This book cover has been giving me fits for months. Today I jigsawed some things together that look halfway presentable and I need to know if this book cover would catch your interest if you were browsing for novels. I used an 1865 painting of a widow by a Russian artist with a modified painting of the 1865 Sultana disaster. Modified means my friend, Cindy, wiped out the word Sultana from the steamer for me because the Sultana is not actually featured in the story. A little transparency filter, a little text, bingo, bango, I have a book cover design. I’m an independent author, so I can’t afford a cover designer, nor do I have time to wait for someone else to do it (call me a control freak if you must). Here’s a summary of the novel to help you.
Book II finds the Cavanaugh family and the Grimm family living in separate not only separate states but separate countries amidst the ever darkening American Civil War. Having physically recovered from his escape from a Union prison, Robert Cavanaugh is a withdrawn and troubled man raising his children in his mother-in-law’s Charleston home. The need for purpose and fulfilling his duty sends Robert to a recruiting position in the Confederate Army while his wife, Isabelle, endures a difficult pregnancy in a city quickly becoming strangled by the Union blockade. She grapples with the cracks exposed in her marriage, uncertain if her family will survive further Yankee invasion. The wedge between Isabelle and Robert grows when tragedy strikes their young family, followed by the unexpected arrival of her brother, who brings the blackness of the war home with him. Will their faith carry them through to the end of the war? Will their marriage survive the ravages of heartbreak, secrets, and a country in ruins?
Meanwhile, a world away in divided Missouri, Eva Grimm is bored with her position as the new wife of a St. Louis University professor. The monotony of a housewife’s simple existence without servants and the gayety of her former life as a Charleston socialite leaves Eva despondent until she receives a mysterious invitation to a Confederate safe house. There she discovers a ring of Confederate operatives looking for recruits upon the recommendation of none other than Drusella Sappington. Excitement and duty to her country fills Eva once more as she becomes more and more drawn into the underground war effort along the Mississippi River. The only problem is her quiet scholarly husband. Thaddeus swore he would divorce her if she ever lied to him again. As Eva finds herself leading more and more of a double life with more dangerous assignments such as planting Greek fire bombs on river steamers carrying Union supplies, she knows her secrets are a ticking timebomb. Thaddeus pressures her to have a baby but she doubts her capacity for motherhood. And as Benjamin Geary resumes his obsession with Eva, she becomes more convinced than ever that he would harm her child if she became pregnant. What will Thaddeus do if he discovers the truth about his Southern wife? Will Benjamin finally succeed at hurting Eva if he realizes he can’t have her? Will the pro-Union government in Missouri discover the Confederate operatives living right under their noses?
Okay, so that’s basically the direction of Book II. Now take a look at this cover and tell me what you think. Does anything need to be shifted? Does the title color pop? Does it need anything else? Thanks!
UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!! With an obnoxious number of explanation points.
I received several suggestions concerning the proposed book cover and I made some changes. The title has been rearranged as well as the slight color change and the change in font to “Book II” and “Jessica Jewett” because they weren’t clear enough. Additionally, I adjusted the colors on the paintings to make them fit better. The steamer has been moved up a little bit to improve the proportional flow of the cover, making it easier on the eye to see the steamer shape. Muting the fire’s intensity seems to have made it better on the eye as well. I also gave a little more color to the lady because the fire had, in my opinion, washed her out in my opinion. She has to look like she’s being consumed by the fire.
Do you like this version better? Please let me know.