Where in the world is The Midnight Rose?

I was looking for covers that would fit in our new Avant Garde category and fell in love with the US cover for  The Midnight Rose. When I began researching the publishing details, I discovered there were several international versions released with different covers. My quest for information expanded. All of the covers have different designs and it’s fascinating how each cover designer interpreted the story inside.  Lucinda Riley’s novel falls into the Women’s Historical category and follows one heroine from age 11 forward.  The story encompasses 4 generations from 1911 to the present and travels from India to England.

The first cover I’ll show you is the US release.   I fell in love with the “Monet” impressionist style used by the designer.  (This isn’t surprising since Monet is one of my favorite artists.)  The soft colors and the wistful stance of the heroine enchanted me from the first moment and her Sari style costume instantly reminded me of India.

Midnight Rose - US

Atria – March 18, 2014 – US

Next, is the UK cover and it gives a different vibe all together with wedged hedges in the traditional English garden. It reminded me of England immediately.  The designer also added the hero in a top hat and both H/F face away from the reader to preserve the mystery.

Midnight Rose - UK

Pan Macmillan – August, 2013 – UK

The German version eliminated the heroine and went with an English landscape design. This version didn’t light my fire but it is a pretty cover.

Midnight Rose - German

Goldmann Verlag – January, 2014 – German

The cover released in Norway has a combination of English and Indian influences. We have a Downton Abbey structure and the quintessential English garden but the heroine is dressed in traditional Indian attire.

Midnight Rose - Norway

Cappelen Damm – January, 2014 – Norway

The Italian version changes the reader’s view and features the heroine looking out over the gardens from the terrace. She is dressed in a colorful strapless gown with an exotic flower in her hair. For some reason, she reminds me of a maiden from Hawaii and not India. The mystery of her face is still hidden.

Midnight Rose - Italy

Giunti A – February, 2014 – Italy

My favorite is the US version followed by the Norwegian version. Which covers are your favorite versions of Midnight Rose? Do you agree with me?

Until next time,

2014 Cover Pet Peeves – A La Carte Torsos

If you love book covers as much as I do,  a few cover trends miss the mark and annoy the joy right out of you.  They might not annoy you at first but slowly they will wear you down.

My latest pet peeve is the headless, legless, sometimes armless male torso trend on covers.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a handsome, muscular, well toned  hero on my covers but I’m NOT a fan of the lone torso.  There might be readers who appreciate a naked torso without any attachments but I am not one of them.   The covers objectify the hero and reduce him to an anonymous torso.   Covers cropping out most of  a heroine’s body and showing only her breasts would scream politically incorrect and this cover trend screams, too.  Below are some recent examples.

Tactical Magik

The Raven Books – February, 2014

Hot Shots

Kensington – February, 2014












His Kind of Trouble

Harlequin Blaze – January, 2013

The Highland Lord

Broken Arm – January, 2014












Whenever I rant about a pet peeve,  I also include covers that hit the mark in my book.   The covers below show a toned, muscular hero but they focus on the man not just the pecs.  Some of them still are legless but I can live with that small omission.  Kudos to the designers for not reducing the  hero on their covers. 

Smokin' Hot

Kensington – March, 2014

The Mighty Quins: Malcolm

Harlequin Blaze – April, 2014











Vampire's Hunger

Forever Yours – April, 2014


Bantam – April, 2014











So what do you think?   Do you appreciate an  a la carte hero or do you agree with moi?  Show me more hero and not just the pecs!

Until next time,

Cover Cafe’s New Category – Avant Garde Covers

In the past, the annual contest categories were added or deleted  based on changes in publishing and the romance industry.  In 2013, the Alternate Reality and Category Series were combined with the Contemporary and Historical categories based on the time frame of the story.    The decision was based on a category’s previous contest popularity and the number of publishers releasing pure romances in that category.

We’ve made another change this year but this change involves adding a new category.  One of the primary goals of the contest is promoting excellence in cover design.   However, eBooks & stock photos have created a glut of cookie cutter covers and excellence is often sacrificed.  To honor the brave designers who think outside the trend,  Cover Cafe is  launching a new category showcasing creative, unique cover designs.

Avant Garde

We are proud to introduce the “Avant Garde” category for the 2013 contest.  This year, the committee chairs will select ten finalists for the spring 2013 contest.    Nominations for 2014 Avant Garde covers for next year’s contest are open via our Nomination form.   We want  covers that do not follow the latest trends, or if they do follow trends, they have a unique spin and the trend seems fresh.

We are looking for covers that are cutting edge, unique, future trend setters, inventive, and/or  feature a fresh approach in cover design. The covers can be from any of the existing contest categories but they can also be from women’s fiction, historicals,  straight mysteries, or even thrillers. We are looking for the trail blazers in cover design.