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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S. Alderson is the second novel in The Adventures of Zelda Richardson series. Zelda just earned her way into an internship working at a museum exhibit showcasing stolen objects from WWII in hopes that the rightful families will claim them. It’s a dream come true. That is until Zelda finds out she’s meant to read and revise a website that has grammatical errors. Her luck changes when a woman named Rita shows up to claim a painting labeled Irises with a heartbreaking story of her father sending his family into hiding while he tried to find money, and hide his artwork from the Nazis. It seems like a set plan when another woman shows up, claiming to be the rightful descendant of the painting’s owner. Zelda has a natural habit of not quitting until she finds the truth, but will her curiosity lead her to a murderer?
Jennifer S. Alderson delivers a mystery novel not quite like most. It has a headstrong sleuth type character in Zelda, but the story is character driven, not plot driven. The mystery of the painting is reminiscent of old mystery novels from before the 1950s, fitting since Alderson features flashbacks to the 1940s, probably some of my favorite scenes. She weaves the scenes with Arjan and Philip through the novel to answer questions as Zelda discovers the truth. Being able to see the fear Arjan went through allowed for a sentimental touch to the mystery. It’s not about stolen paintings, but about lives that were stolen. The flashbacks added depth to the plot that brought all the threads together to a wonderful conclusion. The Lover’s Portrait is a well-written mystery with engaging characters and a lot of heart. The perfect novel for those who love art and mysteries!