“Portraits, Passions, and Other Pastimes” is a Regency romance by Charlie Lane. It’s the first book in the Art of Love’ series, the rest of which promise to be equally entertaining. This book was creative and so much fun.
The prologue of the story introduces the main characters, Raph and Matilda. He’s the eldest son of a Marquess and she’s governess to his youngest siblings. In that introduction we also find out that his parents are very unusual people who value art above all else – and the way they spend money proves it. The lack of money forces the position of governess to be eliminated from the household. Fast forward 15 years and Raph has inherited the title his late father held, along with official responsibility for the financially bankrupt estate. He’s already spent the last 15 years paying off debts his parents incurred and continued to amass. Now he’s also dealing with his bereaved mother and wild stipulations in his father’s will. Matilda worked for years as a governess for other people, and then as a paid companion to a series of widows. Raph has helped her find each position, so when he realizes he has to find someone to help his mother, Matilda is the natural choice.
It would be impossible to describe all that takes place in this book; you simply have to experience it for yourself. The main characters are entertaining in the actions they take and their thought processes as awareness sparks and grows between them. Their personalities are similar in ways that make them clash, but that also provides them with insight and understanding about each other. And when they give in to their mutual attraction… Be warned that steam might arise from the pages of your book. There are a lot of secondary characters, each of whom adds so much to the overall story. The dialogue and banter are well done, as is the pacing with which it all unfolds. I thought the ending was excellent, and am looking forward to the stories to come about the rest of Raph’s siblings.