Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cover Judging: The Blue Rose

If you ever want to get lost for a few hours (and you live in Logan), I recommend Books of Yesterday.   When you walk in, you'd think it was a normal, if a bit crowded used book store.  And you wouldn't be wrong, if you kept your wanderings to the first floor.

However, if you were to venture into the vast basement, you would find yourself surrounded: books on closely-spaced shelves, books piled on tables, books stacked underneath tables, books strewn about the floor, books hidden in a tiny old storage room.  It's a labyrinth of used and vintage books - the sheer volume is overwhelming.  You could spend an entire day there and still you wouldn't have sifted through half of the paperbacks in the basement.

Yesterday, I went in, hoping to find some vintage sewing or knitting books (which I will discuss later).  I was going to leave after I'd found a fab 1940s sewing manual, but the pull of the Basement was too strong.  Which is why, a few hours later, I found myself sitting on the floor, sorting through hundreds of Harlequin romance novels - five shelves' worth!  There was a dearth of Cover Judging material, to be sure, but I only bought one:

First Glance: I want her hair.  And her coat.  Also, I think I might need color contacts.  This edition was published in 1957, which seems about right, insofar as I'm in love with the fashion on the cover.  Compared to the other passionate embrace-style covers, The Blue Rose is decidedly cute.  It's also part of a trend I noticed: all the pre-1980s books prominently featured our girl on the cover.  Her fella is seen either in profile, as here, or in a smaller background illustration.  It's interesting, because it's the exact opposite now - often, the heroine isn't even featured on the cover, the better for her to be your stand-in.  I'm not sure where or why the tide turned, but it would be interesting to look into.  Anyway.  Score: 4 out of 5

Title: The Blue Rose could be any number of things: a boat used to run away from a domineering father who is arranging an engagement to that awful Percy Danforth; a restaurant where the lovely and quirky waitress catches the eye of a super-strict business man who just needs a little love to bring him to life; an off-off Broadway theater where our girl stars in a sparsely-attended play while a shy fellow sits in the back, holding a rose and working up the nerve to talk to her every night.  I like it when the title inspires me to make up corny plotlines.  Score: 4 out of 5

Back of the Book: 

Oh.  Another girl named Rose.  I think that brings the total up to four.  I'm trying to decide if this blurb is implying that Stephen has some dark, dangerous secret - it does say that Rose "feared" they may have made a "terrible mistake".  And yet the cover is so darn cute!  Maybe Stephen's dark secret is that he is already married, but he keeps his mad first wife locked in the attic, an unhappy reminder of the time he spent in the Caribbean.  And maybe Rose will run away and have some kind of odd relationship with an emotionless minister who wants her to go with him to India, but she'll return to Stephen and find him blinded as a result of the housefire created by his insane first wife.  And he'll be all deformed, but she'll decide to love him anyway.  And maybe that's why we only see his face in profile - because the other side is burned and craggy!  I think I just figured this all out.
But I feel like this story might exist somewhere else . . . Score: 3 out of 5

Final Score: 11 out of 15, qualifying for the Silver Deveraux, but with special awards in Adorability and Styling.


Coral said...

Hey, I need to come visit you and check out this bookstore! It sounds like I could spend all day there!