Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cover Judging - Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides: Rose

One day, I am going to create a series of novels. I'm not going to write it, naturally. I'm going to create it. I need only write the first book and after that, I'm free to enjoy a rewarding life as a brand-name author. My name will be in a larger font than the actual title of the book; the series title may be larger, too. It's likely that I may insist on a possessive. I'm just in the brainstorming phase right now, but here's a mock-up of the finished product (click to make larger):
It's good, right?

Oh, and I'd like to thank the person responsible for inspiring my pursuit of this whispered-about portion of the publishing industry: Leigh Greenwood.
First Glance: Pretty standard stuff here, but it's okay to do standard if you do it well. And this cover does it well: passionate couple standing at an impossible angle (seriously, 45 degrees, at most), frilly, slightly-revealing dress for her, sunset-y background. I'm slightly confused by his Ten Commandments get-up, since I'm assuming this is one of seven brothers who won the West. I like the little miniature portrait of Rose - that's a quality detail. Overall, good job. Score: 3.5 out of 5

Title: Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides: Rose - I pretty much covered my thoughts on this in the intro. I'm just going to add my thoughts on the series concept of Seven Brides: why not go full plagiarism and call it Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Or even go for a higher number! Nine Brides for Nine Brothers would mean two more moneymakers sitting out on the grocery store shelves! Regardless of Ms. Greenwood's oversight in this matter, I'm giving it high marks for branding, trite concept, and the afterthought of an actual title. Score: 4 out of 5

Tag Line: "Seven brothers who won the west - and the women who tamed their hearts."
Again, pretty standard. The dude is manly, obvs, since he's out winning the West. After he's done raising the homestead, he's going to need a strong-willed woman to fight with and eventually love. Points for cramming two cliches next to each other, though. Score: 2.5 out of 5

Back-of-the-Book: Evidently, our Rose's full name is "penniless, friendless Rose Thornton." Desperate for work, Rose responds to a want ad asking for "a woman to cook, clean, and wash for seven men." Now, not only does she have means of support, but she happened to be hired by an "incredibly handsome man" named George.
"But when she first set eyes on her hero's ramshackle ranch (Alliteration!) in the wilds of the Texas brush country and met his utterly impossible brothers, Rose decided even George's earth-shattering kisses weren't compensation enough for the job ahead of her."
I wonder how that job interview went. "And regarding payment: are you willing to accept earth-shattering kisses as compensation?" I guess our girl was okay with this arrangement when she was staring at George's "incredibly handsome" face, but then she met his brothers . . .
"Never in her life had she seen a place more in need of a woman's touch, or men more in need of a civilizing influence. The Randolph brothers were a wild bunch and they weren't about to let any female change their ways . . . not until George laid down the law and then lost his heart to the beguiling spitfire who'd turned all their lives upside down."
Yep. The back of the book just summarized the entire plot for you. You're welcome! The brothers lives are turned upside down by Rose, the "beguiling spitfire," and George and Rose get together. The End. Points for the thesaurus work, though. Score: 3.5 out of 5

Final Score: 13.5 out of 20 - Leigh Greenwood's Seven Brides: Rose gets the Bronze Feather for sheer competence. Entertainingly cheesy cover, decent tag-line, and a "beguiling spitfire" of a protagonist. Good enough to place, Ms. Greenwood.