Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cover Clichés: The Backless Ballgown

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

 ═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════

Nothing preordained Elisabeth of Wittelsbach, known as “Sissi”, to become Empress of Austria at the age of seventeen. It was, in fact, despite herself that the young Bavarian duchess, who had always been somewhat rebellious and untamed, was courted by the Emperor of Austria, one of Europe’s most powerful men, whom she finally accepted to marry. Attempting by all means to get away from the Imperial Court, this Hungarian queen of legendary beauty will carry the weight of the Crown of the Habsburgs throughout her adult life. Sissi does not adapt well to the strict etiquette of the imperial life, and the several moments she spends away from her husband are difficult. A romantic liaison with an enemy count will serve as a rare source of comfort for the empress. An unhappy sovereign, Sissi is nevertheless idolized by her people and becomes the main unifying actor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Alone at the head of a kingdom and hounded by her admirers, she will die a tragic death at the hands of a fanatic.

'Tis the season for an investigation! Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane return for a Christmas caper at Bellmont Abbey—.After a year of marriage—and numerous adventures—Lady Julia and Brisbane hope for a quiet, intimate Christmas together—until they find themselves at her father's ancestral estate, Bellmont Abbey, with her eccentric family and a menagerie of animals. Nevertheless, Julia looks forward to a lively family gathering—but amongst the celebrations, a mystery stirs. There are missing jewels, new faces at the Abbey, and a prowling ghost that brings back unwelcome memories from a previous holiday—one that turned deadly. Is a new culprit recreating crimes of the past? And will Brisbane let Julia investigate—?

In this delightful novella from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death, Lady Kiera Darby has one last mystery to solve before she can walk down the aisle... Scotland, 1831. With her wedding to fellow investigator Sebastian Gage only a day away, Kiera is counting down the hours. But just when matrimonial jitters threaten to consume her, Kiera receives a welcome distraction in the form of a mysterious gold necklace. The Celtic torc, thought missing for decades, was directly involved in a recent investigation. Now, Kiera feels compelled to uncover the truth behind its sudden reappearance. But with an overwhelming flock of wedding guests, a muddled cat, an unpaid favor, and a ferocious storm throwing things into disarray, it’s anyone’s guess whether Kiera and Gage will actually make it to the altar...

Gregory has a bad reputation. It’s a reputation that surpasses him and ensures that all respected daughters are kept locked up after dark. He’s the town rake, and he’s actually kind of proud of it. His father isn’t happy, though, having spent too long building up his reputation as the town’s banker to lose it over Gregory’s poor choices. When Gregory finally steps over the line his father decides to take matters into his own hands. He arranges a marriage for his son with a girl, who has a reputation just like his, but Gregory is stubborn. It doesn’t matter that she’s perfect for him, because he won’t marry her on principle. At least that’s what he thinks, until a day out riding changes everything. Gregory has already slept with another girl... and the secret is right at the tip of someone’s tongue.

It is common knowledge that girl’s worth is solely based upon her beauty. That’s why Sophia’s father is sure that he will get a good deal for his daughter. He’s got a problem standing in his way though, Sophia. She’s not like the other girls. She wants to be free to make her own choices in life. So, when her father finally finds a suitable husband for her will she behave herself, or will she mess things up once and for all?

Emily Lockhart would do anything she could for her older sister, Evangeline, so when she got word that her recently widowed sibling needed her assistance during her time of mourning, she went to the estate of Westminster as quickly as she could. Having married the handsome duke a few, short months ago, the duchess was concerned about maintaining her status and title so she would need her sister’s help to make sure that the new duke fall in love with her. With Emily by her side, Evangeline is confident that after her period of grief that she and the young duke will become her new husband in no time. Evangeline swore to Emily that if she would help keep the duke from falling on love with anyone else before she became available that she would assist her with attaining the independent life that her heart so yearns for, assuring Emily’s participation. It was never Emily’s intention to fall in love with Trevor but when it happens, she has to make sure that she keeps her feelings to herself if she wants the life that her sister promised. Can Emily keep her heart to herself as she helps her sister marry the man she loves or will she finally decide that independence doesn’t outweigh love?

Moira is a powerful empath, a psychic graced with the ability to read emotions and memories. Her skill is as much a curse as a gift, for in the harshly stratified city of Braxton empaths are slaves. Clever and beautiful, Moira has learned to rely on no one but herself. Determined to escape life as a concubine, she kills her master, and is imprisoned for the crime.

This could be the end for Moira, but the government has need of her skills. A mysterious serial killer known as the Phoenix has been planting suggestions in his victims' minds that drive them to murder and suicide. To gain her freedom, Moira partners with Keenan Edwards, a handsome young detective, to stop the killer.

Hunting the Phoenix will bring Moira on a more dangerous road than she imagined, forcing her to confront dark minds, twisted moralities, and her growing feelings for the detective.

Miss Celine Fairweather's life was bobbing along like a boat on a tranquil stream when a summons from her beloved sister Penelope Radclyff, the Duchess of Blackthorne, changed it all. Celine hurtles off to the London to help the duchess run the Blackthorne Mansion and to discover the whereabouts of her lost love Philbert Woodbead. Celine manages to keep things deathly dull and under control for a whole week until she enlists the help of the handsome Lord Elmer-a mischievous rogue, an ex-pirate, and an incorrigible flirt who is wanted dead by all of England's husbands with attractive wives. They scurry from one giddy escapade to another seeking Philbert in musty inns and dusty streets, and through it all Celine tries to keep her bonnet straight, her gloves spotless and her heart in tune with her head. Life has suddenly turned exciting, and love has well and truly bitten her rosy buttocks. Now the only question is ... who has done the biting?

Having spent many weeks preparing to go to her first ever ball, Eloisa leaves home full of excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately, a series of unfortunate events leave her stranded in the middle of nowhere instead.

Help comes in the unlikely form of a huge gothic castle, and her rather reluctant host, Simeon Calversham, Lord Pendlebury. However, it quickly transpires that Mitchelham Castle is not the place of safety she had hoped it would be. Eloisa is quickly plunged into a desperate battle for survival in the long, draughty corridors, where more than the ghosts go bump in the night.

Simeon finds himself feeling more for his guest than any respectable host should, but is determined to protect her, whatever the cost to his sanity. It quickly becomes impossible to ignore the raging desire that surges between them but, with the dangers looming ever closer, Simeon is faced with a desperate battle to keep them both alive while trying to unmask the cold-blooded killer who stalks the house.

Will the castle’s sinister secrets prevent any chance of a happy ending? Or will he be forced to let her go just to keep her alive? If he does, could he ever hope to win her back again?

Their attraction was immediate and undeniable, but not everyone was pleased with their burgeoning romance. And with one treacherous act…

Gabriel Ashcroft, the sixth Duke of Ainsworth and the eldest of the three brothers infamously dubbed The Ashcroft Angels by their throng of female admirers, had long been considered one of London’s most eligible bachelors, much to his never-ending consternation. As such, he’d spent years eschewing the pursuits of the ton’s marriage-minded debutantes and eluding their countless attempts to lure him to the altar. Thus, no one was more surprised than him when he found himself utterly entranced by an innocent young beauty on the verge of her debut, one who affected him as no other woman had before. But when the Earl of Beckford’s eighteen-year-old daughter mysteriously turned up in his bed one morning, he realized that the young lady who'd garnered his interest wasn’t nearly as innocent as she appeared.

When Lady Penelope Houghton awoke in the Duke of Ainsworth’s bed, she hadn’t the slightest notion as to how she'd gotten there. Unfortunately, however, the man lying next to her, the sinfully handsome lord who’d captivated her with his beguiling charm and mesmerizing smile, was now convinced that she was nothing more than a duplicitous schemer who’d set out to trap him into marriage.

Honor-bound to marry the conniving vixen, Gabriel vowed to keep his new bride at arm’s length; but much to his annoyance he soon discovered that some things are easier said than done.

Determined to earn her husband’s trust and break through the invisible barrier that he’d erected between them, Penny would risk her heart time and again to prove her innocence as well as her love to the man she adored.

