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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

on 11 December 2015
I recommend to fans of romance and romantic suspense. There are also some lovely descriptions of the small towns surrounding Lake Garda and Verona.
Young has a very smooth and engaging style of writing and the main characters were all well drawn. A central theme is the fear and vulnerability of love and it is obvious to the reader, if not the characters, that zack and Skye are perfect for one another. Skye turns away from love and visits Italy with her friend Leona.
In the background is a bitter feud between Leona's family and the family who own the Italian hotel where they are staying. A feud that puts both Leona and Skye at risk. I would have liked more direct access to Faustino, the hotel owner and the plans he was making as that would have made the suspense of this element of the story stronger.
An enjoyable story likely to appeal to romance fans both young and old.
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on 17 May 2016
In "A Portrait of My Love" the first novel in a series set against a beautifully drawn Italian landscape, Jennifer Young breaks with tradition by acknowledging that a woman can experience a debilitating problem with commitment just as much as a man. Skye, her female protagonist, has been hurt and she's just plain scared, and so to escape this impossible dilemma, she takes off on holiday with her bossy friend, Leona. It looks as though any future romance with the gorgeous Zack is dead in the water.

But, thrillingly, Zack is still smitten and he follows Skye in the hope of getting her back. The downside is that this gives Leona, who is rather short on empathy, an excuse for seduction. Why not? she schemes, as she appraises Skye's fabulous "cast-off". However, to complicate matters, Leona is also involved in a historical family feud at their hotel holiday venue, which escalates to frightening proportions, and the characters are embroiled in a roller coaster of heightened emotions and a genuine threat of imminent danger. Skye and Zack's relationship is to be sorely tested.

This is an exciting novel with lively dialogue and plenty of action. It is a satisfying and self-contained romance, although naturally it must leave to the imagination a little of the mystery of the Italian family feud that motivates the novel's denouement.This mystery will be fully developed and revealed in future editions in the series.

I can't wait to find out. Great stuff, Jennifer Young!
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on 17 August 2018
Bought this primarily because we are of to lake Garda soon and I think it's always fun to read novels set in the area I'm going to. A good story for a fairly standard love story kinda thing
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on 30 January 2016
A Portrait of My Love is a beautifully crafted, well plotted novel. Young skilfully weaves a story of love, friendship and old inter-family hurt, under a hot, vividly painted Italian sky.
Her characters are well drawn: Skye, the young woman unsure of her relationship with artist Zack; Leona, her seemingly shallow but generous, confident wealthy friend. And Zack, who gets his chance to prove his love for Skye, when Leona's family's past poses a danger for both women.
Young's strengths are her power of description, which she manages to do without boring the reader, or, for the most part, slipping into cliché. And this is a difficult thing to do.
While the novel begins slowly enough, it picks up speed quite quickly and it is well worth staying with it. There is also a plot twist which I didn't see, and which adds a bit of tension and excitement. But mainly Young explores issues and relationships with which young twenty-somethings will identify, making this, in my opinion, a perfect Young Adult novel.
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on 20 April 2016
There is something about this that I have to admit had me puzzled but being the first in a series I am living with the optimism that the author has the whole thing planned and the questions that I am still scratching my head about will come to fruition in the rest of the series.
Based in Italy, around Lake Garda the author couldn’t have picked more beautiful setting and she didn’t skimp on her descriptive tones, she brought the Italian beauty of some of the world’s most stunning scenery to life at my fingertips.
Zack and Skye are completely perfect for each other but like you would expect in a romantic novel, it isn’t that easy. There is an unsettling undercurrent that seems to threaten any chance they have.
I got that her relationship with Zack was a gamble, he had been married before and wasn’t exactly known for being the shy retiring type but he had found his forever with Skye, that he knew and the fact that she wasn’t willing to accept that love was a real shame.
Walking away from Zack and heading off to Italy on a vacation with her best friend Leona, has Skye seriously in my bad books, really woman what are you thinking. I get that she hasn’t had much guidance on what it is actually like to love someone but surely she must be able to hear what her own heart is saying or is it that she just doesn’t like what it has to say?
Italy holds a lot of secrets, the least of which is the fact that Zack turns up in the same place and the biggest of which is the feud that is raging between Leona’s family and the Family that owns the hotel where they happen to be staying.
Now, nothing good comes from that sort of malice, and Skye and Leona are slap bang in the middle of it. Will the subterfuge that surrounds the whole situation mean that the two of them have bitten off more than they could possibly chew in beautiful Italy?
Does absence make the heart grow fonder well who knows because with Zack being nearby mean I couldn’t help but think that Skye would regret her decision to walk away and change her mind?
I wanted her to actually feel for him what he felt for her but I just didn’t know that with everything that was going on she had it in her.
And what the heck will happen between her and Leona because family drama has put Skye is what can only be described as a dangerous situation, how much of that did Leona know before they arrived.
I think this has a fairly broad appeal but I have to say that I think that this can easily be described as a proper romance.
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on 8 February 2016
“A Portrait of My Love” is one of those love stories that will make your heart melt after you close the book. It has everything, main characters you want to invest in, a most beautiful setting and of course the element of danger that makes you keep turning pages.
The story starts with a break-up. Skye decides to end it with her boyfriend Zack, fearing that he would break her heart because of his ‘reputation’ and a previous unsuccessful marriage. It was really saddening to read, especially knowing how much Zack cares for her and feels like she’s his one and only. Trying to overcome the heartbreak, Skye agrees to go to Italy with her extremely wealthy friend Leona, and never expects to meet Zach in the same exact city where the two girls stayed. Since that moment I kept holding my breath, hoping for Zack to win Skye back, despite all the obstacles that seemed to appear on their way. I’m not going to ruin the ending, but let me just say that it was perfect.
What I also appreciated was not only the love story, which was of course the center of the novel, but another message the author so nicely delivered on Zack’s example: follow your dream, no matter if it’s your girl or your vocation, take risks and you’ll be rewarded. Excellent book! Highly recommended!
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on 3 December 2015
At twenty-one Skye Ashton expects to enjoy independence as she finishes her senior year at the university. Their emotionally unstable “hippy” mother is about to marry Neil who joins a string of step-fathers. Her older step-sister, River, runs through men as swiftly as her mother, and because Skye doesn’t want to walk in their shoes decides to break it off with her twenty-eight-year-old boyfriend, Zack. Having heard about girlfriends he has had, she doesn’t want to be left high and dry. After she breaks it off with Zack, she meets her wealthy friend, Leona who is celebrating her birthday. As a gift to herself, Leona wants Skye to take a month-long vacation with her to Lake Garda, Italy. In the meantime River realizes Skye is numb over her decision to leave Zack and plays cupid by contacting him.
A Portrait of my Love takes Skye on a search to identify her feelings. She wants independence, but is it self-sacrificing to give up Zack for this? Will Zack appear in Italy and win her heart? Skye must make a choice.
A Portrait of my Love, Lake Garda Series #1, is a well written story for new adults by talented Jennifer Young.
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on 22 November 2015
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Friends-to-lovers is a great theme on which to center a story, and at the start of A Portrait of My Love, I felt something worthwhile between Skye and Zack. Knowing Skye's background, I sympathized with her skittishness over getting romantically involved. Here's a girl in love with her friend who ran from him the moment she got a whiff of anything serious because she didn't want to lose all sense of self. Though initially crushed, Zack rallied. That he pursued her—even followed her to Italy—was promising. Wonderful, right? This could be the perfect setting for a guy to win his girl. I mean, it's Italy!

However, I had a major problem with two aspects in Portrait that didn't have anything to do with the lead couple's 'romance'. First, Skye's über-wealthy best-bud, Leona. She was a shallow and self-absorbed young woman who threw money around in the interest of friendship (she always had her own agenda) who didn't tolerate sound advice from anyone, Skye included. She was a character caught up in her own whirlwind, the embodiment of mixed messages (I'm generous, I'm thoughtful, but we must do everything my way, and I'm going to chase after your ex-boyfriend in front of you on our vacation, you know, the one I invited you on.) So why was she Skye's friend anyway? Good question. Second, the hostile relationship between two families even though reasons for the bad blood remained a secret. This led to some folks concerned for Leona's safety, even fearful of a potential kidnapping (courtesy of a borderline deranged patriarch), that went absolutely nowhere let alone any real danger. I was completely exasperated with this portion of the plot.

Sadly, these two elements commandeered the majority of the story, and did not offer me enough of what I really wanted—to see Skye and Zack work their way back to each other again minus the crazy and senseless drama they found themselves in. Simply put, there weren't enough opportunities together for them to develop anything real and lasting. Perhaps they would have been better off working out their insecurities at their home base with maybe the ex-wife reappearing to stir things up. Now, that I could swallow. Just leave unworthy friends out of it.

Note: My thanks to the author for a complimentary copy in return for an honest review.
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