Skye Ashton is a 21-year old approaching her final year at the university. “Balanced on the edge of everything and a little bit scared to step off. Dreaming all the dreams that girls of my age do, of a career. Running my own business. Turning the tedious studies of the business management classroom into a real-life adventure. Running my own marketing consultancy. Being a serious player.” (7)
“While my mother and sister flaunted their romances, I kept my first serious boyfriend as secret as it was possible to do….My dreams were of the conventional kind; a life of safety and security, a career where I knew what I was doing and could follow a defined path. They didn’t include a roller-coaster of romance when I wouldn’t know which day was my anniversary of which wedding to which husband.” (10)
Right away you have to admire the young girl’s thrive for independence, but she’s so dependent on Zach, who is 28 years old—a little too old for her, really. It’s true though—being someone’s “inspiration” carries the shackles of commitment. And I could certainly understand Skye’s reluctance to settle down. What better way to get over Zach than to take a holiday in Italy? Yay!
Of course, Zach feels that Skye could be in charge of her destiny and still be in love with him.
Set against the lavish scenes of Edinburgh, Scotland (another place on my bucket list) AND Verona, Italy, A Portrait of My Love is an artsy romance of the hazardous beauty of love gained and love lost. “Curious, how that was what love did, how it held you like a bird on a sticky branch, always able to flap your wings but never able to fly free.” (84)
I especially liked the artistic manner in which she described Zach’s drawing ability. “He saw things no-one else did—a lizard clinging to a wall in defiance of gravity, someone sitting peacefully on a self-made island of quiet framed by a cloud of busyness, a child investigating a crack in the pavement with wide open eyes; the world through his eyes was a special place.” (50) Such vivid descriptions throughout that I felt I was right there.
Overall, this was a lovely and well-written account of self and love’s journey. Skye and Zach care for each other so much, but unknown forces and personal demons keep them apart. The reader will feel the connection of their souls and hope they get back together. The story obviously centered on them. I wasn’t too keen on the whole family feud surrounding the hotel business or Leona’s $50 million net worth. I thought those were odd pieces in this worldly, vibrant puzzle. Still, albeit a bit slow and jaded at times, this was a nice story. Mostly I wondered what would become of Skye and Zach and whether he would draw her portrait.
My rating: 3.5 stars