Julia Conley has been out of work for several months when she inherits the ancestral home of her mother's family. Julia's mother died when she was five, and Julia and her father left England for New York. Her father encourages her to go to England and see the house, but Julia has mixed feeling. She fears encountering all the sadness that surrounded her mother's death. The death her father never talks about.
The house outside of London turns out to be filled with more junk than treasure, but suspiciously, Julia's cousins are eager to help clean it out. There is a mysterious portrait in the drawing room of a woman in Victorian dress. Julia finds herself drawn to the portrait wondering who the woman was.
Imogene Granthan lived in the house in the middle 1800's. Much younger than her husband, she was repressed and unhappy until Gareth Thorne was commissioned to paint her portrait. It is this portrait that has piqued Julia's interest.
The novel toggles back and forth between Julia's story and Imogene's. Although it can be difficult to follow two story lines, these are held together by the portrait. As Julia learns more about the picture, Imogene's life unfolds in the background.
There is enough mystery and romance to keep the book interesting. Julia is a likable character. Her cousin Natalie is the kind of girl you love to hate. The setting is well done. The author makes the dusty old house come to life. If you like romance and mystery, this is a good pick.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.