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The Portrait

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  346 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Scarred by his past, the reigning master of the New York art world, Jonas Whitaker, hid behind his talent in a glittering emptiness--until Imogene pushes her way into his life. She has come to learn from the master--his artist's secrets and his amazing passion. She wants to be swept up into his seductive world--until she sees the price he paid for his talent.
Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Dell (first published 1995)
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Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“They say they love you and then they leave.”

O lord have mercy on my romantic soul, what a stroke of genius. W/ sensitivity & pinpoint accuracy, MC captures the unflinching snapshot of Bipolar aka Manic depressive disorder. U can tell she has done her homework. She illustrates so eloquently the harrowing experience, the symptoms & manifestations of this illness thru’ the visions of “Mad Jonas” & those around him. Compulsive shopping : check. Uncontrollable rages : check. Volatile moo
Tammy Walton Grant
Wow. I gotta say this book is unlike any historical romance I can remember reading. I'm going to use the word dark simply because I can't think of another at the moment but I'm not sure it fits.


The Portrait is extremely well-written. Not only can the author create heart-breakingly beautiful imagery, but I'm thinking she either spent a LOT of time researching bipolar disorder or she has some first-hand experience with it. Her portrayal of the Hero's cycle -- he's
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
The Portrait was dark, angsty and riveting. At times, I wasn’t sure that I liked Jonas. However, I came to see that his initial cruelty towards Imogene arose out of his despair, his hopelessness about his life. People are often cruel out of self-defense. He felt a sense of powerlessness about his mental illness, and his dependence on his patrons to keep a roof over his head and to be able to do the one thing that had meaning for him, to pursue his art. As the book progresses, I saw that Jonas wa ...more
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Anyone tired of reading cliche romances should check this book out. I've never read one like this before and I probably never will.

DARK doesn't begin to describe this one. Jonas Whitaker is a brilliant artist who also struggles with bipolar (manic/depressive) disorder. He has been left by people who could not contend with his mental illness his whole life. He is lonely, isolated, and on the brink of "madness".

Imogene comes to him as a student wanting to learn from a "master". She has been over
Preeti ♥︎ (Romance She Reads)
She was looking at him as if he were God, and in that moment he felt as if he were. He was God, and she was his Eve, more perfect than Adam had ever been, more interesting.

The book about a tortured but brilliant artist who takes pleasure in humiliating his new student, the h seemed like just the book to read.
What I dint know beforehand was that the H actually suffered from MDP and was not just another 'tortured soul'. Handling such mcs with care, knowledge and sensitivity is essential and he
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read very contradicting reviews about the book. Apparently this is not a book for everyone. I was very curious about Jonas, the bi-polar artist hero in this book. So even though I found Imogene, the heroine rather dull from the excerpt I read, I wanted to find out more about Jonas.

Jonas is one of the few truly dark heros I have read. Granted, there have been dark heros, and some of them were poignantly portrayed. But Jonas' predicament is on a whole different level of darkness: he was, di
*4.5 stars.*

Rarely do I think of a book as a seductive read. This story was. THE PORTRAIT was deep, dark and delicious. It sucked me in on a journey into madness.

Jonas Whitaker was an anti-hero. Throughout the first half of the book there were not many nice things you could say about him. He was mean, rude, crass, amoral and vindictive. He was also brilliant, insightful and imaginative beyond reason. He was an artist; he painted with emotion.

But this was 1855 New York; a city known for its crim
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a ride this book was. New York, 1885. Jonas is a brilliant artist who suffers from manic/bi-polar episodes. He is scarred mentally and physically, he is missing a hand. Imogene comes to Jonas' studio as a student, but she does not know that Jonas was forced to take her on by her godfather who is his patron. He deeply resents her being there, and does all he can to get her to quit. We can see that he is heading towards an "episode". I felt like a deer caught in the headlights watching i ...more
1. First 200 pages were amazing. It was vibrant art involving lovable characters. The unique approach in the old New York setting blew me away.

2. The last half of the book was, in a way, insulting to art. I felt like the main character Jonas lost his artistic aura and the story turned the opposite direction.

3. It was too long for a book whose second half was so disliking.

Yea...I said that twice.

However, the book is worth reading because some readers might find the entire book a beauty...I almos
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, historical
This story is like a car wreck. I couldn't look away.
Jonas and Imogene had experienced so much isolation and pain that I have never wanted relief for two people more. The emotions are so beautifully portrayed..despair, understanding, hope. And friendship; Rico was so....true.
I'm still thinking about this story.
I Wonder how they're doing :)
Juliana Philippa
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every single person I know on Earth
Recommended to Juliana Philippa by: Hannah
Full review to come. 5+ stars
Aside from one extremely offensive line and the inclusion of the much-hated (at least by me) Big Misunderstanding / Things Left Unsaid ploy, this book was unbelievably wonderful.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
i hope someday i'm able to get over this book
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
The Portrait by Megan Chance was a really well written and compelling story. It's about Jonas Whitaker's life, his struggle with bi-polar disorder in historical times and the love between him and Imogene, a woman who was searching for someone to love her.

