Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Covers That are Ballooney Tunes

Oh Harlequin. 

I got up this morning to get my kiddos off on the second day of school and turned on a video series Pledge Three likes called Good Mythical Morning. They were doing a bit called Judge a Book By It's Cover and found this stunning gem that, once seen, cannot be unseen:

The Duck Shack Agreement by Muriel Jensen. I have notes, as they say. First among them is that the appalling cover may in no way reflect on top notch content.  

The back sounds pretty standard: 
One plus one equals three...
It was a match made in heaven. Rachel Bennett and Brian Tate loved each other; he adored her young daughter. The Oregon coastline was an idyllic place to live, and Rachel's balloon delivery service was booming. What more could a person want?

The Duck Shack Agreement! It wasn't ominous--just a simple arrangement between two consenting adults. It was drawn up on the shore of a peaceful lake, with not a second thought in mind. That is until life became a little more complicated than expected...and the rules suddenly became a little harder to play by.

The mystery to me is who the agreement was drawn up with. Brian Tate? But they love each other so where's the conflict? Another man? Then why does Brian get a name and the hero doesn't? Why is a grown woman wearing a sweatshirt that says Ballooney Tunes?! (Just kidding. It was the 80s. Grown women wore that stuff all the time. Dark days... Dark days...)

The Betty question is: Which book cover or title is the greatest let-down? Or which one fails to fully convey the awesomeness of the content?


  1. Two titles that have always slightly bothered me are "An Independent Woman" (the story is fine but I would not particularly say that the title goes along with the theme) and "Pineapple Girl" (which is a fantastic title that had not quite enough to do with the book. I wish TGB had worked in pineapples a wee bit more). More often in The Canon, I would find that wonderful books were given bland titles that weren't memorable at all.

  2. And if 1+1=3 why are there two little kids on the bike on the cover? And if the agreement isn't ominous why is it termed "a simple arrangement between two consenting adults", which sounds pretty ominous in conjunction with the term 'duck shack' and the possibility that one of those adults is the gentleman on the cover, whose mustache cannot be forgiven even under the "the 80s dark days... dark days" exemption, as even in the 80s surely such facial appendages were worn only by gentlemen participating in the sort of film that should only be viewed by very, very consenting adults and arguably not by them either if you know what I am saying. Honestly.

    BTW, Betty Keira, I shan't sleep well until you track down this volume and clue me in as to what a Duck Shack Agreement actually is. Also, please, what is the video clip in this post?

    As to TGB, 'Amazon in an Apron' never thrilled me as a title. But I'm also not a fan of the very literalist titles like 'Nurse Harriet Goes to Holland' or, sadly, 'Nurse in Holland.' I love 'Sister Peters in Amsterdam', though. Hmm. Quixotic.

    -Betty van den Betsy

    1. The video is just a gif. Can you not see it? Imagine a gorgeous platinum blonde is Victorian mourning garb shaking her head mournfully. I, too, need to find this book. A treasure!

    2. I just ordered "The Duck Shack Agreement". Will review when I get it. I don't know if I've ever been so excited.

  3. The real title escapes me, but the heroine was a vicar's daughter walking home carrying sausages. "The Girl with the Sausages" would've been an awesome misleading yet almost excessively literal title.

    This Duck Shack is going to annoy me and the Amazon review was no help.

  4. Philomena Selby, the eldest of the Reverend Ambrose Selby's five daughters——An Ordinary Girl

  5. I just finished "Britannia All At Sea" and while reading it had this very thought! I put off reading it for months after finding it at a thrift store because the title was off putting. In the end though, the story was enjoyable and so in the midst of reading it, I commented to myself, "This book needed a better title." Of course, the title is explained within the plot but still.

  6. Re.: the gif

    Marian Marsh in The Black Room, as Betty Keira has revealed.