Portrait of a Lover

Portrait of a Lover

by Julianne MacLean

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060819354
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/28/2006
Series: American Heiress Series , #5
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 938,764
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

About the Author

Julianne MacLean fell in love with some of the classic romances—Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice—while completing her degree in English literature. Then she decided that she needed a "real job," but after a brief stint as a government auditor, she realized she just didn't care enough about numbers matching up. So a month before her wedding, she sat down and wrote the first paragraph of a romance. Now fifteen years, a husband, and a daughter later, Julianne is a happy, fulfilled, stay-at-home mom and a devoted romance writer.

Read an Excerpt

Portrait of a Lover

By Julianne MacLean

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Julianne MacLean
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060819359

Chapter One

June 1879

"That shawl is entirely too young for her," Aunt Millicent said as she smoothed her skirts on the train seat. "She's turning seventy-five, after all. The color is too daring, and it's not even fashionable. Speaking of which, why in the world did you wear that hat? It's the worst thing I've ever seen. It looks like a purple haystack on your head."

As always, Annabelle ignored her aunt's narrow-minded taste in millinery, because she was not giving up the hat. It was satisfyingly unique. "I suppose it suits our surroundings," she added with a self-important, haughty tone. She glanced around the Second Class carriage, looking down her nose in repugnance at the merchants and tradesmen.

Annabelle ignored her aunt's snobbery as well, for they'd had no choice about the traveling accommodations. First Class was full, and they couldn't possibly wait for another train, for they were already late for Aunt Sadie's birthday party as it was.

"The shawl is a very tasteful shade of blue, Auntie," Annabelle replied, trying to distract Millicent from her discontent. "It's like the sky. It will accentuate the vivid color of her eyes."

"Her eyes do not need to be noticed in that way. Not at her age."

Growing frustrated, for she knew Aunt Millicent wouldn't budge about the blue shawl, Annabelle turned her gaze toward the window. They were slowing down. The train was screeching to a halt at the Leicester station to pick up passengers.

Steam spurted and hissed from the engine as a crowd gathered on the platform. Annabelle looked down and smiled at a family -- a young couple standing in the shade of the station overhang with their baby in a brand new pram. The woman, wearing a fashionable green plumed hat, raised a gloved hand and waved, and Annabelle waved cheerfully in return.

"Now that is a lovely hat," Aunt Millicent said, wagging a finger. "See how it fits in with all the others?"

Continuing to ignore her aunt's harangue, and thinking they might be stopped for more than a few minutes, Annabelle reached into her bag for the book she'd packed. She was leaning forward, quite distracted by the inconceivable mess inside the bag -- when in the world had she put a cigar cutter in there? -- when the door to their carriage suddenly swung open, startling her, for she was seated right next to it. She jolted upright.

"I do beg your pardon," a man said, stepping up and looking around the full carriage.

An elderly woman came along and entered behind him, and he helped her up, then gestured to the seats facing Annabelle and Millicent. "These appear to be the last available seats. If you don't mind?"

Naturally, Annabelle left it to her chaperone to respond, but even if she had been the one required to reply, she wasn't sure she would have been able to speak, for her heart was racing in her chest and her mouth felt strangely tingly inside. Because the man standing before her, removing his black overcoat right in front of her eyes was, in a word, magnificent.

The elderly woman behind him removed her coat, too, but Annabelle was only aware of the man -- tall, broad-shouldered, and dark. His hair was shiny black, his eyes dark brown. He turned to face her again, and she had to struggle to keep her eyes downcast, though she did glance up briefly to observe the fine lines of his shoulders and back as he assisted the elderly woman by hanging her coat with his on a nearby hook.

Then all at once he turned and glanced down at Annabelle's feet -- his eyes lingering there for a moment.

For the first time in her life Annabelle was embarrassed by her boots. They were made for boys, and they were absolutely not fashionable, but they were so much more comfortable than ladies' boots, especially when she spent most of her time tramping around the countryside with her easel under her arm.

She quickly drew her feet under her skirts.

When the man finally took the seat facing her, he smiled politely, first at Aunt Millicent, who was looking down her long, aristocratic nose suspiciously at him, then at Annabelle, who managed to smile casually in return.

She hoped she wasn't blushing. That would be mortifying.

Determined not to stare, she raised her book and opened it, pretending to read. Yes, pretending, because she could hardly concentrate with such a handsome man sitting not three feet away from her, facing her squarely.

Trains could be so decidedly awkward sometimes.

The train blew its whistle and they lurched forward, rocking back and forth as the locomotive began to slowly move away from the station. Annabelle looked out the window at the young family again, and watched them through the spiraling coal dust until she couldn't see them anymore.

Soon they were under way, the pistons hammering fast beneath them as they gained speed on the tracks.

Feeling the chugging sensation beneath the soles of her boots, Annabelle peered over the top of her book to steal another glance at the man across from her. He was gazing absently out the window, so she recalled her artist's mantra -- there is no substitute for close observation -- and studied his face more meticulously.

Of course, it was pure perfection -- a straight nose, a strong chiseled jaw, and high cheekbones. Yet, along with all those sharp, manly angles was a set of full, moist lips that looked quite agreeably soft.

What she wouldn't give to paint him.

It was an odd thought, because she never painted people. She only did landscapes, preferably rugged ones, which was perhaps where this marked fascination came from. He, too, was rugged, like the jagged English coastlines that captured her imagination more than any other place or thing. She loved the sound of the sea, surging and crashing up against the rocks, and she loved to try and capture the unfathomable depths and distances that were an intrinsic part of the ocean.


