At first glance, the designers have gone for the bold graphic look that seems to be dominating Women’s Fiction covers at the moment.
One Day and When God was a Rabbit have a hell of a lot to answer for in this respect. It was their breakthrough successes that proved ‘graphic’ does not have to mean ‘obscure literary’ - They showed that arty covers can work in supermarkets too…
Nevertheless, this cover does not blindly copy that formula in the way that Jo Jo Moyes has for example with her recent offering.
Instead they have taken it further, adding layers of richness, care and detail that turn this cover into an object that you might covet.
One might be forgiven for thinking that this was easy but the designers will have been handicapped on two important counts:
1) The publisher paid an enormous amount for this book so the pressure will have been on to make it a commercial success. So often in those circumstances, ‘Cover Meeting Consensus’ drives people towards the apparently safe rules of the genre. The obsession is on keeping the retailers happy rather than doing something that might stand out. Here the designers have managed to tread that fine line with aplomb and deliver something that ‘fits’ with the market while at the same time moving it forward.
2) The other challenge they will have faced is that ‘This is How it Ends’ must have been a bitch of title to work with. Think about it - almost any visual you put next to those words would have looked like a death scene. (Not exactly the image you want to cover for a love story) Remarkably however, this cover has neatly sidestepped the whole issue of ‘death’ by creating something so dreamlike that mortality is the last thing which springs to mind.
The strap line (“A story of Unexpected, Life-Changing Love” ) is nice too.
At the most obvious level we’re sure it plays on the secret fantasy of many readers. Who doesn’t want to experience an ‘unexpected life-changing love’ at some point before they die??
But if we go deeper - the line does much to set us up for an epic story: ‘Unexpected’ is nice because it sets the scene for a twist in the plot…while ‘life-changing’ suggests drama is to follow. All very intriguing.
To round off a strong cover, the essentially two-colour palate is elegant and simple which gives it great presence — even at thumbnail size.
So…as you will have surmised already - we are impressed by this cover.
What is even nicer is that the book itself lives up to it.