Book design ~ 19th century Romantic delights


Judging a book by its cover is a highly subjective act, something that we all do subconsciously. Unless I’m looking for a specific title in a bookshop, I browse the books by their cover design before anything else like title or blurb.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan.*

I was drawn to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by the steampunk beauty of the hardcover edition as a physical object, its cut away upper board that reveals the watch on the endpaper that is part of an illustration that teases the reader before the story begins. Published by Bloomsbury Circus 2015, the hardcover edition embellished with an art deco green, and gold woven design is an artefact in itself.

See reviews on Goodreads

The Swan Gondola by Timothy Schaffert

A lush and thrilling romantic fable about two lovers set against the scandalous burlesques, midnight séances, and aerial ballets of the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair. *

The Oneworld hardcover edition of The Swan Gondola 2014, is a substantial novel of grey cloth with metallic egg shell blue writing on spine. It has a enchantingly designed dust jacket of matt egg shell blue with typographic techniques that catch the eye using mortised ornaments to push the title to the forefront.

Book design by Amanda Dewey.

See reviews on Goodreads


*Brief synopsis from


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