This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
Ella Graham paints portraits, is single and dislikes her sister, Chloe's fiancé, Nate, with a passion. She can't forget how she overheard him talking disparagingly about her sister to another woman and not wishing to upset her sister, she keeps quiet and resolves to see him as little as possible.
Her mother holds a charity auction and Chloe bids for Ella's lot for a commission to paint someone's portrait. She tells Ella that she wants Nate to sit for her, and for her to paint his portrait, so she can give it to him on their wedding day as a present. Ella, loves her sister, so has no choice but to push aside her dislike of the man and do her best.
Most of the time Ella loves her job. She meets many interesting people, from Mrs Carr (love that name!) a lady in her eighties with a heartbreaking secret she's kept to herself for years; Celine, a spoilt French woman with a seemingly perfect life, who resents having her portrait painted now she's about to turn forty, and Mike a once happy politician who has something so terrible on his mind that he seems to age every time he arrives for a sitting.
Ella has her own heartbreak to contend with. Her absent father, John, left her and her mother when she was small and now he wants to meet up with Ella. Her mother refuses to divulge any information about him and has even thrown away all his photos. The only reminder Ella has of him are pictures she drew from memory when she was smaller. Did he really simply turn his back on them, or was there more about his departure than her mother has admitted?
Ellla battles with her mother's selfishness and with her own past. She doesn't want to upset her step-father, Roy, by agreeing to meet her father, but ends up confiding in him about her dilemma. During the sittings, Nate and Ella begin to talk. She soon realizes he's not as bad as she initially assumed and despite her best efforts begins to fall in love with him. Ella has choices to make and none of them are going to be easy.
I'm always thrilled to read an Isabel Wolff book and this one was just as good as I'd hoped. Ella and Chloe's relationship is lovely and you can see why Nate is so appealling. The secondary characters are beautifully layered and Isabel Wolff's books are always difficult, if not impossible, to put down. This one was no exception. The conflicting emotions experienced by Ella are beautifully written and I couldn't imagine how the story could end happily. You'll have to read it yourself to find out what does happen, but I can assure you it's very satisfying.
The Very Picture Of You is published by Harper and is available now.