But would it be enough…

London 1773. Julia Ridler, a reluctant clairvoyant, struggles to adjust to life after witnessing the wrenching demise of her closest friend inexplicably strangled by the man she loved. She returns home after the heart-breaking ordeal to find her headstrong sister intent on marrying for passion, despite all the warnings.

When Julia’s friend beckons from the grave, she is forced to embrace her ability, however unnerving. But nothing will prepare her for the frightening discovery of what really happened that night, and why...

In the tradition of Daphne du Maurier comes this riveting debut with gripping prose and romantic elements. Set in the atmospheric backdrop of eighteenth century England, The Red Ribbon is a suspenseful triumph about enduring love, bitter betrayal and the unbreakable bond between two sisters.

Atlanta, Georgia

Dahlia Abney is the haughty heiress to the Emerald Plantation, known for her cruelty to the slaves and her disdain of eligible suitors. But after denying her personal attendant leave to take care of her sick baby, Dahlia gets more than she bargained for. The baby dies, and soon a strange ritual is going on over Dahlia's bed as she falls asleep.

Atlanta, Georgia

Upon awakening in an unfamiliar room, Dahlia is initially unaware that a voodoo ritual has sent her traveling through time. And when informed by Tanya, a disgruntled hotel maid, that she is, indeed, in Atlanta but that the year is 2016, Dahlia's first fear is that she’s going mad. But Tanya takes her under her wing and soon Dahlia is learning about best friends, jobs and falling in love…modern-style.

Her heart torn between two completely different eras, Dahlia has to decide whether she’ll stay in the modern world where life is everything she's ever dreamed of or return to 1842, where she has left her father and all she's ever known behind.

Suspenseful, mysterious and ultimately redemptive, Love in Another Time captures the healing that understanding can bring, and the power of love & true friendship.

The words of the voodoo priest and priestess still ring fresh in her mind: “Free every slave on your father’s plantation.”

Wealthy heiress, Dahlia Abney, has been transported back to the Emerald Plantation in Georgia, from 2016 to her own time of 1842, ready to embark on her perilous mission. If only she can complete her task, she can head back to modern day Atlanta where her new best friend, Tanya, and the love of her life, Justin, anxiously await her return. But getting her father to see things her way when it comes to his slaves may be an impossibility and, if that’s the case, her dream of returning to modern times to start a new life is over.

So when her father rejects her proposal without even considering her argument, she becomes deeply upset and attempts to travel through time to visit with her new friends. But, being wholly unskilled with time travel magic, she makes an error that ends up bringing her friends back to her time instead. Tanya is immediately tossed out with the slaves and Justin is forced to toil under the control of the plantation’s cruel overseer while Dahlia continues to search for a way out of the mess she’s caused.

Suspenseful, gripping and full of twists and turns, "Love In Another Time": The Perilous Mission captures the power of pulling together to achieve the impossible, and the depth of compassion and true love.

This is a Romance Collection that contain an explosion of STEAMY sure to get your heart racing.

Let sexy scenes packed with twisting plots keep you entertained for hours and at the edge of your seat. Not only this, they come with the right melodrama punched in them.
In this terrific collection of the best stories, you will love the way the characters take the buildup and find time to sneak in some steamy time and get back to each other. Experience and live the drama with them.

Let your fantasy runs wild with the incredible hot men from this unbelievable EPIC collection! Grab your copy and start the fun you deserve! Come inside to find out more!

Sophia has made many mistakes, but marrying the Duke isn’t going to be one of them.

In fact, marrying the Duke is going to repair the damage and disarray she’d caused throughout her life. That’s at least what she hopes.

But of course, things are never that simple. When Sophia reaches Jasmine estate, her new home, she is full of hope.

However, a serendipitous meeting with the Duke’s son George leaves her worried about her future.

Marrying the Duke had never been a matter of love, but can she really go through with it when she knows that her heart belongs to another?

To be a queen you must have poise, grace, and an innate ability to hide your true feelings. While everybody wants to be the Queen, Emeline is stuck in the never ending, exhausting position. Then one day, fate intervenes. A little risk opens up new opportunities and suddenly everything forbidden is calling to her, so close she can touch it. The only thing that could prevent it, a rugged assassin that’s frustrating, unpredictable, and good at his job.

