This week’s TGIF prompt is:

“What are some of the worst book covers, but hold some of the best stories inside?”

Oh, I’ve got one! The new cover for Jennifer Roberson’s Lady of the Forest – it went from this:

to this:

This is not okay, people!

Marion is not your typical romance novel leading lady, Robin of Locksley is certainly not a Fabio-wannabe, and the story (for all that it is a romance) is not the usual fluff that usually lurks behind covers such as these! It covers politics, gender roles, soldiers returning from war, the power of personal choices and the consequences that inevitably follow, and the never-ending power struggle between the rich and those who want to become rich. It’s a surprisingly intricate and richly woven plot and they hide it behind a vapid cover like this??

All right… this is starting to sound like a rant, so I’ll try to give some sort of semi-rational reason for my dislike of the new cover.

First of all, it does not fit either of the main characters. Marion is not a weak woman – she has a quiet strength within her established gender role; and Robin, even though he is a strong and honorable man, is not the dashing hero who sweeps her off her feet.

Look at the first cover; Marion is coming towards Robin of her own free will. She is reaching out to him and he is gently supporting her. For all that she is looking down at him, their hands, just loosely clasped between them, indicate a level of comfortable intimacy and equality – like two long-time companions going on a journey together.

Now, look at the second cover. Robin has Marion completely in his grasp – one hand at the small of her back, the other firmly capturing her free hand. He’s pulling her towards him and she is completely passive as he looks down at her. Yes, it’s reminiscent of the waltz pose, and thus more obviously “romantic”, but it takes away any indication of Marion’s  strength or Robin’s inner character.

And (back to ranting), the focus on the bare, tanned pecs in the white flowy shirt just bugs me. If I had only seen the newer cover, I never would have read it, and thus, would have missed out on a good story!