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The Crimson Portrait:
A Novel

by Jody Shields



With what a deep devotedness of woe
I wept thy absence - o'er and o'er again
Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought grew pain,
And memory, like a drop that, night and day,
Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart away!
                                                 ~Thomas Moore

Catherine found herself heartbroken and alone after she lost her husband in WWI. To help honor his memory, she kept a promise that she made to him to turn their English estate into a makeshift army hospital if anything were to ever happen to him. To help prepare for the patients all mirrors were removed from the home. As the first of the many wounded arrived and settled in Catherine got an up-close, personal look at the horrific aftermath of war. Broken in body and soul these men have been given an opportunity to have their bodies rebuilt by a talented surgeonís hands.

Julian is one of the patients who have been brought to the hospital. Half of his face was destroyed as a result of shrapnel. Catherine finds that he reminds her very much of her late husband. She befriends him and the two grow close. She learns that the Doctors are working on a mask that will help Julian live a normal life. Unknown to Julian, Catherine is plotting with the Doctors to help reconstruct his face to resemble her deceased husbandís.

I thought when love for you died, I should die.
It's dead. Alone, most strangely, I live on.
                                                    ~Rupert Brooke

The Crimson Portrait is a true work of art. The tone of this story goes from being a tear jerking romance, to a dark gritty sinister novel. Jody Shields does an outstanding job of presenting the variety of tones that cross in this one book. Readers will be swept away with her unsurpassed talent. She has written a book that will long haunt your thoughts. Very highly recommended.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company
December 1, 2006
ISBN10: 0316785288
ISBN13: 978-0316785280
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The Reviewer

Suzie Housley
Reviewed 2007
© 2006