I used to read a lot of Irish literature, and I love that phrase, ‘the back of you.’ Although I think in this recent New York Times article, it takes on a different connotation:
A plague of women’s backs is upon us in the book cover world. We’ve recently seen “Finding Casey,” by Jo-Ann Mapson; “The Unruly Passion of Eugénie R.,” by Carole DeSanti; and “The Headmaster’s Wager,” by Vincent Lam, all showcasing a nape-and-shoulder combo on the jacket. “The Pretty One,” by Lucinda Rosenfeld, features three women with their backs turned; “The Smart One,” by Jennifer Close, has its heroine turned away, undoing her wrap dress; and a bride stands facing a beach on “Beautiful Day,” by Elin Hilderbrand.
This cover cliché is not confined to pulp fiction or books that might be described as chick-lit.
Why is the faceless woman so ubiquitous?
I have no idea why this kind of cover is so popular, but Interestingly, this is a trend I like. For me, it leaves a little something to the imagination. Rather than showing us the face of someone who nine times out
of ten isn’t going to match the protagonist as we envision her or as the author describes there, this gives everyone an out.
Although I associate the trend with modern Regency era romances, it’s cropping up everywhere. Even I was subconsciously infected by its popularity. It was the basis of my idea for the cover of In the Nick of Time. The more I read, the more I look for subtlety in book covers and I think this is a trend in the right direction.