Classics Challenge – April Prompt: the Book Cover

Katherine at November’s Autumn hosts the Classics Challenge. This month’s focus is the Book Cover. The old and worn adage of never judging a book by its cover is partly true but a book cover tells the reader a lot about what’s inside you can usually tell what genre it is or what time period it takes place in.

What are your first impressions as you look at the cover? Does the book cover have an aspect that reflects the character, setting, or plot of the novel?  If you could have designed the book cover what would you have chosen?

Currently I’m reading Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte on my Kindle. I knew nothing about it before I began reading. There is no information on the Kindle e-book about the cover illustration and I don’t think it gives many clues about the book.

 My first impression on looking at the cover was that the character of Agnes Grey may have been a lady’s maid in a large household. However, I soon discovered that she is the impoverished daughter of a clergyman and she is employed as a governess to the unruly and spoilt children of wealthy families.

The cover does reflect the setting of the novel in Victorian times, although not the position Agnes has in the household – she is not a servant.  But it does reflect Agnes’s character as she is demure, gentle and rather timid. I’ve not finished the book yet, but so far Agnes has been totally unable to control the awful children in her charge and is not given any authority to reprimand them from their parents. The lone figure on the cover reflects the position in which Agnes finds herself – alone and unsupported by her employers.

If I could have designed the book cover I think I would have chosen a similar scene, but would have chosen one showing a governess and the children.

8 thoughts on “Classics Challenge – April Prompt: the Book Cover

  1. I never really paid much attention to book covers until this past year when other bloggers were discussing them. Since I began noticing covers, I’ve realized that I frequently judge a book by its cover and had automatically passed up some excellent books that way. Now I judge by author, setting, and other bloggers’ reviews but I do sometimes hate the covers of books I choose to read. I just finished “The Hills at Home” which had a wonderful cover but I didn’t like the book.


    • Barbara, me too. I’ve got more interested in book covers since I started blogging. I always used to think that I took little notice of the cover, but I’ve realised that there are some covers that really put me off a book and others that I think … ‘that’s a lovely cover’, which makes me want to read the book! But if I know something about a book and know that I want to read it, I take no notice of the cover – or the blurb.


  2. I have not read this book yet, it is on my TBR list. From your description of the book is does seem the cover fits the story well.


  3. I actually think that the Penguin cover for Agnes Grey is quite suited to the novel (The black shiny cover). The painting featured was titled The Governess or something similar. Nice to see a Bronte post!


  4. Hmm, if I hadn’t known this cover was for Agnes Grey, I doubt I would’ve matched the two together. You’re right, it seems that showing the governess alone in a sea of people might’ve worked better. This is one of those books I would like to read but it does sound awfully depressing, so I have to gird myself…


  5. I’ve not read this book. I find the cover intriguing. To me, the two closed doors could indicate something closed off from Agnes – her restricted authority – or a decision she has to make.


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