Playing with shadows is a dangerous game, no palace walls or royal guard can keep them out and Emeline may find herself paying the ultimate price for treason. But then, isn’t the freedom worth the gamble?

Meet the Mad Heiress, Georgette Quinby. Nearly a decade ago, when her fiance jilted her, she threw herself down the stairs in a fit of passion, or maybe it was a parapet or perhaps a cliff. The Ton isn’t too sure, but they certainly won’t forgive nor let her forget. Georgette is sure she will never love again, and she hasn’t. Now she is companion to her young cousin and chaperoning her coming out. She has no prospects herself. She only needs a moment to catch her breath, to push away the unhappy thoughts of her own coming out. Georgette walks alone into the garden. She smells cigar smoke and realizes there is a man out here. He is unfamiliar and since she is not introduced, she turns to leave. Not wanting to disturb him, because she knows he will put out his smoke in deference to her, she hurries away, but it is too late. He has seen her and knows her.

Meet Charles, Duke of Eversley, Miss Quinby’s long ago fiancé’s dear friend and erstwhile British spy in the continuing war with France. It was the Duke’s waspish younger sister who caught Miss Quinby’s fiancé and married him. Georgette certainly didn’t want to open that wound. Neither did the duke, but a cipher in a potted plant, an English traitor, a young gambler and star-crossed lovers pull the jaded couple together. From the ballrooms of the English Aristocracy to ices at Vauxhall to gambling hells, and secret meetings at the British Museum, they will dare much for king and country. They find a common friendship, but both swear they will never love again…but will they?

Murder, kidnapping and running frantically through the forest was not what Agnes had in mind when she became the new Duchess of Remington….

After Agnes is summoned to a mystery caller, her night turns from an innocent reunion with an old flame to a night of fear, terror and feelings of uncontrolled desire.

Dr. Gilbert McDonald’s intentions upon returning to Remington Manor is to protect Agnes at all costs. Gilbert’s intentions shift when he learns of a long-buried secret that shakes him to his core. He will no longer be satisfied with simply saving Agnes. He won’t stop until he’s made her his wife.

With every story artistically written by some of the finest and the most successful authors, there are few things you would rather do. Be all set to be trapped in the wonderful lanes of romance as these stories will help you cherish the perfect depiction of some of the finest tales.

Live the drama as it will unfold with every event and catch yourself falling in love with the characters that will charm you till the very end. Enjoy the beauty of the perfect romantic stories by the best authors who will surely entice you with their creative tales.

Emma is struggling to recover from the loss of her dear mother in the small town in Ohio. She also struggles to make it day in and day out, for her mother did not leave her with much at all.

One day, a letter arrives from a woman claiming to be Emma’s grandmother. What’s more, the woman also reveals that she is the duchess of a large estate in England, and she hopes Emma will come live with her.

Shocked and confused, Emma wonders if she should trust this woman. Deciding to risk it all, she agrees to visit her grandmother and make the voyage to England. Upon her arrival, she is thrilled to discover that she is of royal blood. Her grandmother’s estate is immense, and everything she owns is of the highest quality.

Her new life was going perfectly, but then she met Benedict Eaton, the Duke of Dorset. She falls for him instantly, but he appears to have absolutely no interest. Will her happily ever after be put on hold?

The Mad Heiress and the Rose Room Rout is the fourth and final part of a 4 part series, entitled “Sweet and Wholesome Georgette Quinby”.

Charles, the Duke of Eversley ignores Miss Georgette Quinby’s notes and visit to his home. He thinks, like much of the Ton, that she is “dangling” herself in front of him. It doesn’t dawn on him that she, a mere woman could catch a spy alone, but that is just what she sets out to do; and almost gets herself killed.

Enjoy the exciting conclusion to Miss Georgette Quinby’s story and find out what mad actions make the the Mad Heiress who she is. Will they save England? And most of all; will they save themselves?

William Terrell, the Duke of Portsmouth is well known for his devilish good looks and the personalty to match. When his younger sister Margaret brings a rather peculiar request to his attention, he is intrigued and dumbfounded. He reluctantly agrees, despite his better judgement.

