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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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The Very Picture of You: A Novel Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Artist Ella Graham is known for capturing the true essence of her subjects in her portraits—in fact, she’s just recently become semifamous for it, after England’s new duchess selects Ella to paint her for the National Portrait Gallery. In her mid-thirties and single, Ella’s devotion to her craft eats up most of her time, making the relationships she forges with her subjects—whom she requires to sit for 12 full hours—some of her most intimate. However, when, much to her dismay, she is hired to paint her sister’s loathsome new American fiancé, Ella learns that it isn’t solely her subjects she exposes while painting, but sometimes she uncovers something about herself. Wolff seamlessly adds many slow-to-reveal characters into the fold—a politician with a painful secret, the aging owner of a mysterious and beautiful painting, Ella’s long-gone father back to explain himself—and, with the use of an artist’s lexicon that serves her quite well, ties it all into an exceptionally neat and tidy ending. --Annie Bostrom

Review

Advance praise for The Very Picture of You
 
“A captivating, seductive view into the thoughts of an open-minded portrait artist….This novel reflects how beauty exists in all facets of life, especially in people.”  —Romantic Times Book Reviews
 
“Wolff’s heroine is an excellent conduit to understanding how art can reflect the true essence of those being depicted, while the story delivers all the charm and romance readers have come to expect.”  —Publishers Weekly

The Very Picture of You is a funny, poignant story about the relationships that shape who we are. Isabel Wolff writes about how staying true to ourselves ultimately gives us the things we want the very most. A thoroughly enjoyable read.”—Darien Gee, author of Friendship Bread
 
“Engrossing, warm, and downright delightful, The Very Picture of You is the story of an artist named Ella who does more than paint portraits—she also uncovers the secrets her subjects are keeping close. Ella is a sympathetic and textured character, one readers will cheer for as she gathers the courage to untangle the big mystery in her own past.”—Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Opposite of Me
 
“Isabel Wolff has done it again! The Very Picture of You is absolutely charming. You’ll root for Ella, the engaging heroine, and find yourself wishing you could sit for one of her portraits.”—Whitney Gaskell, author of When You Least Expect It

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553807846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553807844
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nitty's Mom TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Very Picture of You" is a cute read. Written in the same style as "A Vintage Affair", however not as good.

Ella Graham is a 35 year old portrait painter who is starting to make a name for herself in London. She has a devoted younger half sister, a loving step-father and a high-strung mother who has given Ella little information about Ella's father who deserted the family. Ella has never forgotten him however, and has a decision to make when he calls and asks to explain his side of the story.

During the course of the book, Ella's story/life becomes inter-locked with the many interesting characters portraits she is painting. They include Iris, an 80 year old women who also has a sad story of abandonment, Celine a women approaching her 40th birthday who is craving a change in her life, Mike a government official who may be involved in a hit-run- accident, and Grace a posthumous portrait of a cyclist whose essence Ella wants to capture for her family. She is also reluctantly painting her sisters fiance, Nate, who she considers a loathsome boor, or is he? As all these stories weave together/and her portraits are finished, Ella learns a lot about herself, her family and what she wants/needs from life.

"The Very Picture of You" and Ella's road to self-discovery was predictable. As the reader, it was easy to depict what each portrait needed to teach Ella, even before she finished painting her subject. I actually found some of the sub-plots/characters more interesting then Ella's. If your looking for a non-taxing end of the summer read, which tidies up all pieces, give it a try. If your looking for as good or better read than "A Vintage Affair" you might be disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
The Very Picture of You is a pleasant and satisfying read. The main character, Ella Graham, is a well known portrait artist whose personal life is somewhat disordered. She is happy with her career, not so much with her romantic life. She is having tiffs with her mother about her biological father, who walked out on the family when she was only five. Her mother was a famous dancer, now remarried, who is still bitter about " the other woman" causing the breakup of the family. Ella loves her stepdad but is beginning to wonder about her father. Ella has a half sister, Chloe, who has met a new man, Nate and is rebuilding her life after a doomed affair with a married man. Ella is very antagonistic towards Nate after overhearing something she shouldn't have but ends up having to paint his portrait after Chloe wins her services in a charity raffle. After she starts the work on the painting, Ella learns there is a great deal more to Nate than she originally saw. Besides Nate, Ella is painting three other portraits. One is of an elderly woman named Iris, who has a painting in her house that leads to the telling of a poignant story that resonates with Ella. Another portrait is of a local politician who is going through an emotional crisis that changes his appearance and personality. There is a mystery about this man that may be tied to the hit and run death of a local woman. The third portrait is of a soon to be forty woman who is totally not into the idea of the portait her husband has comissioned. Initially she appears to be shallow and selfish-all surface and no substance.
Ms. Wolfe skillfully intoduces the four"sitters" and little by little gives us glimpses into their lives and personalities. Ella's interactions with the four leads to changes in her life and attitude.
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Format: Paperback
I found compelled to keep reading as I wanted to know the stories of Ella, her family and those of whom she painted their portraits. Sitting for a portrait is such an intimate relationship in which Ella was able to examine the souls of those she painted. In a complex weaving connection of characters the story unfolds of Ella's childhood heartbreak of her father, John, abandoning her as a child and the lies her mother, Sue, told her about her and John. Ella has a good relationship with Roy, her adopted father, and her sister Chloe, yet has struggled with why her biological father left her so suddenly and completely. There are secrets hidden in those she paints, one of them being that she had fallen in love with her sister Chloe's fiance, Nate. Ella is torn up over her feelings for Nate and refuses to acknowledge them for fear of hurting her sister who had recently recovered from a broken relationship with a married man. In Mike there is a man heartbroken over the loss of his mistress. In Iris there's a tragic story of a broken relationship with her father, in many ways a mirror of Ella's childhood. In Celine there is a woman dreading turning forty, restless and feeling she has never truly lived her life. In everyone there is much that is hidden behind the faces shown to the world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a beach read, Isabel Wolff delivers! When I read to escape, I mean it; I want warm, funny, pretty locations, just enough conflict to make it relatable, and far away from MY reality. Done. I like her characters and she doesn't use sex as a prop like too many writers do today; implied is much sexier than graphic. The writing flows and she is a pro. thanks Ms Wolff!
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