I have reviewed The Portrait by Cassandra Austen for Reader’s Favorite.
The Portrait by Cassandra Austen is a book written in Jane Austen’s style and executed with a similar perfection. The story is set in the late 18th century. It revolves around Lady Catherine Claverton and the choices that she made. Her father, an earl, always wanted a son; however, that was not meant to be. When he was blessed with a child who was not only a girl but also a crippled child, the Earl chose to ignore her altogether. He moved Catherine far away from her childhood home and never treated her with the love and affection that every daughter deserves. His mean actions took a toll on the free-spirited Catherine.
When the Earl became bedridden, she decided to get married before he died. Nevertheless, her decision was driven more by her desire to take revenge on her father than anything else. As the news of her father’s deteriorating condition spread, she found herself in the middle of a love triangle: her best friend, Lyle Barrington, and Captain Jocelyn Avebury. Although she had known Lyle Barrington for years, she found herself more inclined towards Captain Avebury, a man whom she knew only for a few days. There was something about Jocelyn that made her feel at ease, but he had a troubled past that he was quite secretive about. On top of all that, Catherine had quite a few secrets of her own.
I enjoyed everything about The Portrait by Cassandra Austen. Her characters are strong-willed, compassionate, secretive, honorable, deceiving, and very complex in nature. Lyle Barrington is the most complex of them all. He is neither all good nor all bad, and that is precisely what makes him the most unpredictable and amusing character. Captain Avebury’s dilemma in choosing the sea, something that he believes to be the love of his life, and Catherine, a woman whom he cannot ignore, is well portrayed.
Thinking her private thoughts, thoughts that no one in the world would imagine someone such as she might have, made her happy. She always had the better of everyone in society: they could not conceal what they really were and they did not know that Lady Catherine Claverton was watching.An excerpt from The Portrait by Cassandra Austen
Catherine’s character has been painted flawlessly. She dreams of absolute freedom and does not let her bad leg stop her from fulfilling her desire. She is the strongest character, in my opinion. She does not let her duties prevent her from living her life to the fullest. Once she makes up her mind, there is no stopping her. I admire the author for creating a woman with such a glorious personality, one who is beautiful inside and out. The Portrait starts at a slow, yet intriguing pace, and soon holds its reader’s undivided attention. There are so many twists and secrets. As a reader, I found myself unable to think about anything other than the story before reaching the climax. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy books in Jane Austen’s writing style, with strong characters, and an intriguing plot.