The Very Picture of You
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The Very Picture of You

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3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  1,596 ratings  ·  264 reviews
Where the eye sees the brushstroke, the heart sees the truth.

At thirty-five, Gabriella “Ella” Graham is a successful portrait artist in London. She captures the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalizes it on canvas. But closer to home, Ella finds the truth more elusive. Her father abandoned the family when sh...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Bantam (first published 2011)
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Bonnie
‘The Very Picture of You’ was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Random House Publishing Group .

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

‘I felt like Tantalus, neck-deep in water that he could never drink, grasping at fruit that was always just out of reach.’

Storyline
Ella is an extremely successful portrait artist who has just been asked by her sister Chloe to do a portrait of her future brother-in-law, Nate, whom she despises. Early on in Nate and Chloe’s relationship, Ella overheard...more
Sandie
I had read Isabel Wolff's A VINTAGE AFFAIR and was quite taken by it, hence my excitement when THE VERY PICTURE OF YOU was offered. I must say that I was disappointed in the story. It was so predictable, and in a few instances downright vapid, that it failed to hold my interest.

While I will admit there was more than enough information about the preparation of canvas for a portrait and the myriad of colors artists use to achieve a look in the eyes, a particular skin tone, etc. those particular d...more
Laurel-Rain
As I read this wonderfully colorful story, I couldn't help thinking of the saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words." We learn Ella's story, as well as those of her family, friends, and the people she paints...as she paints them. In each sitting, Ella, the portrait artist, elicits the stories of her subjects. And as she gradually portrays them, we learn bits and pieces of her story as she interacts with them and reflects on her life.

At thirty-five, Ella Graham has a big hole in her heart...a...more
Nikki Wilde
liked this story. I finished in one day. The only disappointing thing for me is that sometimes you read a story and it stays with you for days and you keep thinking about it and going back over it and for me, this story was not like that. Don't get me wrong, it was good but just not one that I'm recapping in my head.

I loved the side stories that went with each character. Particularly, Iris. I loved her story and I couldn't wait to hear the entire thing. This novel was easy to predict. There was...more
Leah
I love Isabel Wolff, she is one of my favourite Chick Lit authors and there’s only two of her novels I haven’t read. The rest are all wonderful reads, with her last novel A Vintage Affair being a particular favourite. I was extremely pleased to see Isabel was back in 2011 with a new novel called The Very Picture of You and I couldn’t wait to read it and I nearly died when I received a copy to review. I did wonder if the novel would be as good as A Vintage Affair, because, seriously, that book wa...more
Wonderbunny
Ella paints portraits of other people. She spends hours staring at someone’s face, trying to capture not just their looks but a bit of what makes them who they are. She never paints herself though because if she did, the abandonment by her father might show up as part of whom she is. See, Ella has never really gotten over that and when the estranged father contacts her, she can’t see any choice but to refuse to see him.

When she is commissioned to paint her sister’s fiancé and two other people,...more
gertt
I can't say the book was bad, predictable perhaps, but more disappointing then bad.

The painting of portraits was interesting, as were the sitters and their stories...the good part of the book.

I did like Ella, the main character and only person in the book who respects marriage, commitment, and honesty. Unfortunately, she is surrounded by people who are never quite able to tell the truth.

Ella's mother, who has a perfect life, is bitter and angry with secrets of her own. Her father, John, who aba...more
Tonya
Isabel is a fantastic storyweaver. What I picked up thinking it would be a good book turned out to be a page turner. Complete with characters so well developed they feel real and utterly fascinating. Ella is an artist that paints people. She has a rule though, only in real life. She doesn't do any paintings from pictures or post humous -- However Ella will find out a lot about herself and others around her very quickly.

Ella's mother told her when she was 11 that her father abandoned them for ano...more
Kim Nash
This was the story of Ella, a portrait artist whose reputation is growing through painting some very high profile people as well as some sitters that she thought would be normal but that told some extremely interesting, emotional and heart warming stories. When her mother cajoles her into giving away a portrait for a charity auction prize, she is devastated when her sister Chloe pays for her to her paint her fiancé Nate who she really dislikes due to a conversation she has overheard him having w...more
Mark Soone
I am flirting with the idea of 5 stars, but cannot decide! I won this book on goodreads (Thanks Ania), and had never heard of Isabel Wolff and did not really know what to excpect. The inside flap of the book was slightly different than the write up on good reads and my excpectations going into this declined and were not real high. Combine that with the fact that this is not my normal genre...and I still don't know exactly what genre lable to place upon this book.

