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Summary

Missing masterpieces, Nazi blackmailers, and a pesky amateur sleuth. 

When a Dutch art dealer hides the stock from his gallery - rather than turn it over to his Nazi blackmailer - he pays with his life, leaving a treasure trove of modern masterpieces buried somewhere in Amsterdam, presumably lost forever. That is, until American art history student Zelda Richardson sticks her nose in. 

After studying for a year in the Netherlands, Zelda scores an internship at the prestigious Amsterdam Museum, where she works on an exhibition of paintings and sculptures once stolen by the Nazis, lying unclaimed in Dutch museum depots almost seventy years later. When two women claim the same portrait of a young girl entitled Irises, Zelda is tasked with investigating the painting's history and soon finds evidence that one of the two women must be lying about her past. Before she can figure out which one it is and why, Zelda learns about the Dutch art dealer's concealed collection. And that Irises is the key to finding it all. 

Her discoveries make her a target of someone willing to steal - and even kill - to find the missing paintings. As the list of suspects grows, Zelda realizes she has to track down the lost collection and unmask a killer if she wants to survive. 

  • Chill with a Book's January 2018 Book of the Month 
  • One of TripFiction’s 10 Favorite Books set in Amsterdam 
  • One of The Displaced Nation's Top 36 Expat Fiction Picks of 2016 
  • Number 14 in the BookLife Prize for Fiction 2016, Mystery category 
  • Silver Cup Winner of Rosie's Book Review Team Awards 2017 in the Mystery category 

The Lover’s Portrait is the perfect novel for those who love art, history, and mystery. The Adventures of Zelda Richardson series are stand-alone novels and can be listened to in any order.  

©2016 Jennifer S. Alderson (P)2017 Jennifer S. Alderson

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
  • 07-06-18

Art & Intrigue

An excellent story with only a few minor reservations over the narration. Lost art, nazis and desperate people - all make for a great story full of history and art in context.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gripping art mystery

This has all the ingredients of a great mystery story: plucky heroine, machiavellian villains, interesting background, and lost of twists and turns culminating in a gripping finale.
The narration is good, with the narrator managing to take on the voices of the different characters and inject emotions of excitement, fear, frustration and anxiety into her reading.
Recommended for fans of mysteries especially those with an interest in art.

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  • cosmitron
  • 22-04-18

Loving Art through good times and bad.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes....... its combination of Art,History,Mystery and a good thriller make it a compelling
book.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Zelda is growing and learning about Art the great suffering of being Jewish during
World War 2 and becoming more of the person she soon will become.

Which scene was your favorite?

N/A

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

History can come home to haunt you.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • BookBelle
  • 07-06-18

Great story, not so great narration...

This is one I've got mixed feelings about. I really enjoyed the story, but I wish I'd read the book instead of the listening to the audiobook in this case. The narration was a mess, with several of the characters being voiced so robotically it was laughable and the main character being voiced almost childishly. It was distracted and took away from what was really an interesting and well-researched mystery. If you're a fan of art history, particularly surrounding what happened to the art stolen by the Nazis in World War II, then you'll enjoy this book. But I'd recommend reading it...***This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.***

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  • Sheila Enright
  • 06-06-18

Clueless heroine and suspenseless story

The heroine was unbelievably wishy-washy and every part of the plot was telegraphed way ahead of time.

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  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 03-05-18

Great history, mystery!

I really enjoyed this one. It reminded me quite a bit of Woman in Gold. An old lady trying to make a claim on a piece of art that belonged to her family but was lost to them in WWII. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy mysteries and love a little history mixed in. It was a fairly clean book too other then the dropping of the F word a handful of times that I felt the story could have done without.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • BookLover
  • 01-05-18

Perfect Ending

This book was so much better than was expected, although it did take about 3 chapters to start getting into it, but as the story progressed, I could not quit listening to it. I give the narrator kudos for pronouncing the artist and museums names....there were so many, but Carol did a beautiful job. This is a book that I would recommend and even possibly reread.


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
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  • in1ear (John Row)
  • 28-04-18

Monuments Men meet Woman in Gold plotline

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would. Some of my friends are interested in the story as I am.

