Publication Date: 09/24/2013
Genre: Historical Romance
(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Grace Burrowes on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads
Books in the series:
Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (2011), Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal (2012), Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight (2012), Lady Eve's Indiscretion (2013), Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait (2013)
Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait, courtesy of the author's website.
A freshly wrapped Regency Christmas romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes.
What Lady Jenny wants for Christmas...
For Christmas, soft-spoken Lady Jenny Windham craves the freedom to pursue her artistic ambitions, though it will mean scandalizing her ducal parents and abandoning all hope of a family of her own. She confides her plans to successful artist Elijah Harrison when he's commissioned to paint a portrait of her small nephews, because assisting Elijah will bring Jenny that much closer to her heart's desire--won't it?
...Will break both their hearts
Elijah Harrison finds in his unlikely assistant not only an inspiring muse and unappreciated talent, but also a lovely and passionate woman. If Elijah supports Jenny's career, his own professional interests will suffer, but more significantly, he will lose Jenny forever. Both Jenny and Elijah must choose between true love and a lifelong dream.
Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait wraps up Grace Burrowes' highly acclaimed Windam series. The last five books, The Duke's Daughters sub-set, has been an exceptional look into the five strong willed and beautiful Windam sister's. With a Christmas theme and two artistic souls looking to follow their dreams, this book is enchanting and will take the reader on a journey into self-discovery. What happens when you have to choose between the man of your dreams and your life-long ambition? Lady Jenny learns a lot about what true happiness is all about!
What I liked:
As always I love Grace Burrowes' writing style. She has a way with description and detail that is not equaled in the historical romance genre. She is able to take the reader back into the past and make them feel as though they have always been there. I love the way she writes about the small things that other authors miss, like the use of color and line in Jenny's paintings and even the clothes the characters are wearing. It's this kind of attention to detail that makes Burrowes such a wonderful author.
Jenny is again a very passionate and strong character. All of the Windam sisters have shown tenacity and grit, but with Jenny it is a little more subtle. She has an artistic temperament, she's more intuitive and internal than her sisters. Her dreams however, are a lot more complicated. Pursuing her dream of painting in Paris is hardly what is expected of the daughter of a Duke and her family will suffer if she chooses this path. But she is determined and unafraid of the consequences. I liked the fact that Burrowes is sensitive to the fact that this is Jenny's dream. It means something to her and she's willing to fight for it. I also enjoyed the vulnerability she shows when Jenny is thinking about the chances she has given up to have a family of her own. Burrowes has created a loving and expressive character in Jenny and she was a joy to read.
I had a little more trouble getting into Elijah as the hero of the book, for a couple of reasons. What I did like about him was his persistence and his determination. After a fight with his father over his own dreams of painting, he vows not to return until he is a member of the Royal Academy. His dreams are within sight when he meets Jenny. Elijah is strong willed and full of stubbornness and that made him a likable character in some respects. He was sticking to his guns but at what cost? He has spent ten years away from a loving family. I thought Burrowes did a great job of showing both Elijah and Jenny's problem's when they realize they could have a future together.
I also liked the Christmas theme. Though it was incorporated frequently into the story, it was subtle and not overpowering. The story didn't hinge on a Christmas miracle or need Santa to make the wishes of the characters come true. But it certainly added a sense of nostalgia and enchantment to the story. Christmas is about family and love and being together as well as, the birth of the Savior and I thought Burrowes did a great job of making it important to the story but not pivotal.
It was nice to see all of the previous heroes and heroines from the other books in this series. Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait can be easily read as a stand alone, but the other books certainly enhance the experience. I truly loved this entire series and hated to see it end. Burrowes has just done just a fantastic job with it. She is one of my first choices when I want to pick up a historical romance to read for pleasure. Her writing is vibrant and imaginative and her characters are strong and supportive of each other and little bit of heat doesn't hurt. The romance sizzles!
What I didn't like:
There was really only one thing that I didn't enjoy about this book and it had to do with the heroe. I felt like Elijah wanted to support Jenny but he really didn't step up to the plate until he was prodded into it. I realize that in supporting her dreams he was possibly going to lose the woman he had come to love, but love is about sacrifice and letting those you care about realize their dreams. Burrowes wraps up this problem in a very realistic and beautiful way, but I had hoped that Elijah would have been like the other men in this series, supportive, as well as, loving.
You really don't want to miss this book. It's a beautiful story with a Christmas theme. It has depth and realism, and Burrowes gives just the right amount of spark and sensuality. It's the final book in a wonderful series. You just might have to read them all after reading this one... it's that good!
Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.