“Book Covers Matter - Book Covers Matter”
The above is the age-old Mantra of publishers, book designers, and authors alike.
Then there’s the Secondary Mantra for Historical Novels!
“Historical Accuracy is a Must- Historical Accuracy is a Must”
And one would suppose that in the sphere of Historical Romance the Accuracy Mantra would be essential to depict accurately a Genre, Period in History, and Theme.
Not so, Not so... Anything goes!
Sadly, Historical Romance novels have transitioned across the years from the early days of elegant covers with inanimate objects or sensual painted pose.
to the Bodice-Ripper era
to the Headless or semi-headless Heroine era
to the now Fantasy era of women bare-backed/half stripped, and those models in modern shirts.
Effectively covers have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous with supposed Historical Heroines depicted wearing modern Prom dresses or Fancy Dress Disneyesque frocks instead of Period Perfect Gowns. If that wasn’t enough to have officiandos of Historical accuracy cringing as they peruse book lists at Amazon, the mens' shirts can cause outrage amidst re-enactor communities and the Period Specific nerds, the latter of which I am one of many!
A shirtless hero is by far preferable to one wearing incorrect attire for the period depicted within the pages of the novel.
And it should be remembered button-through shirts didn’t exist prior to the 18th and throughout the Georgian period as a whole - inclusive the Regency period. But true enough, during the late Victorian era button-through shirts gradually came to fruition. So do not have your hero or heroine unbuttoning his shirt, unless you are writing a late-Victorian/Edwardian era novel. And remember smock shirts were still customary wear for the average Joe, as were nightshirts. It may also surprise readers and authors to learn ready-made attachments, such as frilled cuffs and a jabot - the former affixed with looped-through ties and the latter with back-buttons.
Button-Through Victorian Dress shirt!
Don't you just love that moustache... Tickle me, do...