March 20, 2016

The appeal of frozen covers

Having just finished reading an excellent novel in which the main plot revolves around a wintry scene painted in Holland in the 17th Century *, I was astonished at the difference between the two cover versions to be found online for the book.

One features a dark background and the direct gaze from a woman in period clothes and a golden or orange scarf - such a striking and refreshing change from the monotonous headless or rear-view figures so beloved in modern publishing - and it definitely caught my attention before I knew anything at all about the book. I may not have even noticed the second version as it is like so many other bleak or monochromatic novels, particularly those in the genre Nordic Noir, and in some book stores the novel may well end up on the crime shelf rather than the literary/historical genre it really belongs to.

Here is a random collection of books with chilly covers. Apart from the well-known thriller authors, it is not that easy to guess what they are about, but the style alerts me to stories that feature some sinister or depressing side of humanity and not always my first choice in reading. (Note, clicking on the image goes nowhere - please see Goodreads or Amazon for further info.)

*   The novel is The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, the two covers here. Which one would draw you in as a reader?


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