Covers Across the Pond

Reader Cate alerted me to the differences in Elizabeth Hoyt’s covers between the US and UK versions. Have a look. This is the UK version:

Book Cover

And this is the US version:

Book Cover

Cate went out of her way to order the US copy even though she’s in the UK, because she really, really dislikes the historical inaccuracy of the cover: “This is a book set in 1737 – I know that because it says so on the first page(!).So why then have Piatkus given the book a set of cover models who look like they’ve just walked off the set of Pride & Prejudice? Or does one historical era fit all ? – a bit like a kaftan!”

I confess to not being as savvy as Cate, but I’m also not sure which cover I’d prefer. On one hand, the US cover very clearly says historical romance – but the UK cover, and the title as listed in Amazon.co.uk, seems to market it as a mystery/romance, particularly the additional reference to mystery in the title: “Notorious Pleasures: A Maiden Lane Novel: A Wesley Peterson Murder Mystery.”

Which do you like better? If you were out book shopping and browsing, which would you be more interested in?

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ben P says:

    Empire clothing on a novel set in the rococo period. Fail.

    I feel sorry for the author when ass-clowns start sabotaging any attempts she may have made at historical accuracy.

  2. 2
    Casimira says:

    “Notorious Pleasures: A Maiden Lane Novel: A Wesley Peterson Murder Mystery.”

    In that case, someone at Amazon has made a mistake, because that is a different historical murder mystery series. A very good one, but not this one.

  3. 3
    Ell says:

    It of course needs a dragon that’s rendered in a proper period style.

  4. 4
    Overquoted says:

    I’d like a cover with historical accuracy…but I’d rather have the male model wear a shirt. >_O The U.S. one just seems like a stereotypical romance cover. Why is he shirtless, and why are there fireworks going off? I also appreciate that the UK cover doesn’t have the author’s name in all-caps. I don’t need to be shouted at, damnit. >: ( Overall, the UK cover just seems less “busy.”

  5. 5
    Stefanie says:

    I like the UK one a lot, but if I was in the mood for romance I probably wouldn’t choose it because of the murder/mystery tag.  I really prefer my historicals to be character-driven, straight-up romances.  Plus, the red dress is so pretty.

    This snafu reminds me of another inaccurate cover.  I can’t remember the title or author, but its fairly recent because I was reading it in a drugstore.  The cover was very pretty and white, with a girl and a guy sitting on a chaise.  She was wearing a lovely empire waist regency dress and he was wearing the usual breeches and puffy shirt.  However, the book was set in 1850s London—the heart of the Victorian era.  That really bugged me because the styles are sooo different for women and men.

  6. 6
    joanne says:

    Yup, Casimira is right, Kate Ellis is the author of the Wesley Peterson series.

    Re the English cover? The she has loooong neck, he has no neck would earn a second look.

  7. 7
    Niveau says:

    I’m not a fan of shirtless-clinch-from-behinds, so I would normally prefer a cover like that UK one.

    But.

    There is a huge difference between putting a dress from, say, 1804 on the cover of a book set in 1810, and putting a dress that isn’t even from the same period as the book in question on its cover. Doing the latter makes me think that the publisher isn’t putting forth much effort on behalf of its author, and that it doesn’t think all that highly of its readers, either.

    So in this case, I’m going with the US version.

  8. 8
    Lyssa says:

    Okay, you asked which cover I prefered and it was the UK one, simply because the US one hurt my eyes. Now with that said, if I had bought said book I would have been expecting a Regency. Unless the cover blurb mentioned time frame I would have been so disappointed. So big plus for UK understated cover, big, huge glaring negative for false advertising.

  9. 9
    Naomi says:

    Speaking as an English person, romance covers here are usually somewhat “disguised”, I find. They never have shirtless men or couples in dramatic clinches, embossed lurid pink fonts or any of the sundry other trappings of a bad (i.e., GLORIOUS) romance cover. I have a lot of old Georgette Heyers from the 60s and 70s and I think this cover is aiming for that kind of reader/market, as well is the historical mystery market, which is huge in the UK. Even Mills & Boon covers tend not to be as full-on as the Harlequin versions of the same books.

    Chick lit, on the other hand, is almost always pink and covered in handbags, shoes, martini glasses and other “girly” rubbish, even if it’s totally inappropriate for the book itself.

  10. 10
    Sarah W says:

    Eyerolls are good exercise, so I usually let covers slide, unless the specific description (age, coloring, build, ethnicity) of a pictured character differes from the author’s description—-especially the ethnicity, which happens far too often.

    The color and species of the dragon had better be spot on, too, or the publisher gets a letter.

  11. 11

    I think sex in the US is portrayed as gaudy and glorious.  In the UK it’s more discreet and demure.  And I’m a very US kind of person, so yeah, I like that cover more.

    It’s interesting that the publisher is trying to make the UK book appear more English to UK buyers.  Wonder what that’s all about?

  12. 12
    T says:

    It is a fail to put clothing wrong by the order of a century, BUT I still prefer the UK cover. It is just, to my taste, classier. And the expression on the face of the american model really puts me off, and I find the colors too garish. The UK cover seems sexier to me, in a less obvious way but sexier.

    And 2 cents, I don´t think the UK cover is aiming as mystery/romance ( though the amazon listing might say that). Romance covers in the UK are not like american romance covers. In fact that applies also to fantasy and sf, and most of genres, the visual language which IDs a bookcover´s genre (and sometimes status) changes a lot from country to country.

  13. 13
    Sandra says:

      “Notorious Pleasures: A Maiden Lane Novel: A Wesley Peterson Murder Mystery.”

