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4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Missing Something...,
The primary characters in this book are Genevieve Windham (Jenny) and the up-to-now "sleepy" Elijah Harrison - mysterious artist who was always sleeping in some corner of the ton's ballroom(s) in previous "Windham" books. Actually, I am of the opinion that Elijah had the potential to be my favorite of all the men in the Windham novels as far as personality and pure sweetness - well, perhaps Valentine could have given him a run for his money. But... Ms. Burrowes does some things in this novel that I never quite understood - she seemed to make the storyline more or less one that focused on what I would call "intangible" feelings and emotions in Jenny and to a point, a somewhat incomplete story relative to parts of Elijah's and Jenny's respective "pasts."
For example, there is a certain person brought up from Jenny's past that had a great bearing on her "now" but little detail is given over to the experience. Also, there are some vague comments about Elijah's past in all the places he lived and his years in London but very little detail about the people and events in his life. Rather, the story focuses strictly on the how and why he has chosen to live apart from his family, and has been in fact, somewhat alienated from his Father for the past ten years. This alienation has affected his relationship with his mother and his siblings - all for reasons that have everything to do with massive amounts of pride on Elijah's and his father's part.
I agree with other reviewers that the reason(s) given for Jenny to insist she wouldn't marry Elijah, but rather be determined to go to Paris and live out the life of an artist were somewhat pointless. She did love him and he absolutely loved her. One had the feeling, in fact, that Jenny has been on Elijah's mind and in his heart for years - but then again, we were never given anything substantial to confirm this fact. We were left wondering about it when we read some rather vague remarks that he followed her once after she left the studio where she was taking art lessons, etc. Elijah certainly seemed as thought he had strong thoughts and feelings for Jenny even before he stopped for the night at Lord Kesmore's home to take refuge from the snow, which is where the book begins. If so, we don't know the details of what might have been in his heart - it's more just some fleeting thoughts in Elijah's mind.
All in all, the plot was vague, the rationale of the H/h as they struggled with their feelings about one another and their families was what one would term silly at the least. Also, this book made all the Windhams seem as though they were uncaring people who gave not a rip for Jenny's talents as an artist and never once took her gift seriously throughout all the years. A very strange way to end this series. Although, I do believe the series could continue in some manner if Ms. Burrowes decides to begin writing about all the grandchildren. So, perhaps we will have more during the coming years. If so, I hope she gives us fully fleshed out stories about the characters in the books as she did with Gayle Windham, for example. Although he was not my favorite character in this series, certainly one reading his book felt as though they knew Gayle through and through.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious!,
This review is from: Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait (Mass Market Paperback)
Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait is no exception. It's a truly lovely story of the youngest daughter of a large and loving family who is trying desperately to find her own place within that large number of siblings, in-laws and children, and who, despite knowing she's loved and valued, is nonetheless feeling suffocated by all of it and them.
Jenny - or Lady Genevieve - is a hugely talented artist at a time when it wasn't the done thing for a female to excel at anything artistic. Young ladies of good birth were taught art and music of course, but were expected to keep their inclinations to the odd reasonably accurate performance of a Mozart sonata or to a decent watercolour daub. But Jenny is truly gifted, and while her family loves her, even they are apt to dismiss her talent as little more than "dabbling in art".
Mr Elijah Harrison (who made a brief appearance in the previous book, Lady Eve's Indiscretion), is a young artist of prodigious talent who has made a name for himself as a fine portraitist and whose name is mentioned in artistic circles as a likely addition to the members of the Royal Academy of Art. He is also an earl, heir to a marquisate, a fact which he generally keeps quiet as much for the benefit of his clients as for his desire to succeed by virtue of his talent rather than his rank.
Elijah and Jenny are made for each other - but Jenny is determined to pursue her studies in Paris, where it is not frowned upon for a woman to paint and to make a career of her art. This is where the plot of the book falls down somewhat, as this is the entire basis of the conflict between the two protagonists. Not that it's much of a conflict, because Elijah, even though every single nerve in him screams that going to Paris is not the right thing for Jenny; even as he knows that what she really needs isn't something she will be able to find by removing herself from her family - he realises that she needs to make her own path and though it kills him to do so, he does not want to be the one to stand in her way. He knows she'll face enough opposition from her parents and siblings and determines to be the one person she can turn to and trust in the face of the familial onslaught.