If I rated the books I read purely on the quality of the book I would have given The Portrait a higher rating. However, the Portrait was not the most comfortable read. The relationship between the characters was fraught with difficulty and I wa
I could completely understand why this book is on a lot of peoples Keeper shelf but I personally am not fond of heroines with major self esteem issues, even if they're a strong woman otherwise, and the author writes compelling enough to warrant my sympathy. Theres should be a limit to any pity-party. To me, it just sounded like 400 pages worth of whining.. The first half was notably better than the latter.

The hero I found simply incredible, flaws and all, especially because of them. He was dra
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully heartbreaking dark tale of one of the most tortured souls I have ever read about (and believe me, there have been many). The time period, the locale, the subject matter, and the leading characters unabashedly drew me in and, with a stranglehold, kept me riveted until I finished the story.

Why am I just now "discovering" this author? Why did I wait so long to read this book that has been on my TBR list for so long? The answers to these and other questions will ... remain unanswe
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, historical
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book.
Original, amazing and touching.
3.5 Really good historical portrayal of a tortured hero with bipolar disorder.
Mary Kate
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a good story! The first 60% of the book had me a little worried.

First we have Imogene swept away by Jonas in his wonderful world. And I was just like 'girl you are just a play thing for him right now.' And then Jonas crashes from his high and we realize he's one of those genius's that has crazy bouts of inspiration & extreme lows.

It's when everything comes crashing down that Imogene realizes she wants to be with Jonas for the rest of her life.

I liked the calm after the storm. I like
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the beginning of the book. It had a lot of intrigue and excitement, but that fizzled out quite quickly when Imogene, a previously respectable young lady spends a night in te company of two men. Even with my 21st century thinking, that make me uncomfortable - it would be unheard of in the time period of the story.

I found this book off a recommendation after reading Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm. I found that, in comparison, this book handled the topic of mental illness poorly. Half the
Jamie H
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
This one... I don't know. There was nothing about the writing that I could put my finger on, but every time I read about someone's breath quickening or heart pounding I wanted to roll my eyes. I just wasn't into it.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
**Possible Spoilers** Oh man, I really enjoyed this book. It was not at all what I expected, especially for a time period piece. It had all the makings to be a simple, straight forward romance; shy girl goes to famous artist to learn to paint, said brooding artist finds he is secretly enamored with shy girl, passion ensues and a long lasting love is created, but man was that not the case. Imogene wanted to be an artist so she was "fortunate" enough to be able to study under the brilliantly talen ...more
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bi-Polar/Manic-Depressive. Beautiful, unusual story about the need for unconditional love. I'm glad there was such a great supporter for each of them (Rico and the godfather) otherwise the story would have been too much of a downer. The end dragged on a bit with the repeated reasoning for not being together, but it was worth the ending. I'm glad there was no pretense about his mental illness disappearing in the future, and I'm glad that he was able to do something for her as well. It wasn't just ...more
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I feel like genre conventions limited what Chance could have done here (although obviously there are people like Laura Kinsale who can write about chaotic emotions while working within a genre's structure). This was a decent effort from Chance but the latter 2/3 of the story fails to live up to its interesting premise. It turned into a bad melodrama that had no substance, which is a shame.
Sedoo Ashivor
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would have given this book five stars except that I was almost offended by the blasphemous rantings of a nearly mad man.
But what a rollercoaster of a read! Very emotion-filled and turbulent. It is tough to see what goes through the mind of the mentally ill. Tough.
The romance was OK, nothing extraordinary. Still, an excellently written book. I flew through the pages.
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Story of a woman who was seem for what she was capable of becoming, of more than what she believed she could be. I enjoyed the book, the struggle of the artist who loved her. It took awhile to make it's point though.
La Mala ✌
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Voy a permitirle un largo suspiro satisfecho a mi romàntica obsesiva interior.


¿Còmo no me va a gustar una historia de amor sobre un pintor manìaco-depresivo y su estudiante depresiva y emocionalmente-dependiente? La combinaciòn ideal .

Muy buen libro en el gènero .
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Aaaahhh it was soo goooood! I loovvedd iitt! But couldn't you have given me an epilogue or something for God's sake I wanted to see them marry! Oh well unfortunately books end i will definitely miss genie and Jonas :)
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. calls her "a writer of extraordinary talent." Her books have been chosen by Amazon's Book of the Month, Borders Original Voices and IndieBound's Booksense. A former television ne
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