Lady Amanda Pearson is a shy, yet beautiful young woman with a dilemma. According to her late father’s will, she will only receive her inheritance if she marries before her 23rd birthday.

With the guided assistance of the Duke, Amanda flourishes into a confident young woman. Soon she has men fighting for her attention, but deep down inside her, the only attention she craves is from the duke himself.

Will Amanda be able to save her childhood home, and win the heart of the one man who cannot be snared?

Phoebe is a modest and unassuming dressmaker who works for her family’s business. She is hardworking and down to earth, possessing a subtle charm and a skill with a needle which is second to none.

So, when she is contracted to make a dress for the upcoming marriage of Lady Anna, the conceited and overindulged daughter of a local Duke, it’s no real surprise.

But following the fitting, at Lady Anna’s fiancé’s estate, Phoebe is suddenly trapped by a storm which unexpectedly blows in. With no other solution to her problem she is invited to spend the night by Duke Benjamin Harlow and his sister, Lady Olivia.
During the evening, as the trio play cards and enjoy each other’s company, Lady Olivia and Phoebe find that they share a lot in common. But, more importantly, a subtle attraction becomes evident between Phoebe and the Duke.

When Lady Olivia proposes that Phoebe becomes her dressmaking tutor, some days later, it provides an opportunity for the Duke to see her frequently and as the unspoken feelings between them quietly grow, the Duke suddenly calls off his impending wedding to Lady Anna and suddenly Phoebe finds herself with a sworn enemy.

With her family business facing ruin, following lies and rumor spread by the vindictive Lady Anna, how will Phoebe manage? And will Duke Benjamin confess his true feelings for her in time to save them both?

When Kit Ramsey, the new earl of Kilgannon, arrives in Ireland to lay claim to his inheritance, the villagers believe the young nobleman is the miracle they’ve been praying for. But Kit isn’t interested in being anybody’s hero. All he wants is the chance to become his own man.

But titles come with duty, and Kit quickly learns he hasn’t just inherited an earldom and a castle, but the guardianship of Mariah Shaughnessy, the spirited and beautiful baker of Inismorn…the beautiful baker he must teach to be a proper lady…and the perfect wife...

Fresh out of a convent, Mariah knows the dashing Lord Ramsey is Inismorn’s last hope for survival. She accepts Kit’s lessons in social graces—not because she wants to become the wife of another—but because she dreams of becoming the love of Kit Ramsey’s life…

Damien Bradshaw is held captive by his own hand for a tragic crime he did not commit. He is living as a recluse and hidden from scrutiny by his own self-imposed barriers.

Women are attracted to his position and his wealth, but he is convinced that will not continue once his true appearance is revealed.

When the orphaned Emily Claymore arrives at Highmere Castle to help her older brother renovate the historic Bradshaw library, she finds it to be as gloomy and dreary as they were forewarned.

After a week, her first introduction to the mysterious earl is dramatic and embarrassing. As Emily slowly begins to learn the truth, she provides the light of hope the duke has not seen in years.

Can Emily save the Earl from his self-imposed exile and help him reclaim happiness lost, or will she find herself losing her heart to a man who has none?

As the country is propelled towards a civil war, two spies must join forces and learn to trust each other to save a nation. It is Piper Jones’ first mission as a spy, and she must convince the dark and mysterious Victor Clayton that she is worthy of being his partner. She has already shunned her proper role in society and sworn she would never marry, but she finds herself agreeing to an engagement with Victor to create the perfect cover. Victor is no stranger to the harsh realities of being a master spy and doesn’t trust anyone, especially her. He is used to working in the shadows as a one-man team, but he must learn to accept Piper as an equal partner, or the country that he loves could be torn apart. She knows something sinister lies in his past, but they must find a way to forge a trust and work together in a race against the clock to locate a set of stolen plans that would prove disastrous for the Union if they remained in Southern hands. Southern loyalists threaten to derail them at every turn and a mad man has his own plans for them. Piper has already given up everything to become a spy, and if she doesn’t succeed it will all be for nothing. They have the perfect cover but can Victor face his past and learn to trust a spy?

