Cover Art

Although I finished reading this book several weeks ago, it still sits on my bedside table, one of the first things I see in the morning and the last at night.  The book itself doesn’t even belong to me (it’s my friend Millie’s), but I’ve been negligent in returning it to her because I’m so in love with the cover art.


It’s such an elegant portrait, isn’t it?    There’s something so intriguing about this woman, the regal curve of her neck and tilted head, the golden highlights in her hair, the gentle slope of her shoulders, tapering into slender arms.  She’s holding a small, framed picture, and it appears to be a child’s face, although it’s blurry and dim.  Even though her face isn’t visible, you can feel the longing and sadness in her posture, see it in the way she bends toward the photo, and holds it tenderly in both hands.

It’s odd, because as much as I love this photo, it doesn’t really seem to fit the novel.  If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that a child doesn’t figure into the story.  And somehow I don’t picture Claire Pendleton, the title character, as this languid, sorrowing creature.

But I’ve become quite attached to this book (well, mostly to its cover).  This happened with another book I read recently, and it occured to me that there were some curious similarities between the covers.  Take a look…


This cover grabbed my attention right away, and I loved the way the photographer captured the gentle bend of  this woman’s neck, the wisps of hair escaping from the clip, and most of all, her fingers, poised to clasp the necklace.  And once again, as much as I loved this cover (and the story between it!), the cover art isn’t  immediately identifiable with the plot or characters.

So why are these particular book covers so attractive to me?  Is it the mystery of these women, whose faces we don’t see?  Is it their obvious vulnerability?  Whatever the reason, these covers are small works of art, and were enjoyable in their own right, quite apart from the book they wrap around.  I know you can’t judge book by its cover, but these would make it tempting to try.

Now tell me, have you recently read a book with some especially lovely cover art?  Do you even notice similarities between the kinds of cover art which attracts you? 

And here’s a site dedicated to book covers…you can even submit your own favorites.


9 thoughts on “Cover Art

  1. I’ve had the experience of having different covers for the different countries where my own novels are published, and it’s been fascinating to see the range of interpretations by the publishers’ artists, and the paperbacks are sometimes different again. Both the Canadian and U.S. editions of The Singing Fire used impressionist paintings but with quite a different feel. My favourite of all the covers of The River Midnight is this one.

  2. Oh, covers! Oh this is a heartbreaking topic. But the wrong cover is a devastation. And the right one is grace. I’ve lived a writerly life with both. The Piano Teacher cover inspires me most, of these two. It is that curve of the neck.

  3. I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but sometimes I just can’t help it. A gorgeous cover will definitely draw me in, and a bad cover can turn me off just as quickly.

  4. My favorite color is green, so covers with nature shots usually appeal to me. Recent favorites are Galway Bay and The Lacemakers of Glenmara. The covers are not identical but both are very green.

  5. Hi Becca. I just read/reviewed the latest Colleen Gleason novel, As Shadows Fade. The two people on the cover look absolutely nothing like the two characters they are portraying. I think it is a shame that writers don’t have a huge amount of input on cover art – the publisher knows what will sell! But it is something that bothers me – kind of like bait and switch, or false representation. Okay. It’s not that big of a deal, I know. I do love these two covers you chose. The line of a woman’s neck is a tender thing. There is a totally different impression given of a neck on the cover of As Shadows Fade!!

  6. Yes, covers are hugely important – they should give a clue as to what the books is about I think. I must admit that sometimes I do ignore a book in the bookshop because I don’t like the cover. I am currently reading Jonathan Lethem’s Moherless Brooklyn (the paperback version) and I think the cover is so very appropriate, now that I am halfway through. It’s great. Unfortunatley, nothing graceful about it, like your lady and her curved neck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s