This is my second Isabel Wolff read, the first was A VINTAGE AFFAIR, https://poofbooks.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/its-a-vintage-wonderful-read/. After reading A VINTAGE AFFAIR I stalked Wolff’s publicist at Bantam to secure a review copy of THE VERY PICTURE OF YOU. Both of these books start with something in common and that is the beautiful jacket cover paintings by Lisa Hartmann. I would love to have one for my home.
Isabel Wolff style reminds me of an indie movie and I do love indie movies. They are not full of special effects nor would you refer to them as epic. But instead Wolff takes ordinary individuals and gives us access into their lives so that you can step into their shoes and share their stories
THE VERY PICTURE OF YOU main characters are the Graham sisters, Gabriella (Ella) and Chloe. Ella is a painter that makes her living by painting portraits. Her subjects that are sitting for portraits play supporting roles in the story.
Ella shares how she can see more than just their faces when she is painting a portrait. Ella usually insists on a minimum of six sittings, two hours at a time, so that she can capture the “real” subject in their portraits. Her living subjects consist of: an unhappy wife, a mother that has a secret, a local official that has a terrible secret and her future brother-in-law. Ella becomes a confidante that her subjects seem to share intimate secrets or longings with.
Ella’s sister Chloe is just out of a relationship that ended badly. She is trying to get on her feet when she meets Nick and before you know it they are engaged. Ella and Nick’s first meeting was full of misunderstanding which started them off on the wrong foot.
Chloe bids on a portrait sitting with Ella at a fundraiser and insists that Nick sit for a portrait to be a wedding give for Chloe. The two spend quite a bit of time together during these sittings and the tables become turned on Ella.
One of my favorite details in the book was a reference to the store in A VINTAGE AFFAIR in this book. If you have read A VINTAGE AFFAIR see if you can pick it out when you read it. I was excited but had no one to share it with until Wolff stopped by to comment on the blog. Yep I was over the moon.
While there are a number of story lines unfolding in this novel, they were more depressing then I had been expecting. So I would say this is not a light read but it does feel like real life. And just like in life not all of the stories or characters were model members of society but she does manage to tie together all of the loose ends with a bow when the book finishes.
Utilized in slight a different way but so true for me, “Isabel if you write it, I will come”. I am a fan and look forward to the next novel and to circling back around to read those I have missed like: RESCUING ROSIE and BEHAVING BADLY to name a few. If this is the first time you are hearing about Isabel Wolff, do visit her website for all you need to know: http://www.isabelwolff.com/index.html.
PS Just dawned on my that I have the world at my fingertips and found Lisa Hartmann, visit: http://www.lisahartmann.com/index.html to view her work.