Historical Fiction Cover of the Week

Blimey! I’ve looked at more book covers this week than I’ve had hot dinners. In fact, even if you add in cold dinners, salads, desserts and nibbles, it wouldn’t be enough.

The one thing that strikes me about covers, after my extensive trawl through thousands of the little blighters, is how often someone’s back view is used. This is not showing photographers in a good light, I mean come on guys, how many takes do you need to get at least one where the subject is actually facing your way?

Anyway, leaving that aside, I find that generally a back view of an individual is not quite as interesting as a front view, so to get me intrigued such covers usually need a few other elements. This week I’ve been in touch with my feminine side and I’ve been looking at women – from behind. Wait, that didn’t come out quite right…

Moving swiftly on… I’m looking at three covers this week all of which include the back view of a woman, but they have other ingredients that suggest a little more about the book they introduce to the reader.

Only one, of course, can win the coveted ‘Cover of the Week’ accolade, but mentions in dispatches go to these two unassuming little crackers.


Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle came out a couple of years ago  but I still like the idea of it: the mirror showing not the queen’s reflection but the image of the king.

The whole effect is also quite understated – no flashy colours or bare flesh – just a simple, but effective device.


A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage is the first of her Graham time slip series and the covers for the rest of the series follow a similar design pattern.

This one, of course, sets the tone and gives us some ideas about the story. The visual ‘rip’, the girl, the map and the landscape together create an intriguing mix. As with Queen’s Gambit, it is subtle but with enough material to make the reader look twice.

However, this week’s back view of a woman Cover of the Week is Kate Quinn’s Lady of the Eternal City.


I love its attention to detail as well as its broad scope. When you see the city, it  shouts imperial grandeur at you. The colours are vivid, but not garish: great shades of red, gold and amber – warm, but regal.

This is a lady with power, but her pose is not that of someone presiding over the city.

Nevertheless she is more than just a high-born observer. I love the hand placed lightly on the pillar suggesting her close affinity to, and perhaps affection for, the city of Rome.

Great cover!

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8 Responses to Historical Fiction Cover of the Week

  1. You know, I read Queens Gambit on kindle so missed out on cover detail . It is lovely. I chose a Tapestry theme for my Trilogy. Well, my publisher, advised by myself did!!! I love this notion of looking closely at covers.

  2. Kate Quinn says:

    Thanks for the mention, Derek! I got very luck y with LEC’s cover. Another nice touch is that the girl on the cover is a bit of a runner in the book (in the modern day she’d be training for marathons; in ancient Rome it involves outrunning an assassin) and the way she’s poised on her toes makes it look like she could sprint off at any moment.

  3. Wow, how nice to see my cover featured here…Thanks!

  4. prue batten says:

    I like views from behind. It smacks of secrets and mystery and as a reader, I can make of the face what I want.

  5. Derek Birks says:

    That’s true, Prue and I think it’s particularly appropriate with Jack Lark.

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