Cover Love. . . with Jan Baynham

Posted on 1st October, 2021

This week I am delighted to welcome Jan Baynham back to my blog to talk about her latest dual-timeline novel, in particular why the cover illustration is so apt.


After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked!


Following a novel-writing course, Jan began to write her first full length novel. She loves being able to explore characters in greater depth and delve into their stories. She writes about family secrets and the bond between mothers and daughters.


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Thank you for inviting me onto your blog as part of your series, ‘Cover Love’, Susanna. The old saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is not one I can agree with when it comes to books. For me, the cover and the blurb will often be what attracts me to a book and will be what persuades me to read it.


Her Nanny’s Secret, published in September by Ruby Fiction, is my third novel and like the other two is a dual timeline. The story opens in 1941 at the beginning of WW2 and my main character, Annie, works as a nanny at Cefn Court, a country manor house in the heart of rural mid-Wales, after a short spell as a female groom in the stables there. Although parts of the novel are also set in German-occupied Normandy and 1960s Wales and France, it’s the image that the cover designer has captured on the front of the book that gets to the essence of the story.




The chosen image of Annie is perfect. In the novel, I describe her as being seventeen with long auburn hair and although we cannot see from the cover, I know her eyes are going to be green. This is how Clara describes her:


Annie had wavy auburn hair and hazel eyes that appeared to change from green to nut-brown depending on the colour she was wearing.’


On another occasion, we read:


She decided on her best dress, smocked and tucked over the bodice in a bottle-green fine cord that suited her so well with her auburn curls. The colour matches your eyes, bach, her da had said.’


Annie has a secret. I like the way the designer has chosen an image where Annie is looking away. What is she thinking?


The child on the cover is Clara and with her blonde hair and fair colouring, the image is just right for Annie’s charge who we first meet as a new-born baby. The fact that she’s reading a book outside in the garden is maybe a hint of the academic, studious young woman she becomes by the later parts of the novel in 1963.


My lovely publisher always involves the author in the choice of cover designs. When I saw this cover with the large gabled house built in the honey-coloured stone in the background, this was my first choice. The building was Cefn Court manor house in my eyes. Surrounded by shrubs and flowers edging a stone flagged path, I could imagine Annie leading Clara down into the front gardens to enjoy the fresh air.


The colours on the cover are very calming and, apart from one blip along the way, I like to think that’s how the relationship between Annie and Clara was. Lady Delia told her daughter that they couldn’t manage without Annie:


I don’t know what I would have done without Nanny M., Clara,’ my mother had said. ‘She was here to take over when that awful telegram arrived… You were just a baby and she made sure you were her priority. No matter how much I withdrew into my shell, she never gave up on me. In the end, she got me back to health.’


I hope readers will be attracted by the cover and the intrigue in the blurb enough to want to read Her Nanny’s Secret. It’s a story I very much enjoyed writing and I do hope readers will like what they find behind this lovely cover.


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How far would you go to save the person you loved the most?


It’s 1941, and Annie Beynon has just become the first stable girl for the most powerful family in her Welsh village. Whilst her gift for working with horses is clear, there are some who are willing to make her life very difficult on the Pryce estate, simply for being a girl.


There are other – secret – ways Annie is defying conventions, too. As the war rages, and when Edmund, the heir to the Pryce fortune, leaves to join the RAF, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s secret is exposed. That is, until she makes a shocking decision.


It’s 1963 before Annie is able to face up to the secret she chose to keep over twenty years before. Justifying that decision takes her to Normandy in France, and an outcome she could never have expected …


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Jan's links:


Her author page on Amazon  


Jan on Twitter


Her Facebook page


Buying links for Her Nanny's Secret






Barnes & Noble 


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Comments (1)

Thank you for inviting me onto your lovely blog, Susanna. It was good to talk about why I think the cover of my novel is so right for the story.