The 52 Book Club’s annual challenge is made up of fifty-two fun and unique prompts. Every year, three of these categories are randomly drawn from suggestions made by our 52 Book Club Facebook group members. And one of the 2021 challenge‘s winning categories was “a cover with a woman who is facing away.”
This cover trend has been fairly popular over the past couple of years — particularly with historical fiction. Taking a quick browse around a library or bookstore will produce countless options for this category. But, if you need some inspiration, here are twenty-one covers to get you started!
21 Suggestions for “A Book Cover with a Woman Facing Away”
1. The Alice Network — Kate Quinn
The Alice Network is a gorgeously written, dual-timeline novel. For fans of historical fiction, this book is a popular read full of heart.
(From the publisher) An enthralling novel from New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn. Two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
2. Born A Crime — Trevor Noah
Many of the books that feature women facing away fall under the historical fiction or women’s fiction genres. Born A Crime is a great alternative option. This New York Times Bestseller is an enlightening and riveting must-read.
(From the publisher:) The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age. Set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
3. The Henna Artist — Alka Joshi
If you’ve joined our Facebook group, you’ve no doubt seen The Henna Artist. This read is a meaningful story about perseverance and self-worth, set in 1950s India. With its lush and lyrical writing, this is bound to be a popular choice for this year’s “woman who is facing away” category.
Also, since we’re picking books by their cover for this category — we can’t forget to mention for gorgeous this one is!
(From the publisher): Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.
4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz — Heather Morris
The Tattoist of Auschwitz is a story of love and desperation, horror and ultimate triumph. This is a book that leaves you gutted by the atrocities committed by fellow humans but is still so important to read and remember.
(From the publisher:) This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. An unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
Already read The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Check out the second in the series from Heather Morris, Cilka’s Journey. (Another book that fits our criteria for a “cover with a woman facing away.”)
5. The Rose Code — Kate Quinn
This dual-timeline, historical novel features a cast of dazzling characters. With strong character arcs and compelling narratives, The Rose Code is an intriguing glimpse into the world of ciphers. For fans of Kate Quinn, this book will be another instant success!
(From the publisher:) The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network returns with another heart-stopping World War II story of three female code-breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.
Want to read more from Kate Quinn? Her novels The Huntress and The Alice Network also have women facing away on their covers!
The Rose Code is available March 3, 2021.
6. Miss Benson’s Beetle — Rachel Joyce
Miss Benson’s Beetle is a really fun read about friendship and adventure. The writing is vivid and gorgeous. And the characters are larger-than-life in the best sort of way. This is a lovely, feel-good but still emotionally moving sort of read.
(From the publisher): From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an uplifting, irresistible novel about two women on a life-changing adventure. They must risk everything, break all the rules, and discover their best selves—together.
7. The Jane Austen Project — Kathleen A. Flynn
Time travel and the world of Jane Austen – need I say more? The Jane Austen Project is a highly entertaining, quick read. Flynn does a remarkable job of setting the scene in Austen’s time, allowing readers to feel transported. Full of wit, sci-fi, and a little bit of romance, this book is a clever page-turner.
(From the publisher:) Perfect for fans of Jane Austen. This engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.
8. Things We Didn’t Say — Amy Lynn Green
This epistolary is a beautiful and easy-to-read collection of letters and newspaper articles. The dialogue is witty and full of heart, and the characters are lovable and wonderfully flawed. Things We Didn’t Say completely changed my opinion on epistolary style novels — for the better!
(About the book:) Headstrong Johanna Berglund is a linguistics student at the University of Minnesota. But her very definite plans for the future are disrupted. Soon, Johanna finds herself back home working as a translator for the German POWs. But her work in the camp lands her on the receiving end of this no longer sure who she can trust.
9. The Singles Game — Lauren Weisberger
The Singles Game is a fun and light story, full of all things tennis and the glittering but ultimately unfulfilling world of fame. An entertaining and fluffy read for those who loved The Devil Wears Prada.
(From the publisher) From the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada and When Life Gives You Lululemons comes a dishy tell-all about a beautiful tennis prodigy who, after changing coaches, suddenly makes headlines on and off the court.
10. When The Moon Is Low — Nadia Hashimi
When The Moon Is Low is a breathtaking and heart-wrenching novel. This dual-timeline explores the refugee crisis through the lens of a mother and son. Compelling and insightful, Hashimi is certainly a very talented author.
(From the publisher:) Mahmoud’s passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she’s ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.
Looking for more books by Nadia Hashimi? Try The Pearl That Broke Its Shell or A House Without Windows. They also feature women facing away!
