Sunday, February 4, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 241: Ecstasy, by Mary Sharratt

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

*Late Edition*
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!

Here's my choice for this week!

Mary Sharratt
Hardcover, 400 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 10, 2018
Art, Biographical Fiction, Classical Music,
Feminism, Historical Fiction


My Thoughts About This Cover

I was lucky enough to come across this GORGEOUS cover at one of my favorite blogs, which is aptly titled Bookfever. (This link will take you directly to the post where Ecstasy is featured.) The blogger, Stephanie, who is located in Belgium, is even more eclectic than I am, for she includes all kinds of books on her beautiful blog! So a heartfelt "thank you" to her for featuring this book, which, aside from a beautiful cover, also deals with one of my favorite topics -- that of a woman who is forced to hide her genius in the interests of following society expectations. The fact that this novel is based on a true story makes it even more compelling!

I will be purchasing this book as soon as it releases, but will be reviewing it on my other blog, MindSpirit Book Journeys

What struck me about this cover right away is that the background is actually an Alphonse Mucha poster. This Czech artist was part of the Art Nouveau movement in the late 19th to early 20th century, and created many beautiful posters and illustrations, most of them for commercial purposes such as advertisements. Thankfully, they are now rightfully considered to be fine art, which is something that totally delights me!

Mucha's sinuous line is famous, and his unmistakable trademark. His brilliant colors are also part of that trademark. This distinctive style has experienced sporadic revivals throughout the years, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when much of hippie art was influenced by it. (Source: Wikipedia; see above.) I have always loved it!

I wonder why the book's title was placed right over the Mucha artwork, and what the intent was in doing so. The effect is rather startling, but somehow, it works. I do wish, however, that the colors on the title had been reversed, with the bars in black, and the letters of Ecstasy in white. Or perhaps some other color scheme could have been chosen, one that would go with the colors in the background. Black on white does seem to be a bit too boring, in my honest opinion. Also, I think the font could have been a bit more ornate.

In spite of these objections, I do love this cover! And, of course, it's mostly because of the Mucha artwork. He's one of my favorite artists!

I have no information on who designed this cover. This book will not be released until April, so no Amazon preview is available, unfortunately.

What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. Mucha's artwork is striking. The colors are so visually appealing. I agree that the title seems to clash with it.

    I really only know a pitiful amount about art. I need to learn more. I am planning to Google more about Mucha. I really do like this art.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      It certainly is! And yes, the colors are very visually appealing! I was wondering at the title design myself, but the author has commented below, and now I see the reason for it. Those bars in which each letter of the word "ecstasy" is enclosed are meant as a reference to piano keys. I had no idea!

      I first came across Mucha's artwork after college. He wasn't discussed at all in my Art History classes. We were taught about such artists as Picasso, Matisse, Kandisnsky, Cezanne, Van Gogh, the American Abstract Expressionists, like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem De Kooning....all the big names in art. After graduation, I started to build up an art library, and bought this wonderful book on Art Nouveau. That was when I first saw Mucha's artwork, and was totally enchanted by it!

      I will be adding the name of the cover designer to this post pretty soon. The author has provided it in her comment below.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  2. Ahhhhh Maria! I got so excited when I saw that you're featuring Ecstasy! I read the e-ARC but I'll definitely be purching a hardcover of it when I can. The cover is so damn gorgeous and definitely one of the more unique ones I've ever seen. The book was so amazing! I just love stories about women in history that not everyone knows about. And oh I cried so much. I can't wait for the blog tour to start so I can finally share my review.

    1. Hi, Stephanie!

      YAAAAAY!! Glad you're excited, too!! Yes, I'll be buying the hardcover, too!!

      I agree that this is a very unique cover! I was puzzled at first by the title design, but the author has explained the reason for it in her comment below.

      As for the story.....OMG!!! Like you, I LOVE real stories about women who have been marginalized in history! The book must be VERY intense, to have made you cry..... WOW.

      I can't wait for the blog tour, either, so I can read your review!!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! HUGS!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. Dear Maria and Stephanie, thank you so much for your kind words! The cover is designed by Martha Kennedy at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The bold black letters on the white rectangles for the title are supposed be a subtle nod toward piano keys! I'm go grateful for this beautiful book design!

    1. Hi, Mary!

      You're very welcome!! It's so sweet of you to stop by and comment!! <3 <3 <3

      I will definitely go back to the post editor and include Martha Kennedy's name in this post. This cover is SO GORGEOUS!!! And I don't know why I didn't figure out that the design of the title was meant to refer to piano keys....OMG.... Well, I will include this in the post, as well. You are SO right to be proud of this cover, as it is indeed stunning!

      Thank you SO much for your lovely comment!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    2. You're welcome, Maria, and thank you again!!

  4. A wonderful cover! Thank you so much for sharing...

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      Yes, it DEFINITELY is!! You're very welcome for the sharing! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  5. This cover is indeed breathtakingly beautiful!!! Love it so much! This week I read almost exclusively feminist books! I want to read this one!


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