March 2nd, 2010

News: Why Historical Romances Have Headless Women on the Covers

So if you've ever browsed the historical fiction/historical romance section of the bookstore, you've probably noticed the trend of beautifully-clad headless women on the covers.  The photo or painting is always cutoff at the neck, so that the woman's identity can remain a mystery.  But why is this so?  An editor at Three Rivers Press, Heather Lazare, offers an explanation over at Read it Forward:

One rep said, “So, what’s up with the headless women?”

Blushing, I found myself fumbling while trying to explain that we wanted the sense of allure, of distance—Jean Plaidy wrote about real historical women and having someone who doesn’t look a thing like Elizabeth I on a jacket could be jarring to a reader. Then again, the other half of me wanted to just tell them, “Well, because it’s the same woman on most of the jackets. Me.”

'The Editor-Model Hybrid is Born' continued here...


Pieces of Ms. Lazare have served as the cover model for several of the newest editions of Jean Plaidy's novels; visit the link above to read more and see pictures from the photo shoots, as well as the finished cover counterparts.