The FAMILY PORTRAIT trilogy follows the lives of two artists—Karla, a painter, and Andreas, a sculptor/stonemason—and their families as they try to keep the flame of love and creativity alive through turbulent times. The story takes place in Switzerland, Italy, the United States, and Peru with a short excursion to France.
AN UNCOMMON FAMILY, Book 1: Three people with a troubled past meet in Zurich, Switzerland. Six-year-old Karla longs for her dead mother. Anna struggles with her former husband’s deception, and Jonas mourns the death of his wife. While trying to help Karla, a talented but troubled child, Anna and Jonas develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. The budding romance, however, hits a snag when Anna discovers a sinister secret in Jonas’s past. LOVE OF A STONEMASON, Book 2: Karla, the young talented painter, who lost her mother in a car crash, is almost run over by a car herself. As if this wasn’t fateful enough, the driver turns out to be a sculptor and carver of tombstones. Andreas O’Reilly, however, is anything but morbid. Quick-tempered and passionate, he exudes a rough-and-tumble energy. After a tumultuous start of their relationship, Karla comes to see in Andreas the “rock” in her life. Andreas, however, wrestles with his own ghosts: an alcoholic father who abused him as a child and his own fits of anger. Together, the two artists must confront the demons that haunt them. EMILIA, Book 3: The O’Reilly household is in trouble. With her two older children, Laura and Tonio, grown and getting ready to fly the coop, Karla finds out she is pregnant again. Instead of furthering her painting career, she has to raise another child. Andreas looks forward to being a father once more but the little bundle of joy, Emilia, instead of enhancing the relationship to his wife intensifies the tension that has been building between them. While the parents fight, Laura and Tonio try to keep the peace. But more challenges wait in the wings: Andreas catches his son kissing another man and Arturo, Karla’s Peruvian father, has a heart attack. During Karla’s stay in Peru where she takes care of Arturo, Andreas gets a little too cozy with a young woman by the name of Susanna. Only when he almost loses Emilia does he come to his senses and embarks on a journey to try to keep his family together. An Uncommon Family: “All of the texture in this story, the smooth passage of time through seasons and years, the crisp dialogue and smooth plot development, makes for a thoroughly rewarding read. I recommend you read it, and ease into the nourishing atmosphere of this charming and cleverly depicted story of love, loss, loneliness, and hope.” (Gareth Stokes, London, UK) Love of a Stonemason: “Reading this book is striking gold! This book is a treasure and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great love story as well as a story about life.” (Dafna Yee, Plano, TX, USA) Emilia: “This book offers characters to root for and cherish, and I heartily recommend this luminous and ultimately hopeful novel.” (Susan Eisenberg, Silver Spring, MD, USA)