Every writer I know thinks about book covers A LOT. No wonder, really — a great cover can make a book, a terrible cover can break one. They are supposed to market the book, let the reader know the genre, and be aesthetically pleasing, all at once. And on this blog, where we’ve made fun of covers quite a bit, we haven’t talked much about the ones we love. That’s what this post is about.
It’s actually the first in a series of two posts, because I’ve ended up putting a few covers into two categories: The covers that I love love, and those — like these — that I love despite myself.
Exhibit #1: Johanna Lindsey’s DEFY NOT THE HEART
I know! I know! God, I’m so ashamed of myself. There’s so much here that is awful. Fabio, to start with. The lavender tights. The eyeshadow. But at the same time, I look at this cover and I think … my god, that is gorgeous and romantic. And I look at her dress and just die. That color is amazing — and so is the texture. It’s not so clear in this picture, but when the book is in your hands, that dress looks like thick, soft velvet. And there’s the gold accents, the fact that the heroine is the focus because she’s dark and vibrant in a sea of pastels, and you’ve got me loving this thing despite myself. And the same thing goes for these two:
I know, I know! But I’m using these two because sometimes, I wonder if my love for these covers is just nostalgia. After all, Lindsey, in particular, was my favorite author when I first began reading historical romances, and Tender Rebel is a personal favorite (again, sometimes despite myself). So I think it can be easily argued that my emotional attachment to that book might be heavily influencing my love for some of her covers. But that isn’t true of the Kleypas.
Don’t get me wrong — I love Kleypas’s work. But I wasn’t introduced to it until later in her career, when these types of covers had gone bye-bye. Yet when Jill posted this cover on her Goodreads account, I went: Gasp! And the reason was very, very similar to the reason for my gasp! at the two Lindsey covers — the colors and the textures of these paintings just rock my socks. There are a million things that are laughable about these paintings, a million details to snark on, and yet when I look at them as a whole … I just love them.
(By the by, I think they might all have the same artist: Elaine Duillo. I’m certain of it for the Lindseys, but not so certain of the Kleypas.)
And extreme love for a book won’t make me die for the cover, either. This is a (small, because I can’t find a larger image of it and I don’t have a scanner) image of the cover for my favorite historical, NO GREATER LOVE. I think it’s really pretty, and I’m deeply attached to the book, but … it doesn’t rock my socks. Nor is it just love for the clinch. I’ve seen plenty of clinches to hate. Example:
I mean, it’s got it all, right? The gorgeous tropical setting. The lovingly textured cutoffs. The vibrant hair!
So, anyway. Here’s me, red-faced, admitting that I really love some of these old clinch covers. Not all of them, but give me an amazing dress, bright color, and crazy hair — which all seem to add up to a visual focus on the heroine — and I just might not be able to resist.
Anyone out there love a cover (in any genre) despite themselves? Tell me about it in the comments, because my red face could probably use the company. And on Monday, I’ll talk about two covers in particular that I love love love for all the right reasons … and in their own ways, are related to my love of this: