Top critical review
Not a whole lot of warmth in this romance
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.