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Judging a book by its cover: the beautiful books of 2022

Discover our pick of the most eye-catching book covers from 2022. 

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you just can’t help it! A stunning book jacket is practically a work of art and you might just find yourself picking up a copy (before you even know anything about the plot) all thanks to its striking and unforgettable cover. Here, we share eleven stunning books published this year that you’ll be dying to display on your bookshelf. 

The House of Fortune

by Jessie Burton

Book cover for The House of Fortune

You could lose track of time looking at this intricate cover for The House of Fortune, the sequel to Jessie Burton’s million-copy bestseller The Miniaturist. These figures seem ready to come to life. . . 

In the golden city of Amsterdam, in 1705, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen. At the city’s theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well. Nella is desperate to save the Brandt family and maintain appearances. But when she feels a strange prickling sensation on the back of her neck, she remembers the miniaturist who entered her life and toyed with her fortunes eighteen years ago. 

Jessie Burton shares what we can expect from the highly anticipated sequel to bestselling phenomenon The Miniaturist.

The Dance Tree

by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book cover for The Dance Tree

The majestic dance tree is front and center on this stunning golden cover and you’ll be itching to discover its magic. 

It's 1518 in Strasbourg, and in the intense summer heat, a solitary woman starts to dance in the main square. She dances for days without rest and is joined by hundreds of other women. The city authorities declare a state of emergency, and bring in musicians to play the devil out of the dancing women. Inspired by true events, this is a compelling story of superstition, transformative change and women pushed to their limits.

Briefly, A Delicious Life

by Nell Stevens

Book cover for Briefly, A Delicious Life

This sensual and evocative cover has us falling head over heels. 

It's 1838, and Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her children are making a journey to a monastery in Mallorca. Witnessing their arrival is Blanca, the 300-year-old ghost of a teenage girl whose life was cut short. She has always sought to protect women from the attentions of men and, when she sees George Sand wearing men's clothes, Blanca is in love. The visitors are surrounded by suspicious villagers and, with Chopin composing prelude after prelude on an untuned piano in the gathering winter, the longed-for retreat seems on the brink of disaster . . . 

Young Mungo

by Douglas Stuart

Book cover for Young Mungo

Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart's second novel, Young Mungo, uses the bold and unapologetic photograph The Cock (Kiss) by Wolfgang Tillmans, creating a cover just as unforgettable as the story within. 

Mungo is a Protestant and James is a Catholic, both inhabiting the hyper-masculine world of two Glasgow housing estates, split violently along sectarian lines. The two should be enemies but, finding sanctuary in the doocot James has created for his racing pigeons, they grow closer and closer. Dreaming of escape and under the constant threat of discovery, Mungo and James attempt to navigate a dangerous and uncertain future together.

Annie John

by Jamaica Kincaid

Book cover for Annie John

This edition of Jamaica Kincaid’s modern classic, Annie John, features a striking painting by the artist, Hughie Lee Smith, that perfectly captures the complexities of growing up.

An adored only child, Annie lives a peaceful and content life, constantly at the side of her beloved and beautiful mother. But when she turns twelve, Annie's life changes in ways that are confusing and unexpected. She begins to question the way she has always seen the world and challenges authority where she perceives wrongdoing. Most difficult of all, her cherished mother ceases to be her unconditional ally and instead takes on the new role of adversary.

Devotion

by Hannah Kent

Book cover for Devotion

The gold foil flowing across this cover is guaranteed to catch your eye and its glorious love story will make sure it stays in your heart.

Prussia, 1836. Fourteen-year-old Hanne is longing for nature and the outdoors, as the world of womanhood begins to close around her. Then she meets Thea and discovers what it is to have a kindred spirit. Her family are Old Lutherans who have to worship in secret, their community under threat. So when they are given safe passage to Australia, it seems prayers have been answered. But the journey will have huge consequences for Hanne and Thea, who form a bond too strong for even nature to shatter.

Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

by Lizzie Pook

Book cover for Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter

Picked as one of Stylist magazine's 'Fiction Books You Can't Miss in 2022', this debut has a stunning cover that drops subtle clues to a breathtaking mystery. 

It's 1886, and the Brightwell family has just arrived at Bannin Bay in Western Australia after a long sea voyage from England. Ten-year-old Eliza has been promised bright pearls, shells like soup plates and good fortunes in a new land. Ten years later, and Eliza's father Charles Brightwell is the most successful pearler on the bay. When he goes missing from his boat at sea, rumours of mutiny and murder swirl across the bay. But Eliza refuses to believe that her father is dead and, in a town mired in corruption, she sets out to find the truth.

Author Lizzie Pook reveals her favourite ocean-going tales about the deep.

Our Wives Under the Sea

by Julia Armfield

Book cover for Our Wives Under the Sea

Haunting and otherworldly, the woman on this cover is veiled in mystery, luring you in to discover her story.

Leah is back from a perilous and troubling deep-sea mission, and Miri is delighted to have her wife home. But Leah has carried the undersea trauma into the couple's domestic life, and it is causing a rupture in their relationship. Our Wives Under The Sea is a rich meditation on love, loss and the mysteries of the ocean.

Nevada

by Imogen Binnie

Book cover for Nevada

Imogen Binnie's groundbreaking and hilarious cult classic Nevada is perfectly captured in this Picador Collection edition cover. Who wouldn't want to join this road trip?

Maria is a trans woman in her thirties, who spends idle days working in a New York bookstore, drinking and having muddling sexual encounters. When her girlfriend cheats on her, Maria steals her girlfriend's car and embarks on her own version of the Great American Road Trip. In Reno, Nevada, she meets James who works in the local Walmart. The unexpected but powerful bond they form will have huge implications for both Maria and James . . .

Sea of Tranquility

by Emily St. John Mandel

Book cover for Sea of Tranquility

Try to trace the threads and identify the patterns on the cover of this beautiful cover. You'll find yourself just as immersed in the cover as you will be with the story.

The exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home, and a detective in the ever-dark Night City. Three storylines entwine across centuries in a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run.

Circus of Wonders

by Elizabeth Macneal

Book cover for Circus of Wonders

Bursting with all the life and energy of the Victorian circus, this novel’s cover features the star attraction posed gracefully in mid-air. Only by diving into the pages will you discover if she flies or falls. . .

1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell picks violets for a living. Set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin, Nell’s world is her beloved brother and devotion to the sea. But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped and finds herself the star of Jasper’s show. 

Elizabeth Macneal introduces us to the real people who inspired Circus of Wonders.