Get thee to a bookstore and buy Julianne MacLean's PORTRAIT OF A LOVER. I will not take her name off my TO BUY list just yet. PORTRAIT gave me warm fuzzies and the only complaint I have is that the story wasn't longer. I've got to be honest...I wasn't too optimistic about the book. First of all, it was a sequel to LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY, which I hated. Second, the font used by AVON, my favorite publishing company, was #16. Ridiculous! Despite this, the book kept my attention and I refused to put it down. I read it in a few hours.
Annabelle Lawson, the heroine, is the sister of the Earl of Whitby, hero of LOVE ACCORDING TO LILY. When she was 21, Annabelle met Magnus Wallis, Whitby's enemy and hated cousin, on a train and embarked on a summer long love affair with him. Magnus's real identity was unknown to her because he introduced himself as someone else. Of course, he later admits it, but only after they both fall deeply in love with each other. Knowing she is in love with him and feeling unworthy of her, Magnus lies to Annabelle and tells her he was using her to get back at her brother. Thirteen years pass and they meet again. What follows is a story of a love never forgotten, one that only grows stronger with the years. Magnus's love for Annabelle is clear in every scene; he has always loved her. The same stands for Annabelle. Will she be able to forgive him, turn her back on her family and trust him again?
I loved Magnus. MacLean's depiction of this tortured soul held my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat. Annabelle was a character I could identify with. Having been hurt and abandoned by the hero years earlier, Annabelle is unwilling to trust him or any man for that matter (except her douche bag brother, Whitby, whom I cannot stand). Many will see themselves in Annabelle. Readers will revel in the moment when, after years of heartache, the lovers finally get together. I was almost crying at the end of it. It was an excellent book by MacLean. Truly surprising because I always seem to expect the worst from her, since she seems to be fairly inconsistent with her writings (AN AFFAIR MOST WICKED...'nuf said).
Hero = A
Heroine = A- (only because she listened to her brother at one point)
Plot = A-
Overall Score = A-