Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ghost Portrait- Gregory Norminton - Review


Ghost Portrait

It was the antique beauty of the cover that drew me to the hardback charmer- Ghost Portrait.

Set in the 16th century, this small novel about a blind painter and his student at first riddled me. After giving it deep thought, I decided to press on through the dry reading and give the novel a worthy read. The outcome of the journey varied in opinions based on style, era and the ability the novel had to capture my attention and hold it long enough for me to grasp the concept of the story.

To me Gregory's style was like a detailed skeleton without any real flesh. Beautifully written, without a doubt, but most definitely not my cup of tea. I did enjoy it during some stages, but the constant change of time and character made is confusing in parts to keep up with what the story was about.

I enjoyed reading about Cynthia and the heavily pregnant wife of the painter -Belinda, whose portrait the story revolves around when Nathaniel [The Painter] asks his [Student] William if he would continue his portrait after his death, in return for Nathaniel's Daughter Cynthia.

Reading about Cynthia helped me determine the story and let me breathe through the sometimes heavy passages of old historical language that I, as a modern day reader have never heard of, nor thought of learning.

Much as in life, I have learned tid-bits of historical information about the 16th century that I was not aware of. Such as, reading and learning were forbidden to women and that the women's domain was a kitchen and that toilet paper was often pieces of fabric that was rinsed and washed under a sink after use.

For a diverse read in a different style I would suggest picking up this book and giving it a go. It does deserve the read, despite my previous inkling that I wasn't going to be able to read through till the end. I believe this book would be wonderfully suited to those with knowledge of the 16th century or fans of that historical genre.

Overall I'm giving this book two stars, maybe verging on a three ** - *** stars.


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