The Windflower is one of the romance novels that I read, finished, sat back, and despaired that I'd ever find a book like it again. It's long and complex and more than a little old skool, but also incredibly rich and features some deeply memorable characters. If you want to see a massive interpretive dance of arm gestures and deep sighs and about sixteen sentence fragments, ask a bunch of romance readers about it. If you liked it, you probably really liked it. I know it gave me Book Rebound. One of the things about the story that has stuck with me is how unique it was in so many different ways. If you say to me, “Give me a recommendation of a historical romance that's like The Windflower,” I'd have some difficulty.
Over the years (holy smoke, almost 9!) that SBTB has been in its hot pink corner of the internet, we've mentioned The Windflower many, many times. It's been out of print, sometimes hard to find, and only available digitally in pirated form. Now it's being re-released in April 2014, and you can pre-order your copy if you'd like.
But oh, the new cover. Is it better or worse than the others? Has there been a romance with a more sad history of absolutely bizarre and clusterfuck cover art? I don't think so. Let's have a look.
This book was originally published in 1984, according to GoodReads, anyway, and, well, that cover looks like the 70's were haunting the cover department at Dell. Her neck scares me. His shirt is alarming.They look like they jumped off the back side of the amateur makup artist wagon (of course there is one) scarce half made up.
I mean, I think he's wearing the same blush as Robert Pattinson in Twilight.
I haven't seen many covers with the yearning-from-the-margins-to-kiss-you pose though, so much like the story itself, it's one of a kind.
Then we got this one.
It's not Battle of the Adam's Apples like the yearning margins above, but it's still…meh. A ship squished a brooch? The ship IS the brooch? Is this a plot point I'm not remembering correctly? I mean, if you're going for plot points, hide a rutabaga in there somewhere.
But then… we travel across the Ocean of WTF, the sea air in our faces, the piratical pirate-ness chasing us, all the way to… WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?
I guess, with The Windflower, you can either hose it down with roses or you drop a ship on a honking piece of jewelry and call it a day. Whatever acid was involved in the creation of this version, I want to study it. I didn't know there were that many shades of rose! I can't tell if they're on a rock, or a boat, or just magically hovering over the very red sea while the crew sails away. Even that seagull is drooping his head in despair for this book.
To quote Candy: Dear lord. That cover looks like what would happen if a host of My Little Ponies, after a weekend bender in Vegas, decided to puke it all back up.
Sweet merciful fuchsia, even the JOLLY ROGER IS PINK.
I don't think we can top that cover, really. It's… SO VERY PINK. Because pink is the color of getting to second base? I have no idea.
For a brief change of pace, have a peaceful moment with this international cover (which I believe is in Malay?):
Look, nothing says piratical romance like pastel hydrangeas! When mine bloom next summer, I'm going to be all pirate talking, all the time.
Have another look at the peaceful blue peacefulness, because it's time for another trip across the Ocean of WTF… this time for the new cover. Brand new! Coming out in 2014! And what do we get?
WHAT THE HELL. It's like this book is destined to never have a decent cover. For the 2014 edition, we have some of the most bizarre parts of the previous three US covers: some fuchsia, some sunsets (mercifully without Adam's apples), and some big jewelry (no pirate brooch but whatever)… along with the new and improved waxed manchest, erect nipples and five o'clock shadow. Plus what looks supiciously like a Photoshopped flower in her hair.
I appreciate the homage to the original cover (which is more obvious when you see them side by side):
But still: oy. I'm not a fan of photograph covers, especially on historicals – it's too big of an anchronism for me, and yes, I know that's very strange. But this cover for this book? Oh, the sadness. Is this book cursed? Is that what's happened here?
I can appreciate how difficult it would be to do a cover for this book, believe me. There are so many things that make this story unique, and it's difficult to represent the story visually. I totally get that. But wow, that new cover is a big letdown for me. You can still pre-order your own copy at Goodreads, Amazon, BN, Sony, Kobo, or iBooks. It'll likely arrive with this cover. Poor, poor Windflower.
Have you read this story? Did you like it? Which cover do you have?