Monday, December 07, 2009

Book Covers of 2009

I need to add a note to today's post because I have news! My novel, KINDRED, won the Audience with an Agent Contest. It was posted this morning at the Novel Matters blog. Yay!!!! 

I will admit to never having seen a Kindle e-reader (still!), much less ever having read a book on one. Me and technology take a while to warm up to each other. Regarding Kindle, I get the pros. It's portable, small, doesn't weigh as much as a stack of books yet it can hold a stack of books. But there's one aspect of traditional print publishing that e-readers can't replace. The cover.

A cover is evocative, it's tactile, and it's the first thing you see when you're browsing store shelves. It might even be what prompts you to buy the book, turning a "I dunno... maybe" into a "yeah, I'm gonna get this" in that crucial moment of hovering between putting the book back onto the shelf or clasping it to your heaving bosom and heading for the check out. A knock-your-socks-off cover that strongly evokes a time, mood, setting or character has led me to read many a novel I otherwise might not have, because the back blurb didn't quite hook me on its own.

Amazon recently released a list of The Best Book Covers of 2009. Today I want to mention some of my favorite book covers of 2009. This list is purely subjective and limited to books I've actually read (with one exception). There are many more gorgeous, clever, funny, haunting covers out there, but here's my favorites from 2009:

Cleopatra's Daughter, by Michelle Moran.
Crown, September 2009

I'm reading this book right now, and liking it tremendously. Here's a good review... this review plus the cover convinced me to read this book.

Side note: once I had this book in my hands and could see the cover in more detail, I fell in love with the model's hair. It's my character Seona's hair too. Finally, a photo of super-curly, near-black hair that isn't bushy looking.

Honor in the Dust, by Gilbert Morris.
Howard Books, August 2009


The Frontiersman's Daughter, by Laura Frantz
Baker/Revell, August 2009


The Apothecary's Daughter, by Julie Klassen
Bethany House, 2009


Love's Pursuit, by Siri Mitchell
Bethany House, June 2009


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows

The Dial Press, 2009 (paperback)


This cover evokes the mood of the story perfectly, as well as its unusual structure (it's told through letters and telegrams). I highly recommend the audio version. There are four or five readers, and each character's voice is unique and engaging. The book was first published in 2008, but the paperback was issued in 09, and I read it in 09, so it's making my list.

And the one I haven't read yet, but just had to include. I've always loved Deanne Gist's book covers:

A Bride in the Bargain.
Bethany House, July 2009

If I squeeze this book in before the New Year, then it's still a 2009 book for me! This cover shows so much character.


Lot's of "daughters" on my list. Many Bethany House covers. Still quite a few headless or half-headless shots. Wonder how long that trend will continue? Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. These all worked for me.

If you have your own list, please post them in the comments section; word of mouth is still the best marketing tool. And I always love a lead on a good book.


  1. LOL on the half-head covers. I have a Western trilogy that employs that trick on all three. Works on two of them, less so on the last one.

    I thought I would miss the actual, physical book, and, when my own comes out, I know I'll want to hold the real thing, but for mass book consumers like myself, the practicality of the Kindle definitely makes it so you don't miss it! It feels like a book to me, and since I get so absorbed a book, I'm not all that aware of what I'm reading it on.

    Truthfully, I read a print book last night and hated having to try to hold it open...

  2. Maisey, that's another pro for the Kindle, no awkward weighting down of pages if they won't stay open while you're trying to eat your lunch and read at the same time.

    Maybe it's because before I was a writer I was a painter, but I would feel cheated somehow without the accompanying art of the cover and interior book design, maps on the end pages, photo of the author, and the rest (all of which I'm presuming is not included in Kindle books, but if they are, I'd like to know). It's part of what makes the book reading experience for me.

  3. I love, love, love to hold an actual book while I'm reading. My apartment is crammed with books - and I wouldn't trade the space I'd gain owning a Kindle for those haphazard stacks. But that's just me. :) This is a great idea, I may have to make up my own list and turn it into a post! I really want to read Moran's books, like Deanna Raybourn's they've been on my radar for quite a while. I want to finish the Raybourn Lady Julia trilogy 1st, though - I ordered used copies of 2 & 3 in the series from Amazon. Of course 3 comes before 2...sigh. ;-)

  4. Ruth, If I'd read SILENT IN THE GRAVE this year, that would likely have been on my list of favorite covers. One of those evocative of mood and setting. Glad you reviewed it.

  5. Congratulations, Lori!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm so excited for you!

    I love the covers you showed. A Bride in the Bargain is a great book, I think my favorite Deeanne Gist novel. The cover model is actually her daughter.

    Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren is another fabulous story with a great cover.

  6. Carla, Thanks! It's a wonderful opportunity.

    That's good to know about ABITB. And I've just started reading BREATHE, but right now CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER is holding my attention. I'm almost finished it.

  7. Lori,
    I'm so thrilled for you!!! I knew it was only a matter of time before someone noticed what an amazing way with words you have! Adding Kindred to my TBR stack:) Can't wait to hear about the next chapter, so to speak. Prayers with you all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, love those covers:) And thanks so very much for including mine.

  8. Laura, You've been such an encouragement and a kindred spirit on this writing journey. Thank you!

  9. Congratulations, Lori! What a fantastic opportunity for you - and one you have definitely earned, with your beautiful writing and dedication to your book.

    Well done!

  10. Thank you, Rachel. It is a great opportunity and I'm thankful for the authors and agent Wendy Lawton for holding this contest and taking so much time.

  11. Yay, Lori! I'm so excited for you! What a big break!

  12. It's obviously the year of the daughters. [g]

    Congratulations on getting that agent's interest. That's wonderful news. :)

  13. Thank you, Maisey and Beth!

    Beth, you could always do a sequel... The Knife Giver's Daughter. That actually has a nice ring to it. :) KG is one I look forward to reading. Your writing is feastable!