Villains are so often more interesting than the good main characters. I love that character is complex enough to love a character otherwise poor and ugly and therefor unwanted in the society, yet is evil. I may need to add this to my queue.

Your question about book cover paintings made me think of the book I Am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto. It’s a fictional telling about the painting Madame X by John Singer Sargent and the unnamed Madame of the painting.