Jacket Copy Case Study: Come Sunday by Isla Morley


We chose three titles to be included in the Codex Group jacket copy survey. One was Come Sunday, which will be published in June by Sarah Crichton Books/FSG. Though Come Sunday had the weakest title and cover impact of the three books we tested, the added appeal of its jacket copy made it the book with the strongest purchase interest. Nearly 1 in 3 shoppers, especially Women’s Fiction, Parenting, Christian, and Literary Fiction readers, were interested in buying it after reading its copy. Here’s the copy in full:

Come Sunday grips your heart from the first page and doesn’t let go.”–Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

What a novel this is! A saga that sweeps from the hills of Honolulu to the veldt of South Africa; a book that breaks our hearts while making our spirits soar.

In Isla Morley’s transcendent debut we catch a hint of the spirit of Barbara Kingsolver; we’re pierced with the truth of Jodi Picoult. We are reminded of how it felt, long ago, to dive into the drama of The Thorn Birds. And we celebrate a splendid new talent.

The luminous tale that unfolds in Come Sunday centers on Abbe Deighton, the independent-spirited wife of a minister in Hawaii. Abbe isn’t a native Hawaiian. She grew up in a broken home in turbulent apartheid South Africa, seeing things she shouldn’t have seen . . . and still doesn’t entirely understand. But she is trying to put them behind her, working to enjoy her life in her leaky house on a Honolulu hillside, with a precocious three-year-old daughter, Cleo, and a loving husband, Greg. Sure, it’s a little tedious at times, but God knows, there are worse things than tedium. God knows.

Abbe’s routine world explodes when the unimaginable happens: her daughter is struck and killed by a car. Cleo’s death launches Abbe into a new country, where she is forced to examine her relations with the people she professes to love, her tenuous faith, and the events surrounding the calamitous last summer in the homeland of her youth. Searching for a reason to go on, Abbe returns to the South Africa of her childhood, a world where curses were cast, secrets were kept, and a murder was concealed. It is there that Abbe will have to make the harshest of choices, ones that blur the lines of blame and forgiveness, fate and faith.

With its enthralling storytelling and spellbinding intensity, Come Sunday is everything a reader looks for in a novel—and then some.

Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and a fourth-generation South African mother. She was one of the youngest magazine editors in South Africa, but left country, career, and kin when she married an American and moved to California. For more than a decade she worked in nonprofits, focusing on the needs of women and children. Now living in the Los Angeles area, Morley shares a home with her husband, daughter, two cats, a dog, and a tortoise.

Praise for Come Sunday

Come Sunday grips your heart from the first page and doesn’t let go. Isla Morley takes us on an unforgettable journey from the hills of Hawaii to the plains of South Africa, daring us to join her as she crosses racial and cultural divides. A heart-wrenching tale of unthinkable loss and hard-won healing, this is a novel to savor, like the lingering notes of a fine wine.”—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

Come Sunday is a rare and luminous novel. I felt the emotions under my skin, had to put the book down to settle myself, then kept reading through the night. Isla Morley explores the interior and exterior worlds with sharp and tender insight.”—Luanne Rice, author of The Geometry of Sisters

Here’s what Sarah Crichton told us about writing the jacket copy for this title.

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