Monday, May 4, 2020

ARC Review: The Woman In the Painting by Kerry Postle

Title: The Woman In the Painting
Author: Kerry Postle
Publication: May 22, 2020 by HQ Digital
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4.5/5

‘She’s beautiful,’ I told him. ‘Hair like skeins of silk; deep, brown eyes that sparkle in the light like jewels; beautiful lips, deep pink, and as juicy as ripe fruit.’

Ideas rippled in the pools of his eyes. ‘I must paint her,’ he said.

1508. In Rome artists are everywhere, and feted as gods. But the most celebrated amongst them, a man who can paint beauty itself, is Raphael. When he touches brush to canvas, his subjects burst to life; he takes base metal and turns it to glistening gold.

When Raphael meets Margarita Luti, a baker’s daughter, he is beguiled and inspired in equal measure. As his muse, her face becomes that of a thousand Madonnas, but it is his portraits of her which reveal his full talents – and which will become his downfall.

For Raphael is wanted for greater things than a mere baker’s daughter. He is soon promised to the niece of a cardinal, a man upon whose connections and commissions the artist’s future relies. Without his good will, Raphael will be ruined.

Raphael must make a choice between his love for Margarita and his future as an artist – a choice that will have devastating consequences.

Inspired by a heartbreaking true story, this stunning and evocative novel is perfect for fans of Debbie Rix, Kate Furnivall and Dinah Jefferies.

In the historic and prominent trinity formed during the High Renaissance by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, I think that Raphael is the least well known out of the three great masters with most people. This is why I'm so happy that he was featured in The Woman in the Painting. Not only do I love reading about famous painters from the past but I also have a big weakness from reading books that are set during the Renaissance. The story and characters were fictionalized for this novel but it is inspired by a true story. And Kerry Postle wrote this all so beautifully.

I've already mentioned that this book features the artist Raphael but the story is told through the eyes of one of his apprentices named Pietro (although the story starts before he is actually an apprentice in Raphael's workshop). This is something I enjoyed very much because it gives a different perspective than you'd normally get. It also isn't just a book about Raphael's life or his art seen through the eyes of someone working with him. It's also very much a love story, albeit a tragic one. 

I know not a lot of readers will actually like Pietro. Maybe at the start they will but as the story goes on he does a lot of things that are for his own gain because of his feelings for Raphael and the jealousy he feels when the maestro he admires so much meets the love of his life, Margarita Luti, who turns out to be "just" a baker's daughter. I don't want to give too much away, at least not any more than I already did, about Pietro and everything happening in the story so it's pretty hard to describe him as a character but likeable he definitely wasn't. But there were times where I did feel a certain sympathy for him. I actually didn't mind his rather objectionable character that much because I thought it made things all the more interesting, if that makes even sense. And I do like reading about characters that are flawed like that. In the end, though, he does do the right thing which made me glad for sure.

The start of the book may have been a bit slow for me. It took me a few chapters to really get into the whole vibe of the story and characters but once I did I was thoroughly and completely hooked. I've read two books by this author before and Kerry Postle has this way of writing that's unique to any other auhor I've read before. It makes me feel as if I'm inside the story experiencing everything and it was definitely no different with The Woman in the Painting. I felt myself being transported inside the book to Renaissance Italy, I loved that. And also, this is now my favorite book of hers. I think it's already obvious that I highly enjoyed this story but I also really want to say that I truly loved it.  

Some paintings related to the book:

Portrait of a Woman by Sebastiano del Piombo

La velata, or La donna velata ("The woman with the veil") by Raphael

The Portrait of a Young Woman (also known as La fornarina) by Raphael


If you want to find out more about this book or the author you can find more info at:


  1. I saw this one and was curious about it. I’m glad to hear it is as good as it sounds.

  2. This sounds so good -- and you're right, next to Da Vinci and Michaelangelo you rarely hear about Raphael, which is a pity.

  3. Oh wow this looks really good. And I love the cover.

    Ash @ JennReneeRead

  4. What a fantastic concept! I have read very few novels that focus on famous artists and I am really intrigued by this one. Raphael is one that I know very little about. I can see why you loved this so much. :)

  5. Gargee Singh BhadoriaMay 6, 2020 at 2:34 PM

    This seems like something I'd like. I've always been interested in art and being transported to the Renaissance seems like my thing.

  6. I think the renaissance is one of my favourite historical periods to read about because I am starting to realise I love art history - anything to do with sculptures, painting and music in relation to history. I think I would love this.


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