11. The Night Portrait — Laura Morelli
Following the point of view of four different characters (including Leonardo Da Vinci), The Night Portrait is a compelling work of historical fiction. With its quick and snappy chapters, the story is fast-paced and full of intrigue. This is one book I couldn’t put down!
(From the publisher:) An exciting, dual-timeline historical novel about the creation of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings, Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine, and the woman who fought to save it from Nazi destruction during World War II.
12. Anxious People — Fredrik Backman
Humorous and heartwrenching are just two of the many common descriptions for this book. As a Goodreads Choice Finalist, Anxious People is a popular pick with an incredible number of five-star ratings. A novel to add to the TBR pile, for sure!
(From the publisher): From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove comes a charming, poignant novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.
13. Surviving Savannah — Patti Callahan
A moving dual-timeline that explores the intricacies of loss and what it means to survive well. Surviving Savannah is a thoroughly intriguing read about a little known historical fact.
(From the publisher:) It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board. Through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found. Now, their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel by Patti Callahan.
Looking for more books by this New York Times bestselling author? Try, Becoming Mrs. Lewis. (Also fearturing a woman facing away.)
Surviving Savannah is available March 9, 2021.
14. The Engineer’s Wife — Tracey Enerson Wood
(From the publisher:) She built a monument for all time. Then she was lost in its shadow. Discover the fascinating woman who helped design and construct the Brooklyn Bridge.
Based on the true story of an American icon, The Engineer’s Wife delivers an emotional portrait of a woman transformed by a project of unfathomable scale, which takes her into the bowels of the East River, suffragette riots, the halls of Manhattan’s elite, and the heady, freewheeling temptations of P.T. Barnum. The biography of a husband and wife determined to build something that lasts―even at the risk of losing each other.
15. Three House in Paris — Cara Black
This historical thriller features a highly resourceful heroine — an American sharpshooter tasked with the impossible. Three Hours in Paris is a fast-paced suspense novel. Full of cat-and-mouse situations, this book will keep readers guessing!
(From the publisher:) In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why. The New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc investigations reimagines history in her masterful, pulse-pounding spy thriller, Three Hours in Paris.
16. Long Road to Mercy — David Baldacci
For fans of action and mystery, comes Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci. The main character is a fierce FBI agent who is wrestling with her own haunted past. As Atlee attempts to solve a murder in the Grand Canyon, it soon becomes clear that she’s uncovered a much deeper plot.
(From the publisher:) Introducing a remarkable new character from #1 New York Times bestselling writer David Baldacci! Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare.
17. The Book of Lost Names — Kristin Harmel
(From the publisher:) Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel.
An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network. The Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.
18. Secret Daughter — Shilpi Somaya Gowda
A beautiful novel about adoption and motherhood. Spinning back and forth between Mumbai and California, the writing is lush and the characters are flawed and intricate. Secret Daughter is an engaging read and a lovely debut.
(From the publisher:) Secret Daughter, a first novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, explores powerfully and poignantly the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love through the experiences of two families—one Indian, one American—and the child that binds them together.
19. The Jane Austen Society — Natalie Jenner
In the quaint English village of Chawton, a group of Jane Austen lovers gather together to help preserve the famous novelist’s home. The story follows the post-WWII lives of a laborer, a young widow, a doctor, and a movie star. Each member struggles with loss and trauma but are soon bonded together by Austen’s legacy to create The Jane Austen Society.
A cozy read, filled with Austen quotes and references. With its intimate village relationships and very Austen-esque feel, this novel will have readers yearning to dive back into their own collection of classics.
20. The Ice Princess — Camilla Lackberg
The Ice Princess is the first book in this intense but intriguing crime series. Set in a quaint fishing village along the Swedish coastline, this novel is a beautifully translated mystery. If you enjoy Scandinavian thrillers and Nordic noir novels, this is a great author to add to your TBR list!
(From the publisher:) “A top-notch thriller. One of the best of the genre” from international crime-writing sensation Camilla Läckberg. The Ice Princess tells the story of brutal murders in a small Swedish fishing village, and the shattering, decades-old secrets that precipitated them.
21. Cleopatra: A Life — Stacy Schiff
And finally, for a non-fiction read — Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. This is an engaging and highly-readable narrative. There is so much more to Cleopatra than the myth and portrayal we all know. A well-written exploration of a formidable woman.
(From the publisher:) The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.
(Also, can we just talk about how gorgeous this cover is? Perfect for our final book in our collection of covers with women facing away!)
What books are on your list for this category? Don’t forget to share your reads on Instagram using our #the52bookclub2021 or in our Facebook group!
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