Mystery Cover

I love covers, and to my surprise, Spanish book club version of PRIVATE ARRANGEMENTS showed up at my door a few days ago, with a different cover.

The provenance of the image, according to the info at the back of the book, was Shutterstock, a stock image website.  By going to Shutterstock and typing in “proposal”–since that’s what the man looks like he’s doing, though it’s also possible he’s a Regency Jesse James begging forgiveness, judging by the expression on her face–I found the image.  But the only information that came with the image is that it is an illustration circa 1830.  (And it was mislabeled as Victorian.  But to be perfectly fair it’s hard to know what to call those years post-Regency and before Victoria’s ascent to the throne.)

So, art history majors and art lovers, please ride to my rescue once more.  (Last time it was Seton who correctly identified the regular Spanish cover as a Tissot painting.)


And a word on RITA® nominations, which were announced yesterday. While I’m deeply honored that NOT QUITE A HUSBAND received a nod, I am completely bewildered that Meredith has again been overlooked. Of course I’m partial, but I’m hardly alone in my opinion that Meredith is one of the greatest talents the genre has ever known. And her two 2009 books were two of the finest historical romances to be published that year or any year.  So feel free to commiserate with me.

38 thoughts on “Mystery Cover

  1. Yesterday I was hoping that Meredith just hadn’t been contacted yet, since they were posting finalists only after authors were notified. I thought maybe she was just hard to reach. I’m sad to learn that’s not the case.

    • I hoping that too, SonomaLass. I thought maybe the time zone difference (Meredith’s in India) had stymied them. But that doesn’t seem to have been the case. 🙁

      I’ll commiserate with you guys over that anytime… but on the bright side, the pub date for Wicked Becomes You is just a month and a day away now… I had a really good time reading it.

  2. I had never tried a Meredith Duran novel. I know you share a blog with her and her books have popped up on other blogs, but I never got around to reading one. I finally tried, Written on Your Skin and I enjoyed it. I plan to read her others, too. So many authors and so little time. LOL

  3. Hi Sherry
    Yes, what does one call the era from the death of George III(Jan 1820) and the Ascension of Victoria(June 1837)?? The couple in the illustration are definitely wearing clothes of the early 1800’s and not of the time when it was painted. I’ll have to say that she does not appear to be too thrilled with what he’s saying!
    I went digging a bit online, found several different sources that offer the image, but none with the name of the artist. Perhaps it was originally done as a magazine or book illustration?

    Re: Meredith getting shut out of the RITAs–maybe she didn’t submit her book for consideration? They only pick from books that the authors submit–I know, silly way to run an award–but it is their award that’s how they work it.

  4. Did someone mention my name? 🙂

    Congrats to you, ST! I’m thrilled for you.

    As for the illustration, I dont quite understand what u are looking for? It DOES look like an illustration, not a salon painting. That means that unless it’s done by a famous artist or done in the style of a famous painting/artist, we will probably not know the name of the artist of this illustration.

    • Thanks, Seton.

      LOL, I had a naif’s faith that something that’s been around this long must have someone’s name attached to it. I guess it would have been already credited at Shutterstock if the name of the artist was known.

  5. Congrats again Sherry! So sweet of you to be thinking of Meredith instead of your own nomination. I’m so glad Not Quite a Husband was recognized.

    • There are a bunch of oddities in this year’s nomination though, isn’t there? Besides the glaring absence of Meredith, there’s also the absence of Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook. And even Nora Roberts didn’t get a nod.

  6. Congratulations again, Sherry! But yes, Meredith’s absence from the list is a strange and sad thing.

    The new Spanish cover is pretty! Maybe you could write a bonus scene with Cam on bended knee, begging for Gigi’s forgiveness? And, um, they could be dressed in Regency garb as a lark – you know, sort of like we go to 50’s theme parties?


    Okay, but it’s still pretty! And romantic.

    • I am puzzled by the absence of GODDESS OF THE HUNT from the debut book category. I guess that just shows the uncertainty of things when you hand a book over to five random readers.

      But congrats on SIREN’s nomination!

  7. I’m not an art major, but having studied painting–particularly 19th century art–I believe the photo is labeled as “Victorian” because it was painted during that time period. The style does not match the painters working during the actual Regency period, and is actually quite Pre-Raphaelite-esque (I’d guess, due to the hair style and even the silhouette of the Directoire gown, that this was painted in the 1870s or early 1880s).

    But I extend my hearty congratulations on your second RITA nomination! And I do hope Meredith’s absence on the lists is because she didn’t enter, and not because the RWA overlooked her!

    • But I extend my hearty congratulations on your RITA nomination! And I do hope Meredith’s absence on the lists is because she didn’t enter, and not because the RWA overlooked her!

      She did enter, Evangeline. It is a bummer that the judges didn’t all love BBYT and WOYS, but she’s getting an outpouring of love and support in many places, and I think she’s taking this RITA thing in stride.

      And hey, I have it on good authority that RT just gave Wicked Becomes You a great review. 41/2 stars, Top Pick. The text of the review isn’t posted online yet but should be up in a few days.

    • Thank you, E.

      As Janine already pointed out, Meredith did enter. And I for one had been fully prepared to accept the award on her behalf, since she wouldn’t be at Nashville in person.

