Discussion has come up on the modern look of some Christian historical fiction covers. Many publishing houses are using photos shoots with live models instead of the lovely evocative paintings I have always associated with historical romance.
I'm coming out of blogger hibernation to weigh in on cover art. In general, what I LOVE about historical covers has always been artwork that evokes the period in which it was written. I am not a fan of live model covers at all. Very few have pulled them off, IMO. Linore Burkard's Before the Season Ends is a rare cover I liked, and it's the playful looks on the H/h's faces that hooked me. I could feel the chemistry between them.
Not sure if this one was done with a model, but Colleen Coble's new book, the Lightkeeper's Daughter is lovely. It looks painted, and that's what I like about it.
When it comes to the old-school painted covers, like Golden's first example, I am taken in by ambient lighting in subdued, muted tones, the luxuriant fabric of period costume, and the look of "old". That's the whole reason I read historical in the first place. I don't want technicolor or high definition or the feeling I'm watching something in bluray. I'll turn the TV on if I want that. Give me soft edges and a dream-like fade and let my imagination fill in the blanks.
I do not like female models for historical who:
1. wear obvious lip gloss, blush, mascara, eyeliner. . . except maybe the kohl that a Hebrew woman might have worn, if it's a Francine Rivers cover.
2. sport a tan if she's supposed to be a southern belle who prized a milky white complexion
3. have that former-braces-wearer, perfectly-straight white-toothed smile, like a commercial for Orbit gum. "Brilliant!"
4. have that modern, angular, gym-member body. Women from different eras seemed softer.
5. are wearing what is trying hard to look period, but seems more like a weird ensemble gathered from a local goodwill prior to the shoot. Wrinkled and all.
Just my opinion. Hope it was worth a chuckle.