Portrait of Stella, Susan Wuthrich

Dawn Brookes Author

Book Review 17th June 2018, Dawn Brookes

A Great Start

I loved this story from the beginning when Gemima finds out that her birth certificate is a forgery. The story spans two different times which took a bit of getting used to for me. The first timeline is that of Gemima searching for the truth of her birth and the second one goes back in time and follows the events of her mother, Stella.

Apartheid History

At times the story is sad and tragic and the history of apartheid is covered well and I learned a lot more about the era. I followed the protests about Nelson Mendela’s imprisonment over many years but the experiences that people like Stella and even Gemima had were insufferable.

Could have been a saga trilogy

Initially I found the moving from one time to another tricky but I think the author introduced it in a creative way and made it a good read. I think the book could have been told in two or three parts as a family saga but it was an intriguing and enjoyable read.

It could have done with a further proofread as there are a number of typos which, although they don’t take away from the story, they can be irritating from a reader’s perspective.

I still think this is a great story though and loved it. It has a bit of everything included from World War II to the year 2000 and spans three generations and three continents which is why I think it could have been three books.

The Art of Healing, Jeanne Felfe

May 18th 2018 Review by Dawn Brookes

A beautifully written romantic novel set in the USA, that has healing of past hurts at the centre. Julianne and Jokob are brought together by chance it would seem but they both have scars from previous relationships that are hard to bear.

Not a romp novel

Devoid of graphic sex scenes this novel will not disappoint and provides a refreshing change. There is enough background about the characters to enable the reader to engage with them in a meaningful way. While their attraction to each other grows they are both frightened of giving away their hearts lightly, neither wanting to repeat the experience of pain already suffered.

Engaging Characters

Julianne is a children’s nurse and comes from a close knit Italian family. Her best friend is married with children and wants nothing more than for Julianne to find the right man to love.

Jokob is a photographer who travels around in an RV, not staying anywhere for very long. He has scars that will not be easily healed.

Will they be able to move on?

The story is told mainly from the POV of Julianne but some from Jokob’s POV. Any romantic involvement means that these two will need to let go or come to terms with the past in order to look to the future. I like the way the story is told and I really like the ending but I am not going to give that away!