Friday, 1 March 2013

Guest Book Review: Charlotte Betts - The Painter's Apprentice

Reviewed by Ceri Kehoe

1688. Beth Ambrose has led a sheltered life within Merryfields, her family home on the outskirts of London; a place where her parents provide a sanctuary for melancholic souls. A passionate and gifted artist, Beth shares a close bond with Johannes the painter, who nurtures her talents and takes her on as his apprentice.

But as political tensions begin to rise in the capital, Noah Leyton arrives at her family home in the middle of the night with a proposition that turns Beth's world upside down. And when Merryfields becomes refuge to a mysterious new guest, whose connections provide an opportunity for Beth to fulfil her artistic ambitions, she soon realises that it comes at a price...

This book follows on from The Apothecary's Daughter. The Painter's Apprentice follows Susannah's daughter Beth Ambrose. It's 1688 and they live in Merryfields, a place where people can stay if they suffer from melancholia or depression. Beth has got close to Johannes, a painter and resident at Merryfields. He nurtures her talent and if you like becomes her teacher.

Noah Leyton arrives from America and Beth who has already decided that she isn't going to marry but devote her life to painting is shocked when she discovers she has feelings for him.

With political tensions rising, a mysterious guest comes to stay but just who is she and what connections does she have?

I find myself writing this just days after Betts won Historical Romantic Novel for The Apothecary's Daughter at the RoNA's! I must mention first that I'm quite particular in reading a series in order, I feel that when reading a second (third or more) in a series, you miss out on how relationships are built and how characters are perceived, I don't fully understand the workings of a relationship between characters if I haven't started from the beginning.

I did enjoy this book despite getting a bit confused at to who was related to who but that didn't spoil it for me, historically the facts were all correct and the descriptions of things like the gardens, flowers, even the River Thames was just how I imagined it to be, nothing was left out!

All the characters were people I could relate to, whether I liked them or not was another thing! I wasn't too keen on Cecily, Beth's sister or their step grandmother Lady Arabella. There were a few comical characters in the book including Joshua and Samuel, Beth's uncles, they were a pair of rascals!

I'd recommend this book, particulary if you read and enjoyed The Apothecary's Daughter. A four out of five star read for me.

I'd like to thank Madeleine at Piatkus for sending us a copy of this book to review.

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