A Tale of Two Covers

The paperback of the Hour of Separation is out on 22nd August with a new cover. I liked the first cover - I thought it evocative and yearning - but the new cover is much more reflective of the main themes of the book - and does not lead the reader into thinking that the couple on the cover are at the novel’s heart.

The interplay between writer and publisher in evolving a cover is mysterious and complex. As a writer, I do not have the ability to distil my novel into an image. Nor am in tune with how the alchemy between book cover and reader works.

As a child I loved the covers of my favourite books. It was like gazing at a beloved face.


Here’s one I loved. The face of this girl - firmly 1970’s - has nothing to do with Jerusha Abbot, the perky 1912 creation of Jean Webster whose fictional diaries I read time after time. I wanted to be both that beautiful young girl on the cover, and the character within the pages, and the two were both the same, and different. The books I loved were like boxes of delights, and the cover was the lid.

And so my hardback cover tells one story, the paperback suggests another - and one that perhaps best represents the core of the novel, and the theme of separation - and desire, and, ultimately, connection - that i have tried to create.

Charlotte Beckett