The Very Picture of You
By Isabel Wolff
(Bantam, Paperback, 9780553386639, 352pp.)
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
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Where the eye sees the brushstroke, the heart sees the truth.
At thirty-five, Gabriella “Ella” Graham is a successful portrait artist in London. She captures the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalizes it on canvas. But closer to home, Ella finds the truth more elusive. Her father abandoned the family when she was five, and her mother has remained silent on the subject ever since. Ella’s sister, Chloe, is engaged to Nate, an American working in London, but Ella suspects that he may not be so committed. Then, at Chloe’s behest, Ella agrees to paint Nate’s portrait.
From session to session, Ella begins to see Nate in a different light, which gives rise to conflicted feelings. In fact, through the various people she paints—including an elderly client reflecting on her life and a woman dreading the prospect of turning forty—Ella realizes that there is so much more to a person’s life than what is seen on the surface. And as her portraits of Nate and the others progress, they begin to reveal less about their subjects than about the artist herself.
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Isabel Wolff was born in Warwickshire, England, and attended Cambridge University. She is the author of eight bestselling novels, which have been published in twenty-nine languages. She lives in London with her family.
“Engrossing, warm, and downright delightful.”—Sarah Pekkanen
“The Very Picture of You is a funny, poignant story about the relationships that shape who we are. Isabel Wolff writes about how staying true to ourselves ultimately gives us the things we want the very most.”—Darien Gee, author of Friendship Bread
“Captivating, seductive . . . This novel reflects how beauty exists in all facets of life, especially in people.”—RT Book Reviews
“The Very Picture of You is absolutely charming. You’ll root for Ella, the engaging heroine, and find yourself wishing you could sit for one of her portraits.”—Whitney Gaskell, author of Good Luck