What other book might you compare The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery to and why?

Mentioned Monument Men and the Woman in Gold. Lover's Portrait contains elements of both.

What about Carol Purdom’s performance did you like?

I thought she did a fantastic job with various voices. Her voice is strong, easy to listen to.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Lover's Portrait

Any additional comments?

I was given a copy of this audio book in return for an honest review.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my opinions.
I enjoyed the subject matter.

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  • Darc
  • 26-04-18

WW2 Stolen Art

Zelda Richardson, is an art history student living in Amsterdam, hoping to be chosen for Master’s program in Art History at the University She received a short internship with a restoration foundation, that is trying to find the rightful owners of works of art which have been misappropriated by the Nazis during WW2. One particular painting has 2 women claiming that they are the rightful owners. One of the claimants is genuine and Zelda sets out to find the proof going behind her employers back. This book is a great mystery involving conspiracy, history and intrigue. I could not stop listening. The narration was excellent as is the plot.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • ReadingRover
  • 11-02-18

Great art history mystery!

What a great art history mystery!!! This was such an interesting book about artwork lost during WWII being located and reunited with survivors and their families. Zelda was an incredibly dogged amateur investigator. Even though she did go a bit overboard and get herself into trouble at times she was determined as hell to find out what really happened. I admire that in a character. I loved Fredrick her compliant guy friend too. He was such a good sport. The whole process of reuniting paintings with their original owners seemed so tedious yet satisfying. The story about the painting Irises was just fascinating. It was heartbreaking, beautiful and tragic.
There were parts of the book that were a bit drawn out like the museum meetings themselves and some of Zelda’s internal thoughts but nothing too extreme.
This audiobook was well produced. The parts of all the Dutch characters were really well done as were those of all the other characters. Each one easy to understand while still being distinct.
I’m excited to listen to the next book in the series. I look forward to seeing what else Zelda gets herself involved in.

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  • HABS
  • 01-02-18

Amazing thriller that will keep you on your sit!!!

Amazing job by the author putting every bit of the story together. The historical background of Amsterdam combined with a thrilling story of stolen pieces of art perfectly entwined...Only thing is it has a slow start. BUT stay there, DONT quit as it will just get better.

While I didn't like how some of the characters were narrated, as I had to speed up the narration in some parts .Still think it was a decent job and very professionally done!

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • BOOKTALK WITH EILEEN
  • 01-01-18

Enjoy 'Nancy Drew' of Amsterdam in this Mystery

The teaser on the front cover gave me some idea where the story was going—One painting. Two claimants. Three murders. Isn’t that intriguing?

What I particularly liked about this book is how the author weaves an excellent mystery around a time period and subject I rarely read about. It is quite the eye-opener. The author is familiar with her material from personal experience, living in Amsterdam. She also has degrees in art history and museum studies. With her journalist background, passion for writing, along with the credentials, she created a believable and cunning plot.

I appreciated her story crafting, providing pieces of the mystery while keeping me guessing all along; the way she keeps the mystery unfolding; and the way she moves the reader from the 1940’s to the present as the mystery and suspense coil ever-tighter.

I learned so much about how artists were able to ‘hide’ their work from the greed of those who would take what doesn’t belong to them. I didn’t feel the author pushed ‘history’ down my throat, rather it came as a by-product of the story unfolding. Well written!

This story captures how times have changed, just some 80 years ago, people were much less accepting and tolerant of different life styles. We still struggle with this, however.

I enjoy Zelda’s not-letting-anything-slide attitude with a bit of humor thrown in. She is quite the Nancy Drew of Amsterdam. I also enjoy her exuberance for getting into the Master’s program. I’m hoping Frederick and she will have a future. He is a true friend. Perhaps in a sequel?

The story was a bit of a slow starter and the initial voice portrayed by Carol Purdom fell flat for me, that is, the voice for the museum’s project manager. However, her voice for the old woman who claims the painting is hers, and the belligerent curator reliving his past disappointments, has her doing an admirable job adding energy to the telling.

All-in all, I enjoyed the sleuth and well-written plot.