Yes, I’m a day late – get over it. This job is getting harder by the week because the more covers I look at, the more picky I get. This week has been especially trying.
Everywhere I look, I trip over covers with very nice images of very nice (usually young) women. So this week I’m going to take the bull by the horns and select my choice from those. I mean, there are just so many, I can’t ignore them any longer. So, what am I looking for in a woman? [No, hang on, that came out a bit wrong… but you know what I mean… I hope…]
In many respects, it’s the same as usual: the image needs to stand out amongst others so I’m looking for interesting colour blends and combinations. It also needs to give me more information than just the woman herself who, as we all know, is likely to bear little resemblance to the character inside the book – so I need at least a hint about the story.
This stands out because of the crimson dress which suggests an element of passion somewhere along the line and it also gives us a good idea of the period.
Often a brightly-coloured dress will be matched by sumptuous surroundings but here by stark contrast the setting is plain and down to earth – this is not a story about a lady in high society. Add to that the strong hint from the documents in the background that the action takes place in France and this cover fits the bill.
Beryl Matthews’ Two Strangers has several elements to commend it in my eyes.
We only have the face of the girl looking down on the street scene but the scene itself gives us our time period and at least one aspect of the setting: the street and the housing suggest a poor background.
The austere scene demands the use of understated colours but, despite that, the structure of the whole image is intriguing enough to catch the eye.
Pride of place this week goes to Freda Lightfoot’s The Amber Keeper.
This is a cover that gives us far more than just a hint of the setting of the story with its Russian architecture prominently displayed in the background of the image. The woman is walking away from us but one senses that she is heading for Russia.
It also gives us a chill atmosphere with the wintry scene. The colours are therefore quite subtle – which I like a lot.
This cover draws me in. There is mystery here and I want to know what she’s heading into.
So, no medieval or tudor queens, I’m afraid – and I must have looked at hundreds of them! They just don’t do it for me and I’m going to be a bit controversial here and suggest that we can do a little better that just sticking a picture of a woman in a bright dress on the cover – that’s not a comment about the books, just the covers. But, as always, feel free to disagree or suggest other contenders in the comments.