Sunday, October 21, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 264: Dreamer's Pool, by Juliet Marillier

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!

Dreamer's Pool
(Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1)
Juliet Marillier
Hardcover, 448 pages
Ace, First Edition
November 4 , 2014
Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a case of a cover being just PERFECT for a book, as it illustrates the title so well! The young woman pictured here definitely looks like a dreamer. She doesn't quite seem to know where she is, or what she's doing....

There's a rather unsettling vibe to this cover, which is definitely because of the forest, which looks gloomy and depressing. There are, of course, other melancholy elements, but more on that below. I am immediately reminded of Ophelia, in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Is this young woman mentally unhinged, like Ophelia, and about to float to her death, as her famous fictional predecessor did? 

Although blue is my favorite color, the feeling I get from the overall tone of this cover is not a peaceful one. Instead, it feels oppressive, as if there were some kind of spell on the young woman. The color has a tinge of gray, when one looks at the trees. When one then looks down at the pool, it looks greenish gray. The pool also gives me a sinister feeling.....

There seems to be a breeze, as some of the young woman's hair is blowing in it, having come undone from her braids. Or perhaps she intentionally left some of her hair loose. This is what immediately caught my eye, on this cover -- her hair. I'd love to have my own hair braided like that. It reminds me of the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, in the 19th-century. (One of them, John Everett Millais, painted Ophelia, around 1851-1852.) In fact, this cover is very much influenced by their style.

Another thing I love is that white dress, even though it has obviously been stained by the mud at the edge of the pond. I love the way the folds of the dress have been handled by the artist. The drawing and painting of drapery is one of the things I've always been fascinated by, in Old Master works, as well as in those of the Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites!

The longer I contemplate this beautiful, yet very sad, cover, the more I get the feeling that the girl is actually listening for something, or perhaps, someone. There's an air of expectancy about her. So, initially, she was in her own little dream world, and she seems to be slowly coming out of her reverie....

The font used for the title and author's name is a classic one, but there's a neat little twist on the title -- the capital letter "D" has thorns attached to the top. Oh, the plot thickens....

The brilliant cover artist is Arantza Sestayo, painter and illustrator, who hails from Spain. Her style has obviously also been influenced by the Symbolist and Art Nouveau movements, and is totally dedicated to fantasy. All of her works have a melancholy air about them, and many feature women in fantasy settings. 

Sestayo works in several mediums, among them watercolor and digital. She illustrated the 20th-anniversary edition of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones, and has also done comic art. She has contributed to the American magazines Heavy Metal, Rebel Ink, and SQP, as well as to the Belgian magazine Rooie Oortjes. In Spain, she has published Besos Malditos (Cursed Kisses) with Norma Editorial (Norma Publishing House).

Sestayo is currently presenting her work at Illuxcon 2018, which runs from October 17th to October 21st, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is also participating in several comic con events in the U.S. 

So here's yet another artist to add to my list of favorite cover artists!!  

Online Links

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


  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Steph!

      Yes, I can certainly see why!! It's just SO beautifully done! Glad you love it as much as I do!!

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  2. This is striking cover that I really like. You observation about the woman reminding you of Ophelia is astute. Also it does seem like she is listening for something. I am thinking of something else about this picture and myself though. In a way I can never really "get" something like this. I so love woodlands. I especially love them when it is misty, twilight even dark. I have always felt very safe in those places. Intellectually I can understand why a picture like this is gloomy and sinister. However, it does not feel that way to me. In fact, this is a place that I would like to be in.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Glad you love this one, too!! It really IS a striking cover!

      Thanks for the compliment about the Ophelia comparison! <3 <3 Yes, that's the very first thing that came to mind when I first saw this cover!!

      Oh, I love woodlands, too! And I also love them when there's mist, but not when it's dark, or nearly dark. I want to see plenty of sunlight streaming through the trees, even if it's misty!

      It's interesting that you get a different feeling from this type of scene. It's also interesting that, in the books and movies of The Twilight Saga, there were misty, rainy forests, and yet, they didn't feel gloomy or threatening to me. Lol. And now that I've mentioned these books and movies, I'm feeling nostalgic for them.... Lol.

      You know, I really do envy the fact that you grew up in a rural setting. I LOVE forests and mountains!! I would LOVE to live somewhere in New England, or in the Pacific Northwest!! Heck, I would LOVE to live in Forks, Washington!! (That's the setting for The Twilight Saga, of course! Lol.)

      Thanks for the GREAT comment!! Hope your day is going well!! <3 :)

  3. It's a beautiful cover, Maria - and I've just finished reading this book. It's an intriguing book with an interesting protagonist being an older woman with an ability to support herself within a medieval fantasy. And that Dreamer's Pool is creepy...

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      Oh, DEFINITELY!! And you've just finished reading this book? WOW!! I need to get to it!! I'm looking forward to your review! And I LOVE the fact that the protagonist is a woman who can support herself in such a time period! Sounds GREAT!!

      Yes, that DreamER's Pool does look creepy.... I wish this cover had a more cheerful vibe.... But I still LOVE it!!

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


THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

As of today, 9/23/18, I have permanently enabled comment moderation, due to a sudden rash of SPAM comments. I appreciate your patience!

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)