Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week: The Curse of the Terrible Cover Art

As with most popular and prolific authors, Elizabeth Goudge’s books have suffered from their share of terrible covers over the years. What were the publishers thinking? Here are some of my guesses…

Okay, how are we going to sell this new Goudge novel? Cathedral? Clergymen? Forget them.
Let’s focus on that scrumptious actress! I see her as a sort of late Victorian Marilyn type.



Oh, and remember that scene where she really lets her hair down and seduces businessmen in the woods?



Now, we need to punch up the color scheme a bit.
I think that orange and green are really attractive together, don’t you?



That’ll pull them in! And how about adding bright blue and putting in some volcanoes?
There are volcanoes in New Zealand, right?



That dress is to die for. Let’s come up with some more really great outfits.
I think raingear is always so stylish.



Or how about the gamine look?



Excellent colors on that one too, I love mustard yellow and royal blue.
And how about naked? Naked is good, especially if the book is about Puritans.



Now, we’re a bit lacking in the masculine department. Let’s put in some men, but make sure they have grim, forbidding expressions.
Why? Because men are SERIOUS.



And let’s finish off with a spooky sort of paranormal vibe.
We don’t want those kids to be able to sleep at night, do we?



 I do hope you’re not put off reading these books by the covers, because really they have very little to do with the contents! Fortunately, there are also some truly lovely covers to take away the bad taste of the ones above. Here are some of my favorites.


Do you have any covers you love to hate? Or that deserve our admiration? Please share them with us, and don’t forget to link up your own EGRW posts on the Intro page.

22 thoughts on “Elizabeth Goudge Reading Week: The Curse of the Terrible Cover Art

  1. Those first two covers make the book sound like one of those cliched Denise Robbins style romances. No wonder I have never read these books. Truly awful!


  2. Elizabeth Goudge has suffered grievously at the hands of bad cover artists. The seventies paperback reprints are especially awful depicting characters wearing anachronistic clothes. On some covers it is impossible to identify which character is being depicted. It is such a shame because clearly many reader will have been put off reading her simply because of the misleading covers. I cannot read a book with an ugly cover, it spoils my enjoyment. I have managed to track down some beautiful editions including the lovely Scent of Water you show here and also a lovely copy of The Eliots of Damerosehay. I particularly like the edition of A City of Bells which you posted yesterday.


  3. I like the "Edwardian actress" on the cover of City of Bells, and the creepster looking in at her. I didn't know what book that belonged to–at my library, it's on the cover of a Christmas anthology, and I had sort of thought it was Sally of the Eliot chronicles. Not that Sally would be caught dead wearing that outfit either.That nice Dean's Watch cover, though, is here on my desk! I finished it yesterday.


    1. A Christmas anthology? That is even weirder. No wonder you couldn't tell what it was supposed to be! The artist's rendering of Felicity's "sunflower" hair is also, um, interesting.


  4. They are truly awful! I've just finished Gentian Hill and the cover is charming despite the clothes being completely wrong for the period.


  5. Ahahahaha, my eyes are burning!I always wonder, will people in the future look back at the design conventions of today and talk about how tacky and awful they are? Cause I think a lot of book covers these days are crazy beautiful!


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