Review: The Girl In the Painting by Tea Cooper


Title: The Girl In the Painting

Author: Tea Cooper

Published: December 16th 2019, HQ Fiction Australia

Read: December 2019, courtesy HarperCollins


My Thoughts:

The Girl In the Painting is an engaging historical fiction novel, with an element of mystery, from Tea Cooper.

Set largely in New South Wales during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the narrative of The Girl In the Painting moves between two timelines which connects siblings Elizabeth and Michael Ó’Cuinn with Jane Piper, a bright young orphan, who becomes their ward.

As the story unfolds we learn of the circumstances that brought Michael and Elizabeth to New South Wales from Liverpool, England in 1863 as children, and the life they make for themselves in Hills End, and later Maitland Town. It’s 1906 when the siblings offer Jane, a math prodigy, a home, a role in their business, and the chance to further her education, but the crux of the story isn’t revealed until 1913 when Elizabeth uncharacteristically experiences a panic attack at an art exhibition, prompting Jane to investigate the cause, and a startling confession from Michael. I liked the thread of intrigue that the author developed, though the resolution was a little contrived.

I really enjoyed the setting of the novel. Cooper uses real, though unconnected, historical events as a framework, from the fire in an orphanage in Liverpool, to the attempted assassination of Prince Alfred, and the flooding of Maitland Town in 1913. