Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Release: April 19, 2016 from Swoon Reads
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.When it comes to graphic design, some projects call for a minimalist approach, a simple background calling attention to a central object of interest. Others inspire a complex design that incorporates detailed patterns or ornate fonts. Still others fit right in between, perhaps featuring several elements united by a common theme or color scheme.
Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
Rarely, however, do I come across a design that manages to be both smoothly minimalist and highly complex—which makes such images all the more striking when I do. And as you may have noticed for yourself, the cover of Love, Lies and Spies fits this description perfectly. While the plethora of keys and silhouetted scene make the cover engaging and raise questions regarding the story inside (What do the keys unlock? What is the significance of the feathers, fans, and umbrellas scattered among them? Why is the girl chasing the carriage?), the straightforward black-and-white aesthetic keeps the image from looking cluttered. To top it all off, the occasional dashes of red add an eye-catching element to the cover, creating just enough contrast to be noticed without disturbing the sleek contrast of the white background and black foreground.
Between its gorgeous and unusual cover (my only complaint is the lack of a second comma in the title—I'm a hardcore Oxford comma girl), the intelligent and science-minded protagonist, and Victorian London setting, Love, Lies and Spies sounds like a novel absolutely made for me. If this story is half as layered-yet-sophisticated as its cover suggests, I'm sure to be obsessed.