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Blooms That Go Boom!

Floral explosions on book covers suggest that shattered beauty is the theme of the day

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From close-ups of rain boots to girls in red coats, book-jacket trends crop up all the time. We’ve already noticed three hot books this year with a striking motif: a single flower that seems to be exploding, throwing off petals like shrapnel.

The first one we saw appeared on last year’s breakout hit The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, and more bursting blossoms follow on two novels out this month: Perfect by Rachel Joyce and Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse.

Aside from the violent visual, the most obvious similarity among the titles is that they’re all written by women, which often is reason enough for a novel to be labeled “women’s fiction,” a category dominated by images of wedding rings, blond hair, and yes, flowers. But like 2012’s megahit Gone Girl — the cover of which features blond hair that’s anything but pretty — all of these novels serve up a killer fake-out: They begin with scenes of domestic or romantic bliss before ugly twists throw characters’ lives into varying degrees of distress.

Lisa Amoroso, who designed The Husband’s Secret, tried to capture the genre twist with a quietly chaotic image. “The book should be beautiful, something you’re drawn to, but we’re upsetting the applecart,” she says. “Here these women had perfect lives, and then the beauty fell apart.”