We often talk about book cover design, and the impact of a striking or beautiful jacket is not to be underestimated. Elizabeth Gilbert has a new novel coming out in October and as far as her US edition is concerned, she and her publishers are at an impasse as to the cover so they have put the three options on show and asked readers to vote for the one they prefer. You can see the designs and register your preference here (I think voting closes today); meanwhile, here's the UK cover, and this is what the book is about:
"5th January 1800. At the beginning of a new century, Alma Whittaker is
born into a perfect Philadelphia winter. Her father, Henry Whittaker, is
a bold and charismatic botanical explorer whose vast fortune belies his lowly beginnings
as a vagrant in Kew Gardens. Alma’s mother, a strict woman from an
esteemed Dutch family, is conversant in five living languages (and two
dead ones) and her knowledge of botany is equal to any man’s. An
independent girl with a thirst for knowledge, it is not long before Alma
comes into her own within the world of plants and science.
As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she comes to love draws her in the opposite direction – into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose is a Utopian artist. But what unites this couple is a shared passion for knowing – a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all of life.
The Signature of All Things is a big novel, about a big century. It soars across the globe from London, to Peru, to Philadelphia, to Tahiti, to Amsterdam. Peopled with extraordinary characters – missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses and the quite mad – most of all it has an unforgettable heroine in Alma Whittaker, a woman of the Enlightened Age who stands defiantly on the cusp of the modern."