History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

07 January 2015

Wearing this cover, my book is Clark Kent

Hi everyone! Rose Lerner here. I'm visiting to celebrate the release of True Pretenses (Lively St. Lemeston #2), about which I talked a lot while I was blogging regularly at History Hoydens—although at the time, it was going by the working title Crimson Joy. Here's the back cover copy.


Never steal a heart unless you can afford to lose your own.

Through sheer force of will, Ash Cohen raised himself and his younger brother from the London slums to become the best of confidence men. He’s heartbroken to learn Rafe wants out of the life, but determined to grant his brother his wish.

It seems simple: find a lonely, wealthy woman. If he can get her to fall in love with Rafe, his brother will be set. There’s just one problem—Ash can’t take his eyes off her.

Heiress Lydia Reeve is immediately drawn to the kind, unassuming stranger who asks to tour her family’s portrait gallery. And if she married, she could use the money from her dowry for her philanthropic schemes. The attraction seems mutual and oh so serendipitous—until she realizes Ash is determined to matchmake for his younger brother.

When Lydia’s passionate kiss puts Rafe’s future at risk, Ash is forced to reveal a terrible family secret. Rafe disappears, and Lydia asks Ash to marry her instead. Leaving Ash to wonder—did he choose the perfect woman for his brother, or for himself?

Warning: Contains secrets and pies.

kindle · nook · kobo · samhain store · more buy links 


Here's the real cover, which I absolutely adore:

True Pretenses cover

How lucky did I get with that one? (A friend of a friend pointed out they look like Regency Mulder and Scully which tickled me pink.)

A couple years ago, I noticed one of Cecilia Grant's books was given the wrong cover on BookLikes—a Polish-language academic text. This led to a meme where I, Isobel Carr, Jackie Barbosa, Olivia Waite, and Ros Clarke made alternative scholarly covers for our books.

For fun I also did a few romance classics like Lord of Scoundrels and The Black Moth.

So I figured I had to do one for True Pretenses too! (Yes, I am the person who hates to have an incomplete set of anything.) Now unveiling...the True Pretenses alternative scholarly cover:

(Image credit: The beautiful photo is by Froggieboy via Wikimedia Commons.)

My heroine Lydia's brother is a hothouse gardener and Lydia and Ash share a love scene in the orangery (I posted about Regency greenhouses last year). Plus, the book is about how lying and pretending interacts with the truth, so I really love this picture as an illustration for all the bullshit being stripped away until only the naked self (vulnerable but beautiful!) is left.

Isn't fruit the prettiest thing in the world? And vegetables. I am so glad my day job is in a kitchen.

In the comments, give me a suggestion for a romance you'd like to see a scholarly cover for! One commenter (chosen at random) will win an e-book of True Pretenses in the format of their choice, and I will make covers for at least my five favorite suggestions and add them to this post. (If I'm feeling inspired, I may do more!)


And a few links: Sweet Disorder is 99¢ at all retailers through January 20th. Tell your friends!

I posted a free short re-imagining (~8000 words) of Sweet Disorder in which Nick is a vampire and Phoebe is a dragon and not much else is different: "Poor child of Doubt and Death".

To celebrate True Pretenses' release, I'm giving away an awesome gift basket, cleverly disguised as a suitcase full of cash and actually full of Jenny Crusie's Dempsey books, the first season of Leverage, a lovely malachite necklace, and much much more. Enter to win at my blog.


ETA: Requested covers

Theresa Romain's Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress

Inspired by Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World by Londa Schiebinger. Image credits: Ordnance Survey Drawings - Bath from the British Library, and Still Life - Tea Set by Jean-Etienne Liotard, via Wikimedia Commons.

The rest are below the cut!

Molly O'Keefe's Crazy Thing Called Love
Inspired by Sport Stars: The Cultural Politics of Sporting Celebrity, edited by David L. Andrews and Steven J. Jackson. Image credits: "A fight in ice hockey: LeBlanc vs. Ponich" by ArtBrom, "Laboratório de TV e Rádio da FANOR Campus Dunas" by Afonsomends, and "Stanley Cup in the Hall of Fame" by J.delanoy all via Wikimedia Commons.

Dark Lover by JR Ward
Requested by Molly O'Keefe. Inspired by The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic. Image credits: the wine and glass is Evan Swigart's, and the background is "Capitel, cripta de la Catedral Nueva de Vitoria-Gasteiz, España/Spain" by Zarateman.

Meredith Duran, A Lady's Lesson in Scandal 
Inspired by The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes (scroll down for a pic...apparently the cover has changed from the edition I have so I couldn't link to Amazon). Image credits: "Cutler Street, Hounsditch" by Whistler, 1880s fashion overview, and "The Little Match Girl".

Susanna Fraser's THE SERGEANT'S LADY
Inspired by Adam Zamoyski's Rites of Peace: the Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East by Juan Cole, and every military history book ever (plus probably the old Heyer hardback covers but let's ignore that). Image credits: 1809 mourning fashion plate from EKDuncan.com, map of Spain and Portugal, mourning frame, and rifleman.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Bwahaha. You are spot-on on the academic-book cover art, Rose. What would you do with Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress?

8:12 AM  
Blogger Sonia said...

What a great idea! These are perfect and delightful. I'd love to see what you'd do for a scholarly cover for Molly O'Keefe's Crazy Thing Called Love

8:52 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

I have three possibilities: A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran, About That Night by Julie James or The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Ahhh these are all too good! Wow, trying to convey the plot of A LADY'S LESSON in an academic cover would be a challenge. I might not be able to resist!

12:52 PM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Kim, check the post--A LADY'S LESSON IN SCANDAL is up! Hope you like it. :)

5:00 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Hah, I own the book whose cover you riffed off of to create the academic cover for "Sweet Disorder". Now you know what I have to buy and read next!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Susanna Fraser said...

Oooh, if it's not too late can I ask for one for The Sergeant's Lady?

6:14 PM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Janice--The English Town?? I LOVE that book. I FINALLY found a decently priced used copy a few months ago. Before that I had the UW copy checked out for like...two years.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Susanna--it is not too late at all! I'll make it tomorrow. :)

Keep the suggestions coming, folks! I'm having a great time with these and I'll probably make a few more even after I hit 5.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Thank you and nicely done. Your cover gives context to the underlying plot of the haves vs. have-nots.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Bona Caballero said...

A wonderful exercise, I loved those covers! Really, I'd like to see some of them in reality. I think it's time to get new covers for our novels. As a matter of fact, Laura Kinsale's books has covers, in Spain, very similar to your alternative Sweet Disorder cover.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Yay, Kim! I'm glad you like it.

Bona - I'll admit, I like covers with people, but some of them seem so perfunctory. I wish more effort was put into making them unique to the story. My own from Samhain are wonderful in that respect, and it just goes to show there's no reason to make clinch covers with no atmosphere.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Susanna Fraser said...

Thanks, Rose! The cover looks awesome. I've had good luck with actual covers on the whole (including for The Sergeant's Lady), but it's fun to play with different looks/styles.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Rose Lerner said...

Bona - random.org has chosen you to win an e-book of TRUE PRETENSES! Email me at lerner dot rose at gmail dot com with your preferred e-format. :)

9:20 AM  

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