But in the hands of Ms Burrowes, even such a "non-conflict" makes for compelling reading. The romance between Elijah and Jenny is simply beautiful - sensual and imbued with a deep and palpable sense of longing on every page.
The characterisation of the two principals is fabulous, the romance is delicious and sexy (as is Elijah!) and I enjoyed Ms Burrowes' insight into the artistic temperament as she discussed colour, light, shadow; and encouraged the reader see things through the eyes of her artist protagonists.
This is the final book in the Windham series, so thank you, Ms Burrowes, for allowing me to spend time with this wonderful family over the past few years; and may you never run out of ideas!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read by Grace Burrows,
This is my first ever review although I have been tempted before so please make allowances for this effort.
I loved this book and consider it one of Grace's best yet. I finished reading it at 3 this morning and I had to be up at 6!
She hit all the right notes, making me laugh out loud (Jock the 'smelly' hound, the children playing and the cursing lessons),cry (the deaths of Bartholomew and Vincent and the guilt felt by the survivors in the family) and it was great to have updates on all the Windham siblings. There was enough detail as each member of the family was brought into the story for me to easily remember their own stories in the series all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Another wonderful effort Grace, keep up the good work.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait,
I have read all the books in this series and they are well worth a read if you like historical romances and the stories of a family. Grace Burrowes is a marvellous author bringing the books to life.
4.0 out of 5 stars REVIEW - Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait,
4 out of 5 for this reader folks!
Well Grace Burrowes does it again. Another beautiful historical romance (regency) and all set during the holiday season. Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait is another book of her popular Windham Series that centers around a family and their personal journeys to find their one true love. Again I found myself breaking my own rule of not reading a series in order, and this time I really felt it. There were so many characters. You can really feel the bonds among this family, and I sensed that those readers who have read this series in order, really got the feeling of a satisfying continuation of other love stories. I will most definitely will be starting at book one and likely will reread this book at a later date so I too can enjoy an aspect of this book that I feel I missed out on.
So Lady Jenny is the last sibling of this Windham family who is left unmatched. She can be shy and quiet, but seems to be coming into her own without apology and is driven to pursue a future as an artist (as opposed to a married baby making machine). When Elijah arrives at the family home by chance, and later hired to commission a painting of certain family members, the attraction between Jenny and Elijah is instant and a kinship of sorts begins. Both aspiring artists, they use this common ground to spend time together with Elijah often sharing trade secrets. When the romance becomes full bloom, all of a sudden they both feel they have to give up one love to enjoy the other. Elijah has given up a life of privilege to pursue his art and Jenny has stood up to her family and told them exactly what she wants to do with her life. It took guts to go that far, and they both do not want to throw that away for an affair. Well the affair turns to unexpected love and these two have to figure out what they need to do to get on the same page.
This is an honest to goodness love story set during a beautiful, festive, family oriented season. I happen to love all things art and I reveled in Grace Burrowes ability to paint her beautiful story in my mind using only words. Her descriptions of art pieces were stunning, the love explosive and the family as tight knit as they come. My only complaint is the repetitive conflict between Jenny and Elijah with regards to "I can only become an artist if I go to Paris". I was so sick of hearing that by the end of the book. Honestly this book could of been a little shorter as I found it a little "laggy" (wait is that a word ...lol) and again repetitive. However, this is Grace Burrowes I am writing about, and it's hard for me to really pick apart much of what she writes.
If you want to curl up with a good book this holiday season and have had the pleasure of reading this series, then grab that mug of cocoa, get under that warm blanket, let the Christmas lights set the mood and enjoy!
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good Windham read,
I did not give it five stars because it was a bit to much like the other daughters stories in its retrospective approach. I liked the hero though he was refreshing.
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Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes (Mass Market Paperback - 24 Sep 2013)