Here’s this week’s question:
Do you feel disappointed when the covers don’t match the story? Have you ever been completely misled by a book cover?
Although I’ve been told since elementary school not to judge books by their covers, I have to say that I very often do. If I’m just browsing through novels at a local bookstore, my eye gravitates toward anything bright, sparkly or “girly.” I know that’s terrible, but it’s true! As a devout reader of women’s fiction, I know that the marketing departments of publishing houses have me in mind when they stick a slim, fashionable woman traipsing through the city on their covers. Usually, that’ll wind up on my wishlist — or in my hands!
That being said, many novels seem to have that “chick lit”-type cover . . . with a much more serious message. An example that immediately springs to mind is Elin Hilderband’s A Summer Affair, my beach read from 2008. The cover looks light, summery and fun, right? Well, the story was deep, tackling issues as varied as infidelity, parenthood, bereavement, family dynamics, friendship and lost love, all set against the backdrop of Nantucket. More than a year later, I can clearly remember Hilderbrand’s jaded, complicated characters and intricate plot. None of this was particularly “beachy” or light — but the book was great. Just nothing like I expected.
But I can’t say I was disappointed. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the storylines and the variety of characters we met in the novel. While the cover — and title — made me think I’d grabbed a fluffy tale of, I suppose, “a summer affair,” I got so much more than that.
Generally, I do feel disappointed when covers don’t match their stories — but I’m also elated when covers complement their stories so well, I’m left to wonder at the ingeniousness at the designer. A few of my favorites from recent reading adventures: