The Anatomy of a Book Cover

Our book manuscript was accepted by Cozy Cat Press! We were ecstatic.

But there was more!

The book needed a cover. Publisher Patricia Rockwell chose award-winning cover artist Anita B. Carroll to design the cover of “Letters From Brackham Wood”, our historical mystery written in the form of letters between a woman in England who is attempting to determine if the couple for whom she works are German spies and her American cousin who encourages, supports, and cautions her in return letters.

The correspondence between our publisher and cover designer contained light box images, examples of other WWII era books and the possibility of blending two images. This image, composed by combining a woman’s face and Venice caught my eye.

Venice and woman

Next we began a search for an image of London and a 1940s face.  Margaret found this poster of wartime London painted by Eve Kirk, an artist who had worked for Civil Defense in London during WWII. In the painting barrage balloons float in the air above the Thames River and Tower Bridge.


The search for an appropriate 1940s face proved more difficult. Available pictures fell into two main categories; models beaming happily into the camera lens and exhausted workers leaving the factory after a long day’s work. Finally I found the right image. Violette Szabo was a war hero who lost her life at age 23 while working for Great Britain’s Special Operations Executive.  She parachuted twice into France to assist the French Resistance, surviving only the first of these missions. She was a widow and the mother of a daughter at the time of her death.

Violette_Szabo_IWM_photo copy

Anita B. Carroll created our cover by zooming in on tower Bridge and fading a close up of Violette Szabo into the design. Margaret and I were amazed and pleased by the result.


The book’s back cover reference to Violette has caused some interesting reactions. When we speak to groups someone invariably says: “the back cover mentions a woman on the cover but I don’t see a woman on the cover.” We were once asked if she is in one of the little boats floating on the Thames in the foreground. Of course, once one sees the woman, it is impossible not to see her a second time.

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