THE STORY: Fixing things, whether broken or not, is Emily Price’s van Gogh. As an art restorer she’s passionate about righting anything that is “wrong” and anyone that hurts. From swooping in save her sister from her flighty behavior patterns therefore saving her from herself, to perfecting her work as a restorer, she likes projects. Her latest job takes her to Atlanta where two things happen. First, her life changes for the better… and coinciding with this euphoria is when everything falls apart. It’s Atlanta where she meets, Ben, an Italian chef who sweeps Emily off her feet. Their whirlwind romance leads them to Italy where Emily discovers long buried secrets in Ben’s family that changes everything.
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay | Book Review
REVIEW: Believe me when I sincerely say the following: the skill with which Katherine tells each of her stories impresses me like none other. The writing, the storytelling, and the characters surpass every checklist you want a fictional story to checkmate. Her skills embody precisely what stellar fiction should. This story, Katherine’s latest is one I read as a read along with blogging friends, and the experience is richer for it.
“It is nothing to say lovely things to someone who expects them, needs them. The beauty is when one who does not expect them comes to believe them – that only happens when the compliments and the love behind them are sincere.” – A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
Aside from the writing and skill that goes into every one of Katherine’s novels, the unique markers of them are the literary nods each one carries. This one is no different. Jane Austen’s Emma is easily recognizable in A Portrait of Emily Price. What I adore so much about these books is their balance of the two entities. Reay knows how to uphold the integrity of the classics without sullying them, blending, without altering, into them her own story. All of which she does with the greatest ease. For the reader, this comes off as if its an effortless marriage of these two presenting subjects. What’s so special about this novel in particular is its titular character, Emily Price.
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Her flaws aren’t suppressed or hidden, and the first-person voice exposes these in such a beautiful way. The turmoil, heartbreak, romanticism and joy of this story are indescribable entities to put to paper. Emily’s “need” to “fix” something that’s broken is a compulsion that she underestimates and ironically, is taught to correct by people who don’t really know her. Emily’s journey is one that inspires, and compels the reader to take a look at our idiosyncrasies and wonder if this is how we view life. All this said and I’ve not even touched on the amazing character of Ben. There’s so much to say about him, and yet putting it down on paper seems so impossible. In a single paragraph (in the first five pages), he walks into Emily’s (and our) life, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be a goner. With that, I feel enough has been said.
Reay’s novels are impossible to talk about in the manner they deserve. They’re the kind of stories that beg to be re-read seconds after the final page because there’s simply no way one reading allows its reader to truly absorb all of its nuances. Classy. Smart. Endearing. Beautiful. All of these adjectives and more are inadequate to describe the worth this story has, but they come closest. Solid storytelling, brilliant relationship and character building (complete with starry eyed romance), and memorable joy in the smallness of life come together like the greatest masterpiece on a gallery’s wall to form A Portrait of Emily Price.
On Booktube: WHAT READERS ARE SAYING | Katherine Reay
A B O U T THE B O O K
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Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Author Provided, Launch Team
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads
E L S E W H E R E: Amazon | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book. Review text is © Copyright 2011-2020 Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com