Thursday, August 1, 2013
Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes
The only unmarried Windham sibling, Lady Jenny would not mind so very much taking care of her parents, if only she could study art in Paris for a few years first. Jenny longs for both an artistic challenge, and for a small taste of the passion life holds for those with the courage to seize it.
Lord Elijah Harrington arrives to the Windham household to spend the Yule season painting portraits commissioned by Their Graces, and Jenny thinks she’s met not only a kindred spirit, but a man she might love. Alas, for Jenny—and Elijah—honor has obligated him elsewhere, and while ‘tis the season to be merry, for Jenny and Elijah it will take a miracle to bring them their happily ever after.
I had no idea this was the latest in a long series of connected romances until about 1/3 of the way through when it became clear that all those siblings must also have had a love story. The book stands alone without any problems, though perhaps a reader already familiar with the characters might be less confused (there are a lot of siblings!)
The book started off a little slow and stiff for me, but quickly redeemed itself with a lovely story about love, family, and art. I thought the tension between family duty and genius was well-balanced and it was interesting that both characters came from such large families with such different experiences of art. Both Jenny and Elijah were delightful characters and I certainly found myself cheering on their interfering families' efforts to bring them together.
The one caution I would offer is that this book heavily hits the themes of babies and motherhood again and again. It is an unusual focus on family especially for a romance novel, and I believe it is is pervasive enough to make this an uncomfortable read for anyone battling with the desire but inability to have a baby.