wants to teach her all the ways to be wicked.

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