First Impressions: Penguin By Hand Collection

This is a new series I’ve started, where I judge a book entirely by its cover. I was lucky enough to receive Penguin’s latest collection Penguin By Hand. Six reprinted popular women’s fiction titles.

The Postmistress Penguin by Hand
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake depicts a beautiful fiery orange hair to match the burning letter on the back cover. The entire spread recreates the look of a beautifully detailed embroidery with various running split and stem stitching. Because of the detailed quilting (raised elements of the cover) when running my hand over the book it genuinely mimics that of embroidered stitching. The Postmistress follows Frankie Bard, Iris James and Emma Fitch as they come together through a radio broadcast.

The girls guide to hunting and fishing Penguin by Hand

A beautifully smooth wooden cover with brightly coloured watercolour drawings of a girl by the beach and two birds on the back cover make for the full effect of The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank. This book looks at Jane’s live as she discovers that relationships and sex are not what they seem. From the description I hope this book is similar to The Rosie Project with a female protagonist as I truly enjoyed that book!
The Forty Rules of Love Penguin by Hand

Ella decides to live her life by The Forty Rules of Love and Penguin had decided to depict this through a delicately arranged cross-stitch. If emojis were cross-stitching then the dancing figures may well rival the dancer. The beautiful blossoming tree in the middle really sets the tone of the cover and gives it the kind of hook that would stop me in my tracks in a bookshop. Similarly this book also has intricate quilting that give the tactile feel of real stitching on aida.
The Help Penguin by Hand
The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while. I watched the film and loved it but the book is always better so I look forward to getting stuck into this stunningly quilted rainbow accompanied design. The intricate details such as the heart inside a hand, sharp earthy birds and delicate vines coming down the back cover through the top.
The Jane Austen Book Club Penguin by Hand
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler is by far my favourite of this collection. I adore the book paper art style. 2D decoupage is how I would probably describe it. The multiple layers of vibrant colour makes this a really unique and incredible detailed piece of art. A group of people meet to discuss Jane Austen’s novels and the book progresses with how her six novels affect their personal relationships over the next half a year.
The Memory Keeper's Daughter Penguin by Hand
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter is probably my least favourite. I feel like a lot more creative input was given to the other covers and this one missed the mark a little. It’s very different to the rest of the covers but so much so that it almost doesn’t seem like part of the collection. Apart from this, I do still like the writing on this cover. The font is beautiful and I think this book will be truly heart-wrenching. Reading the description it is about a Dr who delivers his wife’s twins and his daughter is born with Downs Syndrome. He tells his wife their daughter died and gives her to a nurse to care for while they parent their healthy son. This book is probably the first one I’ll be picking up.
Thank you again to Penguin Books for sending me the Penguin by Hand collection I do look forward to reading them all!

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