Friday, February 12, 2016

Before I Read Love, Lies and Spies

Before I read a book, I look at its cover. Despite the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover," a book's exterior often offers insight into the story inside and can even convince me to pick up a title I may not have otherwise read. I love talking about covers almost as much as I love talking about novels themselves, so I started a feature to spotlight these essential works of art.

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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. This cover is making me drool! This book is something that really interests me, excited to add it to my TBR!

  2. I completely agree with you on this cover. As soon as I saw it I added it to my TBR. Then I read what it was about and got even more excited. Glad I'm not the only one that does this.

  3. Oh, I really want to read this now! That cover looks gorgeous, plus I love spies.

  4. I agree with you about this cover. It's pretty simple, but it does make a lot of questions with the number of keys displayed on the cover! :D

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress


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