Johanna Porter was once a young artist with a budding career and an “in” with the artworld. Twenty years later she is a single soccer mom trying to raise a daughter while teaching art education to young kids. Years after she was pushed out of art scene, Johanna is invited by her old flame and mentor to an opening for his gallery. Curious about this invitation and why he has contacted her again after so many years, Johanna decides to go the event. At the opening, Johanna discovers that her old mentor Nestor is revealing a portrait of her, La Rosa Blanca. Johanna Porter steals it.
So where does one go when they’ve stolen an artwork worth millions? Johanna takes off to her father’s bay house to hopefully hide out from the police, and Nestor’s daughter/manager Pillar. But the most important thing happens, Johanna begins painting again. A new neighbor, Mitchell comes to ask Johanna for some help sailing, and reveals he is at the bay due to a hand injury that is forcing him on sabbatical from his job as a surgeon. The two spark up a friendship as secrets between them are revealed.
This book delves into some very deep topics, specifically drug addiction. I really wasn’t expecting such a realistic and emotional component to this book. Based on the title/cover/description I expected maybe a rom-com style book with some humor and romance, but the book was a lot deeper and more thought provoking. There is growth to each character and their search for finding their one’s true self even if it has been lost or put to the side. There are real connections between friends, lovers, and family. I was really invested in the emotional depth of the book, and I know the various themes will stick with me for a long time. A very good debut novel!
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