Cover story

After I finish writing a book review, I always post an excerpt and a link on the book’s page over at GoodReads. Because GoodReads is home to readers from around the world, finding the right edition can be tricky. The upside of this complication is that I get to see the UK and the US covers for the book. I’ve written before about how a cover can change your expectations of a book’s tone, and I have another example to share.

Here is the US cover of The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, by Michelle Lovric:

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And here is the UK edition’s cover:

 

On the UK cover, Manticory Swiney—the narrator of the novel—is only sister on the cover. Her expression is not a happy one, but the color of her hair brightens things. The US cover shows Manticory in her place as the middle sister. The cover is dark, ominous—much closer to the tone of the book. I love the Art Deco design of the US edition, too. (Though, I’m normally more of an Art Nouveau kind of gal.)

I think if I had only the UK cover to go on, I would have been more frustrated with Manticory as a character. She is dominated by her oldest sister throughout the novel. She often gets lost in the crowd with her six siblings. Because she is the narrator, The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters may seem like Manticory’s story. But the US edition cover reminds us that the book is really about all seven Swiney sisters.

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