Gabriella “Ella” Graham is a portrait artist in her mid-30s, living in present-day London, whose dedication to her artwork precludes her developing personal relationships, in this latest from Brit author Wolff (A Vintage Affair). Ella refuses to paint from photographs and instead requires her subjects to spend long hours sitting for portraits, so intent is she on revealing their true natures. She’s also keenly aware that “I’m drawn to people who are a little bit dark—who haven’t had happy-ever-after sorts of lives. I like painting people who I sense are... complex.” As Ella learns more about the people she paints, she allows herself to reflect on secrets that have haunted her family since she was a child. She remembers sketching her father’s face when she was a little girl in order to preserve his features, but despite repeated inquiries, Ella’s mother refuses to provide her daughter with much detail about the past. The powerful combination of Ella’s professional success along with her sister Chloe’s upcoming wedding causes Ella to turn her focus inward and face startling revelations about herself. Wolff’s heroine is an excellent conduit to understanding how art can reflect the true essence of those being depicted, while the story delivers all the charm and romance readers have come to expect. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2011 Release date: 10/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
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