    In that case, someone at Amazon has made a mistake, because that is a different historical murder mystery series. A very good one, but not this one.

    I’m a big Hoyt fan, and I just finished reading this last weekend. My first thought was who is Wesley Peterson and what does s/he have to do with Hoyt’s Maiden Lane books?

    While the UK cover is lovely, and if I was in the mood for a Trad Regency, I’d give it a second look, it’s not accurate for the story. The US cover is closer. The H/h have an encounter at a London pleasure garden, there are literal and figurative fireworks, and iirc, she was wearing a red dress at the time. He, unfortunately, kept his shirt on…. then.

  14. 14

    I like the UK cover… I feel his subtle, possessive gloved hand on her arm in that version manages to communicate the idea of improper passion more elegantly than the blatant shirt-off one. There’s also just tooooo much type on the US version.

  15. 15
    Ashley says:

    I don’t really have a preference between inaccurate or overblown, but the mask in the US version, does that jump out at anyone else?  It’s like the giant phallic swords on UF or pirate books, but the female version.  “Look, here it is, the Magic Hoo-Ha!!!”  (Masked for discretion)

  16. 16
    Chelsea says:

    I confess, I probably would have prefered the UK cover if I hadn’t been told it was historically inaccurate. I could carry that thing into even the most frat-boy packed part of my college’s dining hall and no one would comment, because it just looks like historical fiction. Do the same with a book that has a shirtless dude on it (and yes, I know this from experience) and I run the risk of being harassed by asshats.

  17. 17
    Tamara Hogan says:

    Tough call. Yeah, there are some issues with period accuracy and body dimensions in the UK cover, but I prefer its restraint over the US cover, which I find to be more busy and florid.

    I write hot, but actually would prefer it if more of our cover heroes got to keep their shirts on – especially if the hero is wearing a shirt in the written scene reflected on the cover!

  18. 18
    Sarah says:

    DWAGON!  DWAGON DWWWAAAAAGGGGOOOONNNNN!!!!!

  19. 19

    I wanted to click on “Needs a dragon!” but that would skew the results.

    So I went with my default setting: Choose the man-titty.

  20. 20
    Lisa J says:

    My vote was for the US version – not because of the historical accuracy, but because I hate it when there are headless bodies on the cover.

  21. 21
    Nadia says:

    While the UK cover is more visually appealing to me, the US cover being more accurate for the setting and tone gets my vote.  I’ve not read Hoyt’s work, but doesn’t she bring the sexy?  The UK cover implies a mystery, yes, but also screams PG-rated with the modest neckline and fully-tied cravat.

  22. 22
    Susan Reader says:

    The US cover: Put your shirt on, dude!  And her dress looks a little off too… not as out-of-period as the other cover, but it seems more late-eighteenth than early-eighteenth century.

    The British cover: Restraint is good, so long as people are wearing the right clothes for their time period.

  23. 23

    I like the colour, restraint and layout of the UK cover better.  I think it’s a nicer cover.  Having said that, the inaccuracy of the clothes would really bug me.  It’s not like they’re even similar to the right ones – it’s a huge change of style. 

    I’d still be more likely to buy the UK version, though (which probably goes to show that as I am part of the UK market, they’ve done their research right.)  It would just surprise me when I found out it wasn’t a Regency.  But in my case that would be a pleasant surprise, as I like Georgian even better.

  24. 24
    Isabel C. says:

    On the one hand, I like the red dress and historical accuracy of the US cover. And I’m all for shirtless guys.

    On the other hand, the shirtless guy in question (now there’s a title) looks kinda…fratty. Bleh. Though that might just be the way it shows up on my screen.

  25. 25
    Chicklet says:

    Screw the inaccuracy of the UK cover, because the first thing I thought when I saw the US cover was SKANKY!. I guess I just like a little dignity in my book covers. *shrug*

  26. 26
    jayhjay says:

    I don’t really have a preference between inaccurate or overblown, but the mask in the US version, does that jump out at anyone else?  It’s like the giant phallic swords on UF or pirate books, but the female version.  “Look, here it is, the Magic Hoo-Ha!!!”  (Masked for discretion)

    OMG, I didn’t notice this until I went back and looked again, but seriously, that is one magic hoo-ha! Now that I noticed it, I can’t see anything else!

  27. 27
    Marie Kenward says:

    I write hot, but actually would prefer it if more of our cover heroes got to keep their shirts on – especially if the hero is wearing a shirt in the written scene reflected on the cover!

    Amen!  Totally agree.

  28. 28
    gypsydani says:

    The US cover is more vibrant and eye catching.  Plus, there’s the mask in the heroine’s hand which makes me think there will be shenanigans…or carnival…both of which suit me since I’m from New Orleans.  The UK cover makes me think of sitting rooms and tea.  Since I’ve never read Hoyt, I’d be less likely to give her a try based on the UK cover, I’m a little burnt out on Regencies, but I’d probably pick up the US book out of curiosity.

  29. 29
    Dayna says:

    U.S. cover for sure. Her neck in the UK cover is *freakishly* long. If I saw a woman in real life with a neck like that I would really struggle not to stare, I think.

  30. 30
    Lynn S. says:

    Not exactly happy with the U.S. cover by the U.K. cover has too many proportions issues, let alone the inaccuracy of the clothing. 

    Strange thing about this is there was a previous version of the U.S. cover which featured the same couple offset in the left-hand corner with more backdrop.  Much better cover and had continuity with the cover for Wicked Intentions.  Also, am I the only one who is hopping mad that they’ve changed the Pink Carnation covers?

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