Delicious Slow-Burn Story
by Anna Larner
To do the right thing, Molly must put her heart and her career on the line…
Be whisked off your feet and join Molly and Georgina on their romantic journey to love!
Book Blurb – Love’s Portrait
Newly appointed art curator Molly Goode is committed to diversifying her museum’s collection. When Georgina Wright, the museum’s aloof benefactor, asks for Molly’s help in identifying the provenance of a 19th century portrait of social activist Josephine Brancaster, Molly welcomes the opportunity, even if it means spending time with the standoffish financier. But passions soon flare as the women uncover the heartbreaking story of doomed lesbian love behind the watercolor painted by Josephine’s lover, Edith Hewitt.
As their love blossoms, Molly is determined to display Edith’s portrait of Josephine and to tell their story in the museum, but she needs the influential Georgina to help convince the board. When an unforeseen twist in the painting’s provenance forces Georgina to confront her own painful past, will history repeat itself, or can Molly and Georgina’s love prevail?
Publication Date: April 2019
Length: 105,000 words / 314 pages
Tropes & themes: Workplace, Homecoming, Slow-Burn, Art, Museums, History, Lesbian
Awards: Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Finalist, Rainbow Award Finalist
What Readers and Reviewers Have To Say!
It’s not too much of a leap to say that, if Jane Austen was writing lesbian romance fiction today, she might have come up with something akin to ‘Love’s Portrait’! – KENRIC Book Club
The story was absolutely wonderful. The characters were dynamic and engaging, the romance was sweet and awesome and perfectly paced. Just all around a great book, I enjoyed every second of it. – Rainbow Award
Dreamy and genteel, moody and quietly romantic, this one made me deliriously happy from beginning to end. Beyond ticking off my favorite boxes of beautiful writing, just enough angst, sharply smart women and did I mention gorgeous scenes carved out by words that are both lyrical and strikingly visual, the book struck me to my core. – Jules
I loved it, it’s got a bit of class and a gentle pace that curls around you. – Clare Lydon, Lesbian Romance Author
Oh my. What a wonderful, wonderful book. It’s beautifully written. Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. It’s insightful, heartbreaking, and sweet. Absolutely a must-read. – Len
Inspiration From Real-life
Far more than just a romantic novel Love’s Portrait also explores deeper themes, in particular the suppression and expression of lesbian identity, the forgotten role of women in 19th century political activism, and our responsibility in the present to honour the lives and loves of those who were hidden from history.
In November 2017, I attended a writing workshop exploring the work of 19th Century Leicester campaigners, Elizabeth Heyrick and Susanna Watts who inspired the fictional Edith and Josephine.
The historic city of Leicester and New Walk Museum inspired the fictional settings, so if you’d like to wander in the footsteps of my characters take the virtual tour.
Extract From The First Chapter of Love’s Portrait
“Am I very late?” Molly wrestled free of her coat and squinted at the office clock through the mist of her steamed-up glasses.
“Well, let’s put it this way, you’re not very on time. Was it Daisy May again?” Fran asked with a tone that suggested she already knew the answer.
“It’s not her fault. She’s just not at her best, first thing.”
“You need to get rid of her.”
Molly took off her glasses and glared at her colleague. “Fran Godfrey. How can you say that?”
“And how can you own a car that won’t start in the morning, hates the cold, not to mention the wet, shudders at the merest suggestion of speed, and stalls at the hint of a hill?”
“Well, I find your remarks uncalled for and bordering on disloyal.”
The strip light above their heads fizzed and flickered. Molly climbed with a wobble onto her chair, took off her shoe, and banged the end of the light fixture, which gave a last fizz before returning the room to its headachy ambiance.
She dropped down to the floor with a sigh. “Daisy May, I feel sure, would speak very highly of you. If she could speak, obviously.”
“Obviously. The reason that car and I know each other so well is that I’ve spent more time than is decent pushing her backside. How long have you worked here?”
“Oh, let me think.” Molly proceeded to silently count on her fingers. “Seven months. You know, it seems like longer.”
“Seven months. And how many times have I had to push your car?”
Molly shrugged. “Once or twice maybe.”
“Four times. And in case it had somehow escaped your notice, I am not in the first flush of youth and such exertions are not only ungainly, but they are decidedly inadvisable.”
Molly winced with guilt at the memory of Fran, legs apart, bracing herself against the rear end of her vintage Mini. “Of course. And it goes without saying that Daisy May more than sympathizes and is very grateful for your assistance.” Molly rifled through the files and folders on her desk. “Don’t suppose you’ve seen my notes for the funding meeting? I’m certain I left them right here by my pencil pot.” Her heart sank as a sickening flashback called to mind the image of the papers resting underneath a jar of peanut butter on her kitchen table. Bugger.
Fran shook her head. “Sorry, no, and speaking of grateful, Molly Goode, Daisy May’s not the only one who should be thanking me. Evelyn was in here ten minutes ago asking for you.”
“What? Oh no, we were meant to meet before the meeting. I’ve no time to print my notes out again.”
Molly rummaged in the bin, picking through used teabags and browning apple cores for the last but one version of her notes. She flattened out the screwed-up ball of pages and brushed away the hole-punched paper circles that clung to the tea-stained sheets. “What did you tell her?”
“I told her”—Fran looked up and smiled sympathetically—“that you were probably held up by your work in the storeroom.”
“Storeroom. Excellent. Thank you. I owe you big time.” Molly took a deep breath. “Right.” She looked at the door and then at Fran.
“What now?” Fran asked, her eyes raised wearily at Molly.
“Was she in a good mood by any chance? Or was her neck all prickly pink?”
“Let’s just say I wouldn’t keep her waiting any longer.”
“That bad? Right.”
“Go!” Fran pointed to the door. “Oh, and Molly. Remember to impress upon them that the renovated annex would be the perfect venue for our community space. It’ll be a real push in the right direction.”
“Will do. Wish me luck.”Love’s Portrait by Anna Larner