This week’s guest post comes from Peggy in Illinois. We struck up a conversation about Emilie Loring covers we had seen, and this is the result… Thank you, Peggy!
Did the Publisher Not Read the Books?
There is a good reason not to judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, the cover completely misrepresents the story, the location, the era, the season, the characters’ moods, even hair color. Bantam Books published several of Emilie Loring’s books in the 1980s with updated covers. At this point in time, Mrs. Loring’s books could be considered historical fiction, written in the era in which the books are set. We can learn about the past from these books. Can you imagine a cover for a Little House book with Mrs. Ingalls slaving over the electric range, vacuuming the cabin with an Electrolux?
Never mind that. Bantam saw fit to use illustrations and photos that didn’t quite mesh with the settings of Emilie Loring novels. Additionally, some looked way too somber and moody for the spiritedness of our leading ladies and men. The adventure and danger that awaited the characters were quite overlooked. Here are some examples. Have a laugh at how bad they are!
I Hear Adventure Calling takes place during summer in a Maine seaside village soon after VE Day. Yet, Bantam gives us 1980s hair and knit wool turtleneck. The couple looks so solemn. The reader has no idea what adventure and danger await our heroine and hero. It will be quite a surprise to read about tennis tournaments and clambakes on the beach.
A Certain Crossroad takes place also during the summer in a Maine seaside village. Our charming heroine is quite the tomboy and can handle modern machinery. The cover gives us no idea of the dangers that await our competent heroine. Again, Bantam gives us a winter scene, however, with a solemn couple nestled in a horse-pulled sleigh. This is not Dr. Zhivago. Emilie Loring’s story is light on melodrama and human tragedy.
Perhaps one should be grateful that Bantam came up with a spring/summer setting for this next book, Keepers of the Faith. The story is set in Washington, DC, during World War II. Yes, a couple could be boating in the Tidal Basin or any other scenic waterway near Washington. But the image doesn’t quite set the mood for wartime Washington. The more glaring problem, however, is that the story takes place from September to December. On the day of the climactic action, there is an ice storm. A person unfamiliar with Emilie Loring’s novel will be quite surprised by the events therein.
Here we have another story set in Washington, D.C., in the run up to World War II. Yet, Bantam gives It’s a Great World a tropical setting for the cover art. Further, the young lady’s long hair looks circa 1960s. Again, the cover provides no sense of the adventure, intrigue or danger that lies within. We should, however, give credit where due. The illustration depicts conflict between Eve and Jeff.
Bantam was selling sappy romance novels with these covers, not novels of adventure and intrigue. Yes, romance was central to the novels, but Emilie Loring’s ladies were not passive women awaiting their hero to fulfill their lives. They had active, full lives. They were up to their eyeballs in intrigue.
The young ladies didn’t fall for the heroes out of loneliness, but because they loved and admired the men, who in turn loved the heroines. One suspects that the staff didn’t bother to read the books. But we will…and enjoy the adventure inside!