Twenty years ago Johanna Porter was tipped as one of the most talented up and coming artists in the US. After an indiscretion her fledgling career is trashed by her mentor, the renowned artist Nestor Pinedo. Now Johanna is a Soccer Mom looking after daughter Mel and teaching Art at a private school. Out of the blue an embossed invitation arrives from Nestor’s daughter Pilar. Nestor is having an exhibition to celebrate his lengthy career, a retrospective of all of his work.
It is the last place on earth that Johanna wants to be, but having been “styled” by Mel and looking her absolute best she goes to the gallery for the official opening. Face to face with both Nestor and Pilar all of the old resentment bubbles up and the vision of what could have been is something that she can no longer deny.
La Rosa Blanca is a portrait of Johanna. Painted by Nestor when she wasn’t much older than Mel herself and at the height of her early fame. She is young and fierce and fearless and it is one of Nestor’s best works with a multi million price-tag to match. When she cuts it out of its frame and rolls it up under her coat she is only reclaiming what is rightfully hers.
Now you might be thinking that this is just the story of a heist but Johanna Porter Is Not Sorry is so much more than this. It is a very delicate exploration of how the young woman was exploited by a much older man in a position of power. A man who had the ability to ruin her when he felt his control over the young protégée beginning to fade. Equally it is about the relationship that she has with her talented daughter and the struggle that Johanna has as a woman in her forties when there is a possibility of a new romantic relationship in her life.
I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. It became a real page turner as we follow the flight to the shores of the Chesapeake with La Rosa Blanca. The confidence that it seems to endow upon Johanna is interesting and the dynamic between her and the neighbour, Mitchell, is just wonderful. It almost made me want to get my sketchbook out myself!
Supplied by Net Galley and Harper Collins UK in exchange for an honest review.
UK publication date: Mar 7 2023. 288 pages.
Categories: 5 Stars Book Review
Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. Sharing my house with a gorgeous cockapoo called Harry who has taken over completely.
I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.
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