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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent mystery story such a vivid story teller

This is a part of a series of books with a PG-13 rating. They can be read a stand alone novels. This is a great Holocaust themed story. It would be a good intro into the horrors of Natzi oppupied Europe. I would recommend this to readers middle school or older. I love that the author describes the city and the paintings in such vivid detail. At first, I was not sure how anyone could find the owners of artwork after so much time and horrible events, but the author shows that this is a possibility. The strong-willed intelligent, Zelda was going to find justice even if it means facing a murder, liar, a pretious museum worker, a larger than life victim and a fly boy friend. I could see this as a Hallmark movie.

The author is so talented at describing Amsterdam and the beautiful art as well as the inner workings of a museum trying to do the right thing. The museum hires Zelda, an American art student, to help make the descriptions of the art clearer. She has an agenda to get into the art program. In her medailing way she could not only lose her life, her relationship, her home and the lives of those around her. Amsterdam is a progressive city with a past some good and some bad. The author retells the good and the bad in a story that is seamlessly woven between World War 2 and present day. The narrator did a wonderful job keeping the characters straight with her changing voices and even changing her pace of speaking to match the traits of the characters.

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The Lover's Portrait

This is an art mystery for sure! Zelda is a lover of art, her character brought to life by Alderson and dropped into an adventure of rich proportions and dangerous men. Alderson has an intriguing novel for those readers who enjoy a good mystery with a hint of war history.

Zelda wants to get into the Masters Art Program in Amsterdam and is almost willing to do anything at this point to ensure her acceptance. When her mentor recommends Zelda for an intern position for the upcoming Stolen Artwork Exhibition, she doesn’t think twice about accepting. Then she realizes that she has been assigned to translation services! Mortified by the thought of translating over 2,500 descriptions of unclaimed artwork on the exhibition’s website from Dutch to proper English for American viewers, she desperately wants the curator and project manager of the museum to notice her true talents as a website designer. Stepping overboard slightly to create a scrolling, flashy design to draw attention and flare to the website, this bold move attracts the museum’s first claimant…and then the second claimant over the same painting by an unknown painter with no history to his name! Who knew that a portrait of a woman with a vase, painted by someone outside of the famous Dutch painters, would be the talk of the town. Now with the museum forced to investigate both claims, Zelda dips her toes into the private investigator pool, even after being asked specifically not to go snooping! What she uncovers could be more dangerous than she could ever have known.

Alderson has a fantastic story line, filled with superb character development, originality, and creativity. The narrator doesn’t seem to have any trouble with the pace or flow of the story, assuming that the book is written quite well. She also does well with voice translation. Art history can be so intriguing, but it is also known to be a very political matter and can get quite expensive which makes this mystery such a dangerous one! Money is power and for some families, that knowledge is all that matters and they are willing to kill to have it or maintain it. This is the second installment of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson, but it can be read as a standalone. If you are interested in mystery and love some extra historical background, you are sure to be entertained with this one.

An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating for The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer Alderson. Check back in to see our review of the third installment called Rituals of the Dead scheduled for September 10, 2018.

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An excellent mystery.

An exceptional art mystery and entertaining narrator performance to match. I really enjoyed this one.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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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    2 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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.

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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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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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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 09-26-18

Fun but could use some polishing

Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone novel.

I love a good art mystery, where the main character has to dig into the history of an art piece and try to figure out motivations of potential owners. Zelda Richardson has the passion for the job. She was bored sick of her office computer job in Big City, USA and ran off to the Netherlands to study art, working on her master’s degree. I really wanted to like Zelda and eventually I came to care about her in the way I would care about a young niece. She has the appreciation for Dutch art and the dedication to research but she’s not the sharpest pencil in the pack. The clues to the mystery were well laid out and Zelda sometimes took forever to put them together.

Because of that, this cozy murder mystery read more like a kid’s mystery novel. So maybe it’s not so much Zelda but rather how the mystery itself unfolded. I really felt that Zelda acted younger than a woman in her late 20s or early 30s and her slowness in piecing together the clues really added to this. Once I cheated and adjusted Zelda’s age to 15, I liked her more and I enjoyed the tale more.

Most of the story is set in Amsterdam and there were a few scenes sprinkled throughout the story that do well in reminding us of the setting. However, for most of the book, the tale could be set almost anywhere. A few Dutch touches here and there would have added to the atmosphere.

There are two women who claim rightful ownership of a newly recovered portrait called Irises. Rita Brower hails from Missouri (I think) and is friendly. She lived in Amsterdam as a kid and has many fond memories of the place. Karen O’Neil comes in hitting heavy with a pushy attorney, threatening to go to the press with her sob story. I liked that it wasn’t immediately clear which woman had the best case of ownership though Zelda had a clear liking for Rita while her co-worker Huub Konjin clearly favored Karen with all her legal documentation. Her boss Bernice remained professional throughout the entire mess, requiring her employees to look into both cases diligently.

The research pulls in Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII and their persecution of homosexuals. I felt Zelda had a very simple take on this: if character X was a homosexual, there’s no way character X could have children. That’s just silly. Plenty of homosexuals and bisexuals have had kids. This argument of Zelda’s was a very weak one but a lot of emphasis was placed on it, making it a weak point in the plot.

Later on, Zelda talks her friend Friedrich into helping her spy on one of the claimants. However, she’s then dumb enough to play this illegal recording for her boss and Huub. Obviously, that doesn’t go well and I was sure Zelda would face charges. Zelda was completely surprised at how things went and I felt this added to the overall feeling that Zelda was more a 15 year old than a 25 year old.

As the story winds up for the big finale, which was easy to predict well before we got there, I was rooting for Zelda. She may be a bit dense but I didn’t want her dead and I did want her to find the big stash of lost art. Since things had been so cozy and rather PG, I wasn’t worried for Zelda’s safety even when she was held at gun point. I did wonder about that one scene where the Bad Guy has to hold her at gun point and pick a lock at the same time….. hmmm…. it usually takes 2 hands to pick a lock. Zelda didn’t take advantage of that moment but she comes up swinging later once she’s worked out that she’s dead if she doesn’t do something.

Over all, it was a fun cozy listen with good pacing. 3.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Carol Purdom has a very pleasant voice to listen to. She makes a decent Zelda and a really great Rita (Missouri accent). She does well as the slightly outraged Karen too. I was expecting the Dutch characters to have Dutch accents, but they didn’t. They usually sounded a bit formal or stilted but not with Dutch accents. There’s a few lines of German here and there and Perdom’s German pronunciation needs some polishing. She was really good with the emotions, especially Zelda’s. 3.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer S. Alderson. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colin
  • 06-07-18

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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  • Happy reviewer
  • 12-15-17

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.