      (Fascinating what you said about the picture being painted in the Victorian period. I’ve never been quite able to figure out what a Directoire gown is. Is it just a high-waisted affair then?)

  8. Sherry
    Oh wow, I forgot to say “congratulations” on your nomination for Not Quite a Husband! Bad Barb, bad, bad!
    I loved NQAH and have bought numerous copies to ‘force’ on friends and family (as well as for myself, natch).

  9. Congratulations, Sherry! Your nomination is well-deserved.

    Meredith’s absence is a puzzle; I’ve read most of books in that category and there’s one in particular that I found okay but not notworthy.

    • Thank you, Karen.

      That’s the thing about reader/book chemistry. You never know how a given book will be received by a random reader. I hope Meredith won’t stop entering the contest because I’m sure one day the RITAs will award her handsomely.

  10. Congrats, Sherry! I will definitely commiserate with you about Meredith. It makes the number of books I’ve read that were nominated that much shorter.

  11. Congratulations! Hope you get it, you definitely deserve it! And I had to leave a reply to say that I also cannot believe that Meredith was not nominated!!! :O

    I loved, loved, loved BBYT and WOYS…oh and totally agree on Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa, loved that one too! But at least she got Siren on there…i know, i know, I shouldn’t say “at least” as if it were a small feat, but I just really thought Goddess was an awesome First Book.

    • Thanks, Brisa. And yes, it’s a bummer about Meredith. I guess that’s part of the unpredictability of the RITA process. The books are read by people who may or may not read similar books when they don’t have to read them for RITA judging and that could produce some interesting scoring.

  12. Sherry,

    Just want to mention how much I LOVE the original cover for Private Arrangements. Besides being a completely awesome book, the cover was just beautiful. Last night, I went on Borders to order another copy. But OMG, there is another cover (girl in green dress!). I hate to admit it but Private Arrangements without the original cover doesn’t feel like the same book to me. Anyway, I’m ordering it from Amazon (still showing original cover on website) together w/ Meredith’s next book.
    BTW, hope you win at RITA. About time too!

    • LOL, I think if it’s time for anyone to win, it would be Elizabeth Hoyt, with an excellent body of work, lots of nominations, but no win yet. Me, I need to pay my dues and stand in line. 🙂

      And don’t worry about the new cover for PA. Despite the cover, the reissue isn’t happening for a while. So Borders will ship you one with an original cover too.

      And just for curiosity, why another copy?

  13. Oh, I’m giving the second copy to a friend (who just recently admitted she read romance novels too). Private Arrangements is just that good. I have to share it!

    • Finger crossed that she likes it too. PA does get strong reactions out of people, I just never know which one for a given reader. 🙂

      And thank you for introducing me to her!

  14. Hi Sherry! Richly deserved nomination for NQaH! What a powerful novel.

    It also bothers me that Tessa Dare’s Goddess of the Hunt didn’t get a best debut nod. Also can’t believe that one of my favorite authors Elizabeth Hoyt never won a RITA. But then again, I don’t read a novel because it received a nomination or an award. I’m ashamed that I haven’t read Meredith Duran’s novels but I plan to catch up!

    Soak it all in, Sherry! Alohaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

    • Aloha!

      You kind of hit it on the head about the problem with the RITA. The general public neither knows nor cares much about this award. It is something mostly known only among romance writers. Unlike say the Hugo and the Nebula awards for SFF, which boosts sales and author visibility, the RITA seems mostly just a chance to dress up. 🙂

      And aloha again.

  15. First, congrats! No one could deserve the nod as much as you. Except Meredith. So secondly, commiserations galore. That is beyond logic. Hmm. It unsettles me completely.

    And thirdly: what a phenomenal Spanish cover! I love the ambivalence that you note in her. In that face lies a whole novel’s worth of drama.

    And fourthly, I adore “Bliss”! It may be my second favorite Ivory after “Black Silk.” More on that soon.

    • Awesome about BLISS! I do wonder what you think of DANCE though. The film making and whatnot were fascinating. And I liked Marie. But overall I didn’t quite warmed to it.

      • Ha! One learns new things about one’s crit partners all the time. I liked Dance better than Bliss, although I know myself to be in the minority. Sebastien was a much more compelling character to me than Nardi, and I also loved Marie whereas Hannah didn’t excite me as much.

        My favorite Ivory is still Beast, though.

  16. I don’t know if anybody else noticed that the illustration of the proposal labeled “Victorian” was supposedly from 1830. This immediately hit a nerve. Victoria of Hanover did not become queen of England/UK until 1837.

    I can’t remember how I got to this site but I have seen both your books at Fresh Fiction, though I haven’t read either of yours yet. But I’d like to remedy that and hope to do so soon.

    All the best to both of you, just now for the Rita, Sherry.

    • Hi Ranurgis,

      Thank you.

      I think a couple of the art historians have pointed out that the illustration has been labeled Victorian because although the theme is Regency, the illustration itself was done decades later. Although part of me also think that the folks who put up this picture as a royalty free offering figured a lot more people would know what Victorian is rather than what Regency is. They obviously did not count on historical romance readers. 🙂

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