An Audiobook Review by Jackie Houchin
THE GIRL IN THE PAINTING by Tea Cooper is a wondrous historical fiction novel set in Australia. Brother and sister travel from England to Australia in the late 1800’s to join their parents who emigrated from Ireland first to establish a new home for them. (Ireland was suffering in the great potato famine.) But sorrow and hardship await the two youngsters.
Still, with hard work and smarts, they overcome and become wealthy benefactors and business owners. They take in a young orphan with an aptitude for numbers and educate her and make her as family. The story for the majority of the book follows these two timelines – that of siblings Martin and Elizabeth O’Quinn and of the young orphan, Jane Piper.
The writing is compelling and rich in history and setting. There are hard times, new beginnings, and sweet young romance. But in the later years a horrendous nightmare puzzle haunts Elizabeth and tests her sanity. Martin tasks Jane to find the solution using her keen analytical mind. But it takes an unusual painting to set her on the right track.
The solution to Elizabeth’s “dilemna” is jaw dropping. At the satisfying and heart-cheering ending, you think you “maybe” should have picked up on it, but as you read and get engrossed in this unputdownable book…well, maybe YOU would have, but I didn’t see it. The very end of the epilogue left me with “happy tears!” A fantastic final knot to the long engrossing story. Love never fails.
The narrator, Casey Withoos, was perfect with all the voices and accents.
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