Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cover Clichés: Curls and Clasped Hands

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see an image that gives me an oddly disconcerting sense of deja vu. I could swear I've never read the book, but I know I've seen the jacket image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Images are often recycled because cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. That said, I find comparing their finished designs quite interesting.  

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England, 1483. Peace reigns, but old enmities are stirring once again as two great dukes set their sights on the crown. Amid the strife, Heloise, maid of honor to Richard of Gloucester's duchess, and Sir Miles Rushden, adviser to the Duke of Buckingham, are about to be ensnared, in both the deadly battle for the throne -- and love...

With her startling, silver hair and rumored second sight making her unmarriageable, Heloise has endured much at her family's cruel hands. But she suffers the ultimate humiliation when her father kidnaps Sir Miles Rushden and forces him to marry her at sword point. Sir Miles escapes, but Heloise is forced to seek him and throw herself at his mercy...lest she be cast out penniless.

The ambitious Rushden intends to join the powerful men behind the king--so be must have his secret marriage annulled. He never expects to see Heloise again. But when she sneaks into Buckingham's household, charming everyone, Rushden believes she has cast a spell over him...else why is he finding himself so drawn to his lovely young bride?




For fans of rich and complex historical novels like Girl with a Pearl Earring or Code Name Verity, Laura Malone Elliott delivers the stunning tale of real-life Renaissance woman Ginevra de' Benci, the inspiration for one of Leonardo da Vinci's earliest masterpieces.

The young and beautiful daughter of a wealthy family, Ginevra longs to share her poetry and participate in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence but is trapped in an arranged marriage in a society dictated by men. The arrival of the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers. Bembo chooses Ginevra as his Platonic muse and commissions a portrait of her by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them, one Ginevra only begins to understand. In a rich and vivid world of exquisite art with a dangerous underbelly of deadly political feuds, Ginevra faces many challenges to discover her voice and artistic companionship—and to find love.




Set against the historical reign of the Golden and Iron King, Bohemian Gospel is the remarkable tale of a bold and unusual girl on a quest to uncover her past and define her destiny.

Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse's unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

A heart-thumping, highly original tale in the vein of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Bohemian Gospel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice for historical fiction.




Obey your husband. Make him love you. This is your duty to me and to France.

With these words, King Philippe of France sent Princess Isabella to marry the dashing King Edward of England. She’s determined to fulfill her father’s injunction, but once wed, the young queen quickly abandons her romantic illusions: her husband has a secret, one that will stand between them and threatens to plunge England into civil war. As lonely Isabella grows into womanhood amid the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, she rises above her despair and uses her clever mind and political acumen to unite the country. But when tensions with France rise, the young queen faces an impossible choice.

From bestselling author Colin Falconer comes the little-known story of a queen who took control of her destiny—and the throne.




Aubrette, raised at Romhill as a companion to the local lord's only daughter Rowena, discovers that she is actually Rowena’s half-sister. This revelation comes on the day Rowena meets her future husband, Simon Fitzroy, one of King Henry II's illegitimate sons. Aubrette remains with her now sister, and becomes Rowena’s maid after she is married. After a tragic incident, she becomes Simon's secret mistress. The affair is unbeknown to Rowena, until Aubrette discovers she is pregnant. Her son is taken from her at birth for Rowena to raise as her own child.

Aubrette, having thought Simon truly loved her, is unwillingly married to Hugh, a companion of Duke Richard and loyal friend to Simon. When the King dies, Richard succeeds him to the throne and he travels with Simon to the Holy Land on a crusade. Aubrette and Rowena accompany Hugh and Simon as attendants to Queen Berengaria, Richard's long-neglected wife.

A series of traumatic life changing events follow that result in Simon being sent back to England, but not before he and Aubrette are married in Cyprus. Back at Romhill, Aubrette settles into domesticity and everything appears perfect. But could a threat from an unexpected enemy ruin Aubrette's happiness?

Full of adventure, love, lust and deception, A Sister’s Crusade will appeal to fans of romance and historical novels in equal measure.




Betrothed to the heir of Lord Canis, Aurelia finds herself thrown to the wolves. The Canis Clan are no ordinary warriors, but beasts raging beneath the skin of men. Their name chills the heart of every man in Britannia, though the heart of one maiden may be saved…

Once a mighty warrior in high esteem among the Clan, Sir Raf Canis knows all too well the dangers Aurelia will face in her new role as Lady of Blackens Gate. Tasked with the humiliating errand of delivering his brother’s intended, Raf instead finds himself fighting for her life–and falling into an impossible love that he cannot deny.

Content Warning: This book contains ableist language and attitudes in the context of its historical setting, as well as mentions of suicide, which may be triggering or upsetting to some readers.




Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven's neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia's shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven's only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.




A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148---ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin's development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin's rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other's arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family's lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts....

English Title: Shadows and Strongholds


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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. 


4 comments:

Anna Belfrage said...

Of the above, da Vinci's tiger is the one I'd be attracted to. But then, out of principle, I avoid all covers with women without heads :)

Erin Davies said...

I agree. The one is my favorite as well. :)

Medieval Girl said...

Hmmm, I'm noticing the 'second sight/special powers' thing seems a bit of a cliche too.

Rebecca Lochlann said...

Fascinating to see these posts. I can't decide which one I like best but Bride of the Wolf might be my least favorite. The text and face are sort of clashing unfortunately and blending a little too much.

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