Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A visual preview of the spring and summer seasons - UK edition

It seemed only fair I do a preview of upcoming British titles, but it isn't always easy to find the corresponding cover art. Many publishers don't post the JPGs until just before pub date. I've gathered up some I've been able to find.

An Indian Sikh fighting for the British Empire in WWI ends up in a Leicester hospital, where he falls in love with an English nurse. An epic of love and war, set in Britain and India. Doubleday UK, July.

Evelyn, one of Britain's first female lawyers, finds her life turned upside down just after WWI when a woman turns up on her doorstep with unexpected revelations about Evelyn's late brother. The cover reminds me of the makeovers which Victoria Holt's gothic romances have received in the UK. You'll have seen the US deal for this novel in my previous post. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 11 June.

The prolific Doherty's third mystery featuring Mathilde of Westminster, set in 1312, as England's barons are getting riled up about Edward II's relationship with Piers Gaveston, and Robert Bruce presents a challenge to Edward's throne. Headline, 2 April.

Elphinstone's new novel is set among the hunter-gatherers of Mesolithic Scotland, some 8000 years ago, and is called "a tale of conflict, love, loss and natural disaster." More details at the author's website. Canongate, 21 May.

I've been waiting for this novel ever since Candace Robb detailed her plans for it in her Solander columns a few years ago. Written under the pseudonym Emma Campion, this is a biographical novel of Alice Salisbury, a young woman who arrives at the court of Edward III and King Philippa and later gains notoriety as the king's favorite. The title and cover art are generic (we've moved from headless to shapeless) but I expect the story won't be. Century, April.

A sweeping historical novel of star-crossed love, prejudice, superstition, and entomological discoveries set in London and Somerset at the time of the Restoration, based on the life of Lady Eleanor Granville. See the author's website. Preface (Random House UK), 16 July; it has also been picked up by Putnam's Rachel Kahan for US publication in 2010.

Now on to our second of three headless women covers. This is biographical fiction about Ann More and her whirlwind romance with the much older poet John Donne. (Has anyone besides me ever read Elizabeth Gray Vining's Take Heed of Loving Me, which has the same subject but focuses on Donne himself?) Pan, 3 April.

Which version do you prefer, UK (the first image) or US (the one directly above)? The British cover reminds me of the lurid 1970s-era paperbacks I see in library book sale bins. The design gives the impression that the book is old and tattered, so this may be deliberate, and Waters' novels sell by name recognition alone. The latter is more artsy and attractive, and though it's not very distinctive, it's appropriate for a postwar ghost story set in rural Warwickshire. Virago, 4 June; also Riverhead, 30 April.

Above are the UK and US covers for Katherine Howe's debut novel, called The Lost Book of Salem in Britain and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane stateside. I prefer the US title (more evocative of the period, says I). A Harvard graduate student finds a key within a 17th-century Bible that leads her to uncover the mystery of Deliverance Dane's spell book, as well as her own ties to Salem's dark past. Penguin UK, 25 June; also Voice/Hyperion, July.

A novel of passion, betrayal, art, and the creation of amaretto liqueur, set in 16th-century Tuscany. Having just finished (and immensely enjoyed) Marina Fiorato's The Glassblower of Murano, set in modern and 17th-century Venice, this one's high on my wish list. Beautiful Books, 14 May.

First in a projected quintet of historical novels set during the rise and fall of the Moghul Empire over two centuries. This entry centers on Babur, warrior and ruler of Ferghana, the dynasty's founder. From the masculine cover, it looks to be aimed at the Conn Iggulden crowd. Headline Review, 11 June.

Skaaha, daughter of an Iron Age warrior queen on the Isle of Skye, forges a new life for herself. Based on the story of the historical Scathach, a legendary Scots warrior woman. Paisley's previous novel was White Rose Rebel, about Anne Farquharson, the "female Braveheart." Penguin, 2 July.

From the author of A Place for Greater Safety, among other things, a 672-page historical/psychological epic about Thomas Cromwell and the 16th-century English society he lived in. Fourth Estate, 30 April.


  1. Is it greedy of me to say that I want to read all of those?

  2. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Re: The Lady and the Poet, another book that tells this story is Conceit, by Mary Novik. The main character is John and Ann's daughter Pegge, but the story flashes back to her parents' courtship. I really enjoyed it.

  3. I'm really looking forward to the Mantel and Campion books.

  4. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Fascinating books. I am especially curious about the pre-historic ones because it's been ages since the clan of the cave bear novels, which were the first and last pre-historic novels I read. Also, the Monghol novel sounds interesting. Now I have to add these to my wishlist/reading list. :-)

  5. I'll take this one and that one and don't forget that one too! They look so yummy!!!

  6. Anonymous1:53 PM

    I am excited to have discovered this site! The novels you have featured all look great; as an author of HF, I look forward to exploring them. My novel is entitled The Fuhrer Virus. It has just been released by Eloquent Books of NYC (a division of AEG Publishing Group). It is a WWII spy/conspiracy/thriller for adolescent/adult readers and can be found at www.eloquentbooks.com/TheFuhrerVirus.html, www.amazon.com, and www.barnesandnoble.com. I would love it if it were possible for it to be reviewed on this blog!


    Paul Schultz

  7. Way to add to my tbr pile there, Sarah... :)


  8. Anytime, Tammy!

    Heather, thanks for the recommendation of Conceit, which I have a copy of but haven't read yet. (Such is the story for way too many of my books.) I didn't realize it looked back to her parents' courtship as well.

  9. I prefer the US covers too. Strange; I'm probably supposed to prefer the UK ones.

  10. Anonymous11:51 PM

    Yes, I have a copy of "Take Heed of Loving Me"! Very long time since I read it, but I recall enjoying it.

  11. Anonymous7:38 PM

    Does it seem odd that the cover for The Crimson Rooms, which is apparently set just after WWI, has a central image which is definitely from the 1930s? Mind you, it sounds like a book I'd like to read...


  12. Anonymous7:33 AM

    There are some amazing books on that list. Margaret Elphinstone is one of my favourite authors of all time --- an automatic hardcover buy from me. And I'm looking forward to the Mantel also, after her French Revolution book.

    *off to check when they'll arrive in the States*

  13. Thanks so much for posting the covers. What a greedy pleasure to look at all these wonderful books! Especially interested in Sarah Waters' newest, and the Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.