Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Portrait Review

England 1812

Severely injured at the battle of Salamanca, Edward Thurston, the new Earl of Sinclair, returns home to his beloved Fly Hall. Determined not to present his prospective bride with the wreck he believes himself to have become, he decides to end his betrothal, unaware that Lady Jennifer, for vastly differing reasons, has reached the selfsame decision.

Throughout the campaigns, Edward was often seen relying greatly on a miniature he carried, and it is to this token he clings upon his return. Will he eventually find happiness with the girl in the portrait, or will he remain firm in his resolve not to wed? Reason dictates one course, his heart another.

My Take: This is a fairly quiet and pleasant read.  The storytelling style smacks of Jane Austen without the desire to stick an auger in my eye.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice the first couple of times I read it.  It had subtle humor but required a great deal of concentration, as I clearly don't understand the ins and outs of proper society which the Bennetts greatly smack of social faux pas and Mr. Darcy has no redeeming qualities besides being handsome, rich and self-absorbed brooding.  Fortunately, this is not a Pride and Prejudice remake.

Of course, there are miscommunications which the reader are privy to, but this not the bulk of the book. The Earl of Sinclair happens to have a affable personality and sense of humor.  Most of the book is devoted to the interactions between Edward and Jennifer which, thank goodness, do not occur in the stiff confines of a mansion while the ladies are cinched to the point of asphyxia by way of whale bones.

The author creates a plausible conflict which the couple choose to engage together in resolving.  The dialogue is fun and clever.  The possibility for scandal hangs in the air but in a much more palpable manner than Jane Austen time.  The author even takes liberties by including scenes where Jennifer sees Edward without his shirt and Edward meets Jennifer in her nightie.

I'm blushing just thinking about it.

Rest assured, this is a clean read but not so subtle that the reader completely misses the sexual tension.  No heaving breasts or burning desire, but appropriate sexual tension.

The story seems to tell itself as the reader travels with the characters from one setting to another and the relationship between Edward and Jennifer develops naturally and interrupted by entertaining siblings who add to the story rather than distract.

Well written, enjoyable story, and I understood the humor.

* This book was provided to me by Pump Up Your Book in exchange for an honest review.


Hazel said...

Many thanks for your very kind review, Nancy. It is very much appreciated.


Cheryl said...

Thanks for the great review of Hazel's latest. I just finished reading it yesterday and would agree with what you've written. I have never read Pride and Prejudice, but after what you've written Hazel's style seems more to my liking.

This is actually the third book of hers that I've read, but this one is my favorite; most likely because the relationship between the Earl of Sinclair and Jennifer is unique from the beginning.

Thanks again for the great review.

All my best,



CountessLaurie said...

I think I will add this to my list. It sounds like just the kind of read I am looking for. Thanks!!

Kathye Quick said...

Great review. This one seems like a must read to me.

Patricia N said...

Another great and hilarious review! I'll add this one to my list.

Patricia N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks! for sharing, will have to add to my tbr list.