I received a copy of this book on Netgalley
This book became available on NetGalley last week because the sequel was being published. With its gorgeous cover art and interesting story of a girl becoming an artist’s muse, I couldn’t help but click.
When Mary Adams sees Millais’ depiction of the tragic Ophelia, a whole new world opens up for her. Determined to find out more about the beautiful girl in the painting, she hears the story of Lizzie Siddal – a girl from a modest background, not unlike her own, who has found fame and fortune against the odds. Mary sets out to become a Pre-Raphaelite muse, too, and reinvents herself as Persephone Lavelle. But as she fights her way to become the new face of London’s glittering art scene, ‘Persephone’ ends up mingling with some of the city’s more nefarious types and is forced to make some impossible choices.
Will Persephone be forced to betray those she loves, and even the person she once was, if she is to achieve her dreams?
Historical fiction with a decent splash of paint, Following Ophelia sets the scene for us as Mary takes up a position in London, working as a housemaid for a middle-class family. However, her pre-Raphaelite looks catch the eye of the local art scene, and she soon begins living a double life, as an artist’s muse. Meeting an enthusiastic, obsessive artist, she soon finds that the world she has fallen into is not all that it seems, and intrigue lurks not far beneath the surface.
Richly drawn, and with some solid historical research backing it up, I felt like the weakest part of Following Ophelia was, sadly, the characters. Mary didn’t click with me at all, so I felt no sympathy or empathy for her, in any of her endeavours. But I think that was definitely that it didn’t click for me. This sweeping romance is sure to delight artists and romance fans alike, with references to pre-Rapahelite greats and a story interwoven with the movement, there’s plenty to satisfy every romantic at heart.
This book wasn’t ideal for me, as I failed to connect with it, but I think it was just that the book didn’t suit me, as opposed to it being a bad book. So if you have an interest in art, historical fiction, historical London, or pre-Raphaelite painting, this one is sure to be a joy!