Portrait of a Lady
…or is it? The risqué painting owned by Benjamin Elliot, the earl of Foxburn, features a stunning beauty with sapphire eyes, golden hair, and creamy skin. Ben recognizes this particular English rose the instant he meets her—though she's wearing considerably more clothing. In person, the demure debutante is even more irresistible…
In desperate need of money for her sick mother, Daphne Honeycote had posed for two scandalous portraits. Now she must hide her secret to save the Honeycote family name. Ben's possession of one painting makes him an insufferable thorn in her side—and yet he may be her best chance at finding the canvas's companion. As she becomes drawn to the dark-tempered earl, can Daphne risk laying bare the secrets of her heart
Daphne Honeycote once sat for two portraits that her friend Thomas painted. One of his clients commissioned the portraits and they were never supposed to leave their remote home in the country. She benefitted by earning some coins that went to pay down some of her family’s debts. When Benjamin, the Earl of Foxburn tells Daphne that he owns one of the paintings, so therefore the other one may be out there, Daphne is mortified. She never worried about the consequences of her actions when sitting for the paintings – she would do it again if it saved someone she loved – but she was living in St. Giles at the time and never dreamed she’d be going to balls and getting to know the ton.
Benjamin – despite his crusty outer shell - has a thing for Daphne. He SO doesn’t want to admit it and even when he does he chooses to ignore it, but he offers to help her find the second painting. As they work together to find the painting – an attend a house party together – they have their ups and downs but they get to know each other and soon find themselves falling in love. The painting, however, is out of their grasp and it just might ruin Daphne in the end.
Oh this was such a cute book. I think it had me laughing and sighing and smiling throughout most of it. I think the main reason for that was Ben. Ben was a man who had been in the war and lost his best friend AND gotten shot in the thigh. He is in almost constant pain and he’s just miserable. His emotions are all over the place because he thinks himself as pretty worthless. On top of that he’s not one to keep his mouth shut just to spare someone’s feelings. He tells it like it is. He sounds like a jerk but he was really very kind and I wanted him to find love with Daphne if only for him to drag himself up from the emotional pit he was in. I was pulling for him and Daphne from word one and that didn’t stop throughout the book.
Daphne was a pretty great character as well. She could so easily have run to her new brother in law, the duke, and spilled her tale of woe and easily gotten out of her predicament but she saw the merit in taking care of it herself, with Ben’s help. This also put her in close and constant contact with Ben so that was an extra plus. At the end of the book Daphne is even more wonderful when she owns up to what she’s done and I admired her even more.
The story wasn’t too terribly intricate nor filled with spies, kidnappings and damsels in physical distress. What it was was just a wonderful love story about two people who were meant for each other and the road they took to find love. It was simply romantic and I loved that about it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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