Excerpted from Portrait of a Lover by Julianne MacLean Copyright © 2006 by Julianne MacLean. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Portrait of a Lover 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
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Love how she turned mangus around.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
They were two strangers who met on a train -- a lovely young woman and a handsome young man who were instantly attracted to one another. Young and slightly unconventional, Annabelle was a budding artist. The young man felt a kindred spirit and though he knew she was above him in class he wanted to pursue a relationship. By the time they left the train he had found out her name. It was a crushing blow to discover she was the adopted sister of his most hated enemy and cousin the Earl of Whitby. With serious misgivings, and under a false name, he and Annabelle carried on a summer long idyll until he finally revealed the truth. Trying to spare her, he lied about his feelings and in the process broke her heart. --------- Thirteen years later Magnus Wallis, newly come from America, had reentered her life. He was a changed man, had proven his own worth, prosperous, and ready to do whatever he had to in order to beg for Annabelle¿s forgiveness and a second chance. ----------- *** This is an author whose presence as an undeniable virtuoso of romantic literature cannot be denied. She has the amazing ability to engage my imagination as a reader with the pure poetry of her writing style, deep character studies, and her emotional storylines. In a roller-coaster ride you¿ll experience the joy of first love as well as the heartbreaking rejection Annabelle felt over being deceived by her brother¿s most insidious cousin and enemy. I loved Magnus and found him to be a divine, tortured individual whose life detoured onto a different path as a result of age-old lies. Yet, without knowing the truth, he found the strength to go forward and change into the honorable man he felt Annabelle deserved. This was an outstanding story and an author, I very highly recommend. -------------- Marilyn Rondeau, Member of Reveiwers International Organization
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the protected world of 'polite society', falling in love with a stranger is a dangerous thing. In Portrait of a Lover, Annabelle finds out why. Her beloved is a liar and a blackguard. Yet, you can't help but understand how she fell under his spell - Magnus is undeniably hot. The chemistry between them sizzles. So when he comes back into her life years later, it's not hard to understand why she would reject him. Yet the man is soooo hard to resist. This latest book by Julianne MacLean is an emotionally satisfying read. Her heroine, Annabelle, is a delightful social misfit, prefering her pet cow to lapdogs, and heavy boots to dancing slippers. Ms. MacLean writes a villian/hero with such clarity, you can't help falling for him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a bit biased ... I've read almost all of Julianne MacLean's books so I always know I'm getting a good read when I plunk my money down. But Portrait of a Lover surpassed my expectations - it's my favourite book of this author's so far and I couldn't put it down! Annabelle Lawson is a talented painter with a tortured past. Thirteen years ago she met a man on a train and fell quickly in love with him, even though she knew his lack of fortune would be an issue for her family. It turns out, the man she fell in love with deceived her and she's left broken hearted. Thirteen years later, Magnus reenters Annabelle's life and she vows never to let him touch her heart again. But will she be able to keep her distance from him? I remember reading Love According To Lily (the book before Portrait of a Lover) when we were briefly introduced to Annabelle and Marcus and thinking it would make a great story. I was happy to see those characters revisited and the story of their journey was exciting and real. I loved, loved, loved this story and if you like bad boys at all (who doesn't?) you should buy this book. You won't be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The challenge Julianne MacLean had with this story was taking Magnus, who was the villain in Love According to Lily, and turning him into a hero. No easy task, yet Ms. MacLean managed the hurdle with her usual brilliance. I won't give the details away, but suffice to say she did not take the easy route. Annabelle and Magnus have a past, and not a real pretty one. It would have been easy to slap together an uncomplicated explanation and have the characters get over it with the adage of love conquers all, but I think the readers would have felt a bit cheated. Instead Julianne takes us on a journey, first back to the original relationship, and then forward to the present day of the story. It's a wonderful, rocky, emotional trip that tugs at your heartstrings and ultimately has you cheering for these two to put their pasts to rest. But life isn't that easy, a lot of damage had been done in the past and there was much to overcome. Ms. MacLean doesn't shy away from that fact, and in doing so gives the story a richness and realism that makes it all the more satisfying in the end. With each book Julianne MacLean keeps getting better and better, delving into the truth of emotion and not stepping back from the dark side just because it isn't quite as pretty. She colors Portrait of a Lover with all the shades of light and dark and in the end paints a picture that stays with you long after you've finished the last page.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1879 Annabelle Lawson met the handsome stranger on a train and found she wanted Jonathan Edwards in her bed and as a model for a painting she was creating. However, once she learned who he really is, Annabelle feels betrayed and her love turns to hate as she knows that Magnus Wallis loathes those who nurtured and loved her after her parents died when she was an infant. Annabelle vows to never see him again though she knows how hard that will prove to be since he is the cousin of her adopted brother and patron, the Earl of Whitby. ----- Thirteen years later, Magnus has never forgotten the woman on the train who stirred his soul though she quickly turned against him. He wants to display Annabelle¿s work in his London gallery so he arranges to see her. Her intentions of ignoring him vanish when he sweetly caresses her face. Annabelle realizes she still loves the scoundrel, but doubts she can trust him with her art or her heart. Magnus knows he must prove himself to the woman he cherishes above all else because this will be his last chance.----- PORTRAIT OF A LOVER is an intriguing Victorian romance that stars a somewhat rebellious heroine and the man who loves and regrets what he did to her when they met as strangers on a train. The story line is driven by Magnus¿ efforts to gain first her forgiveness of his beloved and then regain her love. A bit of mystery involving Magnus¿ roots add to the uniqueness of this fun late nineteenth century romance.----- Harriet Klausner