The Very Picture of You

The Very Picture of You

by Isabel Wolff
4.2 33

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Overview

The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff

Where the eye sees the brushstroke, the heart sees the truth.
 
From Isabel Wolff, the internationally bestselling author of A Vintage Affair, comes a beguiling novel about artistic inspirations, family secrets, and the courage to turn one’s life into a masterpiece.
 
At thirty-five, Gabriella Graham—“Ella” to her family and friends—has already made a name for herself as a successful portrait artist in London. She can capture the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalize it on canvas. This gift has earned Ella commissions from royals and regular folks alike.

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—an elderly client reflecting on her life, another woman dreading the prospect of turning forty, a young cyclist (from a photograph) who met a tragic end—Ella realizes that there is so much more to a person’s life than what is seen on the surface, a notion made even clearer when an unexpected email arrives from the other side of the world. And as her portraits of Nate and the others progress, they begin to reveal less about their subjects than the artist herself.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in Isabel Wolff’s vibrant and textured story, these words are brilliantly crafted to convey the humor, mystery, and beauty that exists within each of us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553807844
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/04/2011
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 9.44(w) x 6.46(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

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.

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The Very Picture of You 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Often times period books tend to be bogged down with sub plots with little or no relationship to the main story. Not so with with "The Very Picture of You". This is the first book by Isabel Wolff, kudos to her she has proven herself as a strong writer. The plot has plenty of factual information to keep the reader engaged, the characters are real and well outlined. I would put this book in the category of a page turner, go read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It's not often I come across a book that I end up putting on my best books read list for the year. This goes on my best books of 2013 that I have read although it was not published this year. It was a highly enjoyable book with well developed characters. When ever I need something new to read I search the Barnes and Noble Reccommends list. A vintage affair by this author is on that list. Because I liked it I also read this one. Highly Reccommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Isabel Wolff tells a great story. Also, check out A Vintage Affair by the same author. Set in England, very good stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend anything she does, great story
SharonRedfern More than 1 year ago
The Very Picture of You is a pleasant and satisfying read. The main character, Ella Graham, is a well known portrait artist whose personal life is somewhat disordered. She is happy with her career, not so much with her romantic life. She is having tiffs with her mother about her biological father, who walked out on the family when she was only five. Her mother was a famous dancer, now remarried, who is still bitter about " the other woman" causing the breakup of the family. Ella loves her stepdad but is beginning to wonder about her father. Ella has a half sister, Chloe, who has met a new man, Nate and is rebuilding her life after a doomed affair with a married man. Ella is very antagonistic towards Nate after overhearing something she shouldn't have but ends up having to paint his portrait after Chloe wins her services in a charity raffle. After she starts the work on the painting, Ella learns there is a great deal more to Nate than she originally saw. Besides Nate, Ella is painting three other portraits. One is of an elderly woman named Iris, who has a painting in her house that leads to the telling of a poignant story that resonates with Ella. Another portrait is of a local politician who is going through an emotional crisis that changes his appearance and personality. There is a mystery about this man that may be tied to the hit and run death of a local woman. The third portrait is of a soon to be forty woman who is totally not into the idea of the portait her husband has comissioned. Initially she appears to be shallow and selfish-all surface and no substance. Ms. Wolfe skillfully intoduces the four"sitters" and little by little gives us glimpses into their lives and personalities. Ella's interactions with the four leads to changes in her life and attitude. Just like in a picture, there are things that have happened and are happening that are not what they seem on the surface. Ella will need to delve deeper into her past in order to have a better future. There are characters in this story we may find unlikeable but we understand in the end why they acted as they did. Ms. Wolfe doesn't excuse bad behavior nor does she punish it. The characters have punished themselves when you really look at them and how they have lived their lives. This books has some parts that are a little formulaic but for the most part it is an interesting look at how people present themselves,how deep those outer layers can go and the work it takes for people to keep those layers intact.
KristynPleva More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many amazing books and series. There have been times where I read a book and wondered if it could be topped by another. I didn’t think so for a time, but Isabel Wolff has proved me wrong. She has written many wonderful novels like A Vintage Affair and Shadows Over Paradise, but The Very Picture of You is one of her greatest. The Very Picture of You is by Isabel Wolff. Set in modern-day London, Ella Graham makes a fine living painting portraits of many fascinating people. As she says in the book, “Painting’s always been, in a way, my… solace.” She has had a hard past, with her father leaving his family for “the other woman” when she was only three, or so her mother says. Now 35, her younger sister Chloe is engaged to an American working in London named Nate, whom Ella loathes. So when Chloe asks her to paint a portrait of her fiancé, Ella reluctantly accepts. Now, with the wedding coming up, and only a few sittings left with Nate, Ella’s life takes a very unexpected turn. Her father tries to reconnect with her, and she starts to realize that Nate isn’t how she thinks. All of the characters felt real. Ella Graham has been getting through life by painting since she was eight or nine. So, when she has to paint Nate’s portrait, she feels like she just can’t get away from her problems. A scene in the beginning of the book shows how much she had doubts about Nate. Mrs. Wolff writes, “‘Ella,’ she interrupted. ‘That’s not why I bid. Because it isn’t me you’re going to paint.’ ‘No?’ ‘It’s Nate.’ This couldn’t be happening to me.” Nate on the other hand, had been excited about having his portrait done by his fiancé’s sister, although he didn’t show it at first. Isabel Wolff has an amazing style when it comes to her writing. Her word choice is phenomenal, because it isn’t too wordy, and has just enough class to make this book all around well written. Using only Ella’s first person point of view, she captured her thoughts and reactions to others around her excellently. A great example is when her father had sent her an email about meeting again in London, “‘I recognized in your strong, dark features my own, and your story fitted with the life we shared so many years ago.’ ‘So many,’ I echoed bitterly.” This novel revolves around two main themes very well, love and deception. The Very Picture of You does not address them directly, yet the themes are obvious the more you delve into it. The themes also revolve around Ella’s broken family, as they try to set things right and stitch everything up. The Very Picture of You is an amazing book and I would definitely recommend it because it has a wonderfully written storyline, characters that are very relatable, and it made me feel like I could actually be Ella Graham. This book by Isabel Wolff is mainly for young adults, for the storyline may not be everyone’s taste, but almost anyone could adore it.
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AnnieMNH More than 1 year ago
This was a very light read for me. Interesting characters, but not a very complex plot. Enjoyable!.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice love story. It kept my interest.
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Enjoyable story - couldn't put it down. Sweet romance.
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