Never judge a book by its cover.
I know what you’re thinking: what a horribly clichéd intro for an article on book covers. Let me start over.
Undoubtedly, we choose books for a variety of reasons. They are recommended to us by a friend, they’re on the best-seller list of a well-known publication, or they are worthy recipients of literary or reader awards. But oftentimes however, we have to admit our inexplicable attraction to a particular book by nothing more than an appealing book jacket design. Regrettably, we don’t often give sufficient credit to the talented artists who work hard to make it so.
A cover is the ‘first impression’ if you will of any book, its visual calling card. Because of this, book cover designers should get massive props for creating the art that faithfully accompany the written endeavor of the writers.
These ten books listed below are not only note-worthy because of their stunning covers, but also because they are thought-provoking works with engrossing plots, dialogues and characters.
Beauty and brains you say? Yes, please!
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain. Book jacket design by Olga Grlic. Published by St. Martin’s Press. Chamberlain’s novel is filled with twists and enough secrets to fill a bank vault. Tess DeMello breaks her engagement with her long-time fiancee to marry a complete stranger. Her reasons for doing so and the evident lack of love for her new husband is only one of the mysteries here.
All Is Beauty Now by Sarah Faber. Book jacket design by Allison J. Warner. Published by Little, Brown and Co. In 1962 Brazil, a young woman disappears from a crowded beach. A year later, her family still reeling from the loss sees their once glorious life begin to crumble, while a series of flashbacks reveal terrible secrets.
Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki. Book jacket design by Elena Giavaldi. Published by Hogarth Books. Writer Lady Daniels impulsively decides to take a break from her husband, and hires a nanny to help with the children, allowing her free time to write a much neglected memoir. The nanny is a young woman known only as “S” found on a Craigslist ad, setting in motion a series of disturbing but also darkly humorous events.
Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. Book jacket design by Laywan Kwan. Published by Gallery Books. Jubilee Jenkins suffers from a rare allergy to human touch. As a consequence, she lives a recluse, hidden away even from her family. But when her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to venture beyond the walls that surround her to live a new life.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Book jacket design by Peter Dyer. Published by William Morrow. In 1893 London, Cora Seaborne finds herself free from her commanding husband upon his death. Wanting a chance to start a new life, she moves with her son and his overly protective nanny to Essex. Immediately on arrival, they hear the rumors that a 300 year old legend, The Essex Serpent, has been sighted by villagers. Cora becomes almost immediately fascinated by the mythical monster she doesn’t believe in and by parish vicar, William Ransome.
The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose. Book jacket design by Alan Dingman. Published by Atria Books. A new installment of Rose’s “Daughters of La Lune” series, The Library of Light and Shadow follows Delphine Duplessi, the descendant of a well-known and very powerful witch whose influence over her and her family is a permanent ghost over her present and her future.
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. Book jacket design by Sandra Chiu. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. A heart-breaking novel of the choices we make and the consequences they bring, The Light We Lost follows Columbia University seniors Lucy and Gabe, from the time they meet in college and their eventual breakup, to their meeting again thirteen years later when Lucy is married to someone else and Gabe travels the world as a photojournalist. Is this re-connection with each other fate? Or choice?
Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams. Book jacket design by Mumtaz Mustafa. Published by William Morrow. The follow-up to Williams’ novel A Certain Age, follows new widow Virginia Fortescue as she makes her journey from New York to Cocoa Beach, Florida in order to settle her late husband’s estate. But Virginia doesn’t really believe her husband Simon is dead, and she begins a desperate search for the truth which will put her in the path of shady characters and a world she knows nothing about.
The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas. Book jacket design by Holly Macdonald. Published by Flatiron Books. Famed writer Joan Ashby has lived her life knowing that she absolutely wants no children and is thrilled that her husband feels the same way. But when she becomes pregnant, Joan is shocked to discover that her husband is quite thrilled, something she considers somewhat a betrayal of their pact. Joan ultimately embraces her pregnancy, but reconciling both the writer and the mother battling within her, will be more of a challenge than she ever expected.
How to Fall in Love With Anyone: A Memoir in Essays by Mandy Len Catron. Book jacket design by Brian Rea. Published by Simon & Schuster. The only non-fiction selection on our list, Len Catron writes a stimulating and engaging memoir based on her essay published in The New York Times column “Modern Love” titled “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” (one of the top five most popular Times stories of 2015) explores the romantic myths we constantly fabricate for ourselves, limiting the possibilities of reaching and maintaining intimacy.