Rebel Wench – Blog #002 of the 160 “Pretty faces” book cover Challenge

I have challenged myself to create 160 book cover designs for The Gardner Francis Fox Library. The cover designs include a 6×6 scratchboard illustration. The theme for all 160 book covers will be a “Pretty Face”. This is book #006 on the list of 160 books that Gardner Francis Fox wrote from 1953 to 1986. This is the fourth book cover I scratched.

Rebel Wench gardner francis fox library historical fiction scratchboard cover kurt brugel

Mr. Fox wrote Rebel Wench in 1955. I transcribed this book in August 2017. It was the 13th book I had transcribed for The Library.

The story takes place during the American Revolutionary War.

“She fought for liberty like a woman—with her beauty, her brains—her body.”

Rebel Wench gardner francis fox library historical fiction original cover  artist Walter Baumhofer

Originally published in 1955 by Gold Medal Books

The cover Artist: Walter Baumhofer

He definitely went for the Marilyn Monroe cheesecake pin-up look and feel.

The story is historical fiction/romance. This is what’s written on the original back cover to sell Rebel Wench in 1955:

Once she posed as a camp trollop to pry a colonel’s secrets loose between kisses. At splendid balls she coquetted with redcoats—traitors unaware for the promise in her eyes.

As a ragged boy, she fled through swamps, desperately eluding the King’s death regiment—minutes ahead of her executioners.

She was Mistress Debby Treat, the reckless, golden-haired Virginia beauty who gambled all of herself in the cause of liberty.

Except for her heart.

She gave that to a rebel soldier—who himself belonged to a Tory belle. . . .

What is a wench?

Dictionary definition says – Wench used to mean young girl, so if you find someone describing a lovely wench in Shakespeare, it means a lovely girl. Wench comes from Middle English and was a common word for girl, child, or servant. Over time it came to mean mainly serving girls, as in a bar wench, who serves drinks at a tavern. Also serving men the sexual appetite.

The Rebel Wench, Debra Treat, is a supporting character to the main male character, Billy Joe Stafford.

This book in the 50s would be classified as “sleaze”. I will admit that I went into reading this book thinking the main character was going to be a woman. I will also admit that I was disapointed by the end of the first chapter, BUT as I kept reading I found myself slipping into a fall. By the third chapter I was in love. When we think of sleaze now a days, we think pornography. Sleaze in the 50s was more like fooling around with two or three ladies on the slide. Stafford’s wife, Laura Lee, was a bitch! The way Stafford resolves his marital issues is pretty startling. It’s not like he’s flim-flaming himself from the rebel wench to his cold wife and back to the Mistress Treat. He’s trying to sort out his heart between king and country. The Americas were on the verge of freedom, and Stafford is at the front of the fight. Of course we win against the English and he gets to marry a new girl; A Rebel Wench.

Here’s what one Amazon review had to say: “The Rebel Wench presents dialogue that is readable and seems natural and plausible for the period. That’s an accomplishment, and together with the clever story, it makes for an enjoyable read.” – Keith Otis Edwards

Here’s a link to a great and in-depth blog called vintagesleazepaperbacks.com It is very insightful to the era of which these books were being produced.

I create the cover illustrations to size. I work on 6 x 6 black Ampersand Scratchboard. The book covers are 6 x 9, which leaves 3 inches for text. I want a clean, “Penguin Books” look and feel to the covers. The back cover has an image of the original cover, the date it was originally printed, and the original story description.

I used references from Ida Mary Walker’s DeviantArt stock photo account.

I wanted to catch a young woman in a tri-corner hat, looking mischievous.
Ida had many references that inspired me. The background is a hint to the stripes in our US flag.

Here’s a short video I put together of me working on the scratchboard process.

I have had many positive comments about the “new” covers. I feel pretty positive I will be able to do all 160 book covers.

Stay tuned and find out. Join my Newsletter to get notifications of when I’ve posted a new blog entry.

The original framed scratchboard art is for sale.

I will not be working on books in the order as Mr. Fox wrote them. I am doing the book cover designs based on when the transcribers who are assisting me, finish one. As they complete a book, it will be the newest release, so it will get a new book cover design. I also have to go back and replace the photo-bashed covers I made when I first started the Gardner Francis Fox Library in 2017.

Here’s the photo-bashed cover I created for Rebel Wench in 2017.

It’s not bad. It’s just not wonderful.

old rebel wench gardner francis fox

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about what I’m doing. If you are interested in reading Rebel Wench, please click over to The Gardner Francis Fox Library to read Chapter One.

Sincerely,

Kurt Brugel

Custodian & Illustrator

Feel free to ask a question or make a comment below.

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