Donna Birdsell, The Painted Rose Reviews

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Donna Birdsell, The Painted Rose
★★★★★
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“The Painted Rose ”

★★★★★

written by Harriet Klausner on 05/08/2004

The Painted Rose
Donna Birdsell
Berkley, Sep 2004, $6.99
ISBN: 0425198049

In 1777, with the deaths of his wife Katrina and their child Tessa in a tragic Paris fire in which he felt he could have saved their lives, haunted artist Lucien Delacourte leaves France to tutor an English woman. When he arrives at Whitford, he learns from the locals that his destination, Elmsford House, is haunted by a veiled phantom. The host, Lord James Essington, is surprised that someone showed up for the position, but welcomes the newcomer anyway.

James abruptly leaves, so Lucien wanders around until he sees a mysterious woman wearing veils. He learns she is the earl's sister and his student, Lady Sarah, who escorts Lucien on a tour of her gardens. To his amazement she has brought vigor to his life as he enjoys talking with her and needs to see her visage. Lucien learns that she wants to paint her gardening efforts to present as a catalogue to the Royal Botanical Society. Soon he falls in love with her inner beauty though he has yet to see her face. Sarah reciprocates, but knows her beloved mourns his losses.

This Georgian romance is a terrific tale because of the deep characterizations of the prime five (including the Earl's dowager Mom) residing at Elmsford House. Readers can compare the differences between James's amoral wife Julia and his sister hiding behind veils due to a tragic accident. Lucien is a wonderful protagonist as he struggles with guilt over his deceased wife and child while falling in love with Sarah, face unseen. Fans will enjoy Donna Birdsell's delightful debut and look forward to more historical romances from this talented newcomer.

Harriet Klausner

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