Alexandra Champagne finds herself swept up in the Civil War while searching for her twin brother. After her grandfather is captured, she must deliver a vital message to Confederate officers in Vicksburg. Forced to travel through war strewn land to deliver this message, she is protected by a man she believes to be a Yankee – her Yankee savior.

During the siege of Vicksburg, Thomas Munroe finds his heart sieged by a fearless, lovely Southern belle, Alexandra Champagne. As he fights to keep her safe, her stalker turns his attention on Thomas. Can the two of them keep each other alive long enough to survive the war?

While the idyllic life of the antebellum world was being destroyed by the enemy, Southern women did what they had to do to survive the Yankee invasion. These are the stories of heroines who lost their hearts amidst the turmoil going on around them. Out of the destruction, love blossomed and flourished leading to happily ever after. North and South. Blue and Gray. Enemies and Lovers.

Emilia MacNeil is an independent miss. Truth be told, she’s a bit of a tomboy, and many’s the proper lady who has called her a hussy for her sometimes less than ladylike behavior. But Emilia remains unrepentant. She’s as good as any man, and better than some, and the last thing she wants is to be married to any of them. She’ll happily be an aunt to her siblings’ children, but she wants nothing to do with marriage. Enter Lord Cedric Hanson, Duke of Roxburgh. According to her father the Marquess, the Duke is to be her husband, but Emilia refuses to comply. When she is brought back after her first attempt at escape is foiled, she vows to take the battle to the enemy, so to speak. But every attempt she makes to escape is hindered, first by the guards who accompany her and her father to the Duke’s seat, and afterwards by the Duke himself. Their game of hide and seek eventually leads to more, as Emilia finds herself reluctantly admiring the man who would take her freedom. Admiration becomes arousal...becomes more. In the end, on her wedding day, Emilia must choose between the independence she has fought for all her life and the man she has come to love.

In nineteenth-century London, and after being repudiated by her family, Lady Sophia Phillips lives her existence away from the world inside a convent, when suddenly her presence is requested by her mother.

Everything will change for her, especially at the sudden proposition of Stephen Rutterford, an untitled gentleman, but with a great fortune.

Will there be a second chance for Sophia to be happy? Or will their past ghosts return to torment her again?

In her childhood, the young Alexandra Burton was a wild child, living for small adventures and making friends. One of these friends turns out to be the son of the Duke of Derbyshire, the shy and secluded Edmund Carlyle. The two become fast friends and promise to have adventures for years to come as they dallied around Edmund's home, the lavish Bornroe Manor.

The year, however, it is now 1811 and the now-adult Governess Alexandra Burton is a different person. Serious, dedicated and aware of what her lot might be in life as an unmarried woman, she is surprised to find that her next job takes her back to Derbyshire—back into the life of the newly-minted Duke of Derbyshire, Edmund Carlyle.

With the discovery of Edmund's son and with a cool reception waiting for her, what fate awaits Alexandra as she returns to Bornroe Manor?

═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════

Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Deborah Swift said...

A Pressing Engagement. The design appears more coherent, color-wise, and it gives the impression of a classier read. Remind me not to use that image for my covers!!

Erin Davies said...

I agree with you Deborah. A Pressing Engagement is my favorite version of the image. The color of the gown doesn't dominate the image and invites you to think more about the story. ;)

Colleen Turner said...

I like the cover for Sisi: The Last Empress! The border is beautiful and I like the color of the dress.

Erin Davies said...

The Sisi cover was actually the second book I noticed with this particular jacket image. You might say it was the inspiration for the post. ;)

Heather C said...

I think that A Pressing Engagement is a very cohesive cover: all the colors go together, they don't make the dress the sole focus. Just beautiful. I do like how silent night changed up the dress with the fur wrap

Erin Davies said...

I thought the wrap was an interesting additional too! Fun and it makes the image more appropriate to the outdoor setting.

Holly Bush said...

I liked Loving the Duke. By moving the model away from the center of the pic, I think it looks more natural. Good cover!

Dawn Crandall said...

I'm willing to bet that The Pressing Engagement by Anna Lee Huber is the ONLY traditionally published book in this lot. It looks a million times better than the rest of them!