Publication Date: November 8th, 2011
Format: Paperback, 317 pages
Rating: 4/5 Stars
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The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
- Traumatized by her mother’s violent death, Natalie Stewart hasn’t been able to speak since childhood. Left to flourish under the care of her father, she has learned to cope with the possibility that she wouldn’t be blessed with a life like girls her age – no marriage proposals and no family of her own. When a supposedly haunted portrait of Lord Denbury comes into the possession of a decidedly spiritualistic rich matron, Natalie’s days and nights become a succession of believing the impossible and dreaming of the handsome Lord imprisoned inside the mystical, gilded frame of his own portrait.
- Strong Heroine. Despite being blighted with the inability to speak, Natalie stands out as one of those admirably strong female lead. She fought for herself in any way she knew how. I loved that nothing could deter this girl from anything she sets her mind to. Aside from one instance when she threw a hissy fit and walked away from three dubious, oblivious girls, there didn’t seem to be anything that could faze her – even an evil version of Lord Denbury.
- Old Days, Old Ways. I’ve always been fascinated with the Victorian era. The propriety and the customs, the formality of the language – the author did a phenomenal job of creating a world genuine to the period.
- Goosebumps. If Natalie’s nightmares doesn’t give you nightmares, well, hats off to you. Ms Hieber has a penchant for writing visceral scenes that added to the seemingly sinister Gothic theme of the book.
- Foregone Conclusion. Because this book was written in a journal form, there was a definitive lack of suspense throughout the novel. I wasn’t worried that Natalie would come out of each conflict unharmed because, well, otherwise there wouldn’t have been an entry in her diary.
- Lack of dialogues, pardon the pun. I didn’t mean that because Natalie was mute, there wasn’t much talking involved. Sheesh. I’m not a fan of narrative novels. And as previously mentioned, this book was a succession of diarized entries so it was mostly Natalie telling you the story. I tend to lose interest in novels if I don’t see much quotation marks. But this novel had some saving graces that I managed to get through it just fine.
- He is, indeed a dashing Lord, but… What is it about aristocratic, British men? *sigh* I for one, am a sucker for these proper gentlemen and no one can deny about Lord Denbury’s hotness. But there is something disturbing about how perfect this man is. Rich, smart, philanthropic and have I mentioned handsome? I know this is a work of fiction but come on, a flaw or two wouldn’t hurt. But hey, that’s just me. You’re probably wondering what in the heck I’m complaining about. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just tired of reading unrealistically perfect species of men.