The Girl in the Painting
by Tea Cooper
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Paperback & eBook; 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
A young prodigy in need of family. A painting that shatters a woman’s peace. And a decades-old mystery demanding to be solved.
Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship— having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.
Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.
But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late.
From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.
“Deeply researched. Emotional. Atmospheric and alive. . . Tea Cooper transports the reader to a sweeping landscape of turn of the twentieth century Australia—from the raw realities of the Australian goldfields to the sophisticated institutions of Sydney—and does so with an expert pen. Combining characters that are wonderfully complex with a story spanning decades of their lives, The Girl in the Painting is a triumph of family, faith, and long-awaited forgiveness. I was swept away!” —Kristy Cambron, award-winning author of The Paris Dressmaker and the Hidden Masterpiece novels
Okay, can we just take a second or two to admire the cover of this book? I am in love with every last bit of it. Look at the colors! I love me a swoony book cover.
Onward to the review!
I could not wait to get my hands on this novel. Tea Cooper is an author whose name gets tossed around frequently in the bookworm circles, and I hoped I’d get a chance to review for her in the near future. (Either that, or my plan was just to buy up all of her books. Which *ahem* is still the plan.) But what especially had me intrigued about The Girl in the Painting was that it is a dual timeline; jumping back and forth between the characters’ past and present to help unravel the happenings. The thing about dual timelines, is that it’s a tough undertaking. Authors either excel at creating a smooth story, or make it clunky and uneven. Tea Cooper, however, did a brilliant job of interlacing the changing times.
First of all, I adored the characters. You can’t help but enjoy Michael and Elizabeth, and I dare you not to fall for Jane. She is a delightful cross between Anne (of Green Gables) and Jo from Little Women. Sweet, smart, full of spunk and antics; she definitely refused to stay on the page. (I know I’ve said this a million times, but if an author can create a character that continues to live and breathe long after you’ve closed the book, then you’ve found yourself an author worth keeping.)
But perhaps what “made” the story, if you will, was the author’s skill at creating a truly mysterious mystery. Do you ever solve the mystery early in a novel, and spend the rest of the book waiting for the characters to catch up? Not so with The Girl in the Painting. Watching events unfold after Elizabeth’s surprising reaction to the painting, I found myself truly at a loss as I attempted to piece the puzzle together. The twists and turns kept me guessing, and when the mystery was finally solved, I found myself just as surprised as everyone else. (Well, almost everyone else. Wink wink.)
Bottom Line: The Girl in the Painting boasts incredible settings, rich historical detail, memorably quirky characters and a perfectly woven timeline. Don’t let this one pass you by.
About the Author
Tea is an award-winning Australian author of historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse Thief, The Cedar Cutter, The Currency Lass, The Naturalist’s Daughter, The Woman in the Green Dress, and The Girl in the Painting.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, March 9
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Wednesday, March 10
Review at Crystal’s Library
Friday, March 12
Review at Jessica Belmont
Monday, March 15
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Wednesday, March 17
Review at the.b00kreader
Monday, March 22
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Tuesday, March 23
Review at Heidi Reads
Wednesday, March 24
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, March 25
Review at Read Review Rejoice
Friday, March 26
Review at Hallie Reads
Saturday, March 27
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, March 30
Review at Rachelle Loves Books
Wednesday, March 31
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary
Enter to win a paperback copy of The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.