This story is heart breaking and...more
Vonia
The thing I love and/or hate about Wolff is that her novels are always lauded as "Summer Beach Reads"... well, I disagree... for the most part. I think they are much more in depth, & insightful than the "picture" (ha) that phrase elicits. In this one, I was impressed by the amount of research that had to be done to understand the world of a portrait artist. To be completely honest, I went to The National Portrait Gallery only a week before reading this, & I really wish I had waited... be...more
Sarah-eve
Too predictable for me!
Book-shelf Shelf
I've given up looking at a book n thinking 'hmmmm not sure it my thing'... as i do that so much and then am captivated by the story so much that i end up only talking about that book for ages. This has happened with this book, the story of Ella painting portraits is one on its own, but then the sitters storys come into it, along with Ella's mom. Each story is unique but tied to that person so firmly and told so well. I loved every page of this book and can usually see the out come by half way th...more
Mireille
Toujours plaisant d'avoir des suggestions de lecture de sources inattendues, comme ici, ma belle-mère qui m'a gentiment prêté ce livre trouvé dans une bibliothèque style "Libérez les livres".

C'était très bon. Mon seul hic, c'est qu'il y avait tellement d'adultères et d'aventures extra-conjugales qu'on aurait dit que 100% des gens allaient voir ailleurs, ce qui est un peu déprimant, et j'avoue que je trouve ça moins romantique quand une relation amoureuse commence alors que l'un des partis est en...more
Erin
Very breezy, predictable novel about a woman learning about not just the secrets of her own past but that everyone around her has secrets. The details about painting make this stand out more than the usual romance, but I really disliked the idea that the main character could hook up with her sister's ex-fiance with absolutely no bad blood between them. Not to mention the ickiness factor of sleeping with a man who had sex with your sister.
Nicki
This is a great book and one that hooked me right from the start and one that i could definitely read again. I really enjoyed reading about the different characters who were totally believable, and the family secrets that had been hidden for decades. I also really enjoyed the whole setting of painting portraits and reading about how that works. I can't wait to read Isabel Wolff's next book and hope I don't have to wait too long for it.
Treasa
When portrait artist Ella is given the commission to paint her sister's fiance, Nate, she dreads it. She has hated Nate since the first time she met him. But she soon learns that she may have misjudged him - badly. In fact, she is about to find out that her opinion of Nate might not be the only thing in her life that she's been mistaken about. After all, secrets tend to come out while an artist is painting a portrait.

I loved this book. Just loved it. And after I had completely devoured it, I imm...more
Alison
This was a good story of a young woman Ella, who from an early age could draw portraits. Her father had left when she was only five years old and she would draw his likeness to be able to remember him.
As an adult she has many commissions to paint people of all walks of life, as she is able to capture the persons true essence. During her 12 hours of painting her sitters, she is able to find out a lot about her subjects and what makes them who they are, thus being able to capture their likeness.
Th...more
Deanna
I got through about 20 pages and said, "enough of this!" I thought I wanted something 'light' but this was not worth spending time on.
Laura
I agree with other reviewers that while this book was a bit above an average "chick-lit" book, the plot felt much too predictable and formulaic. I had a hard time buying the speed with which Ella went from hating Nate's guts to being head over heels in love with him. I also found Ella's mum to be very two-dimensional and unbelievable. While I understand as a mother myself the strong desire to protect one's children, the lengths she went to to not only hide, but recreate the truth was a bit over...more
Melissa
Like so many of the other reviews, what I enjoyed most about this novel were the stories that came from the "sitters".

"At thirty-five, Gabriella Graham—“Ella” to her family and friends—has already made a name for herself as a successful portrait artist in London. She can capture the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalize it on canvas. This gift has earned Ella commissions from royals and regular folks alike. But closer to home, Ella...more
Berny
Feb 22, 2014 Berny rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This book drew me in because of the description in the back, specially the part about seeing people as they are through a portrait, though even then I could sort of guess how the book was going to turn out.
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The book begins with Ella being a painter and as the story progresses we learn about her difficult past and about the people that have commissioned portraits from her. This seems fine until the author attempts to bring a little mystery to the story by keeping "key" elements in order to unveil...more
Abria Mattina
This could have been a very formulaic book--the heroine falls in love with a man who's off limits; her best friend is quirky but supportive; old family secrets, etc. While some aspects of the book did seem a bit staid, Wolff manages to infuse the plot with originality through her attention to the main character, Ella, her mother, and her best friend Polly.

Ella has an interesting and successful career as a portrait painter, and I enjoyed learning about the world of an artist who deals specificall...more
Danielle
As a successful portrait artist, Ella Graham has the opportunity daily to capture the very essence of the people she paints. After an ill-fated relationship her sister Chloe is now in the throws of newly found happiness with a man Ella despises, Nate. When their sudden engagement is announced Chloe would like nothing more than to have Ella paint Nate’s portrait. After countless hours together and the understanding that comes with talking they find that there may be more to their relationship. Wi...more
SIMON Karine
J'ai découvert Isabel Wolff sur les conseils d'une amie, lors d'une période ou j'avais besoin de quelque chose de léger à lire. "Tout ton portrait !" n'est donc pas le premier roman de cette Auteure que je lis.

Si j'ai aprécié les précédements romans d'Isabel Wolf, j'ai tout simplement adoré son dernier opus. L'histoire est bien plus complexe qu'une simple histoire de chick-lit, même si on y retrouve certains ingrédients, je trouve que les sentiments y sont mieux décrits sans virer dans le mélodr...more
Christine
Ella Graham is 35-years old, single and leading a happy life as a portrait painter living in London. She enjoys what she does and because of her talent her career is taking off. As her younger half-sister Chloe announces her engagement and commissions Ella to paint a portrait of her fiancée, a man Ella does not like, Ella’s story starts to unfold. Going along on portrait sittings for various characters the reader learns a little about portraiture art and a lot about Ella. As her artistic fame gr...more
Ricki Jill Treleaven
Sorry I am getting this post up so late. It has been an extremely busy day! This week I read The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff. This is an excellent beach/lake read, and the main character is a portrait artist, so I enjoyed it immensely. I did like it better than A Vintage Affair because I was not crazy about the ending.

Gabriella Graham (Ella for short) is an up and coming portrait artist in London. She recently painted the Dutchess of Cornwall for the National Gallery, and she is being fe...more
Michelle
Even though you can predict the ending from the middle of the story, it's still a gripping read, still a page turner. Ella is a portrait painter, and quite a lot of the book is taken up with learning the lives of the people she paints. These stories are examples of the human condition, in all it's happy and situations, and an enjoyable part of the book.

There are probably two other main parts to the story. Ella has been brought up by her mother and stepfather, and circumstances lead her to wonde...more
Anna
I won this as a goodreads give-away and admit I did not pick it up right away, maybe because the cover of the uncorrected proof is so bland, I'm not sure. But the old adage stands, don't judge a book by it's cover, because I throughly enjoyed this book. I found compelled to keep reading as i wanted to know the stories of Ella, her family and those of whom she painted their portraits. Sitting for a portrait is such an intimate relationship in which Ella was able to examine the souls of those she...more
Ingrid Fasquelle
J'attendais fébrilement la sortie du nouveau roman d'Isabel Wolff. J'espérais vraiment qu'il soit dans la même veine que le précédent, "Un Amour vintage", que j'avais beaucoup apprécié et qui reste, selon moi, le meilleur de l'auteure. Pour mon plus grand bonheur, la réponse est oui ! Isabel Wolff y confirme le tournant amorcé dans son précédent roman et signe une nouvelle comédie tendre et pleine d'émotions ! L'histoire, à proprement parler, ne révolutionne pas les codes du genre. On y trouve t...more
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Isabel Wolff's ten bestselling novels are published worldwide. 'Ghostwritten', set in present day Cornwall and on wartime Java, was published in the UK in March 2014; 'The Very Picture of You' was published in the UK and the US in October 2011. 'A Vintage Affair', was an Amazon.co.uk 'Best of 2009' title and was shortlisted by the American Library Assocation for their Reading List awards (Women's...more
More about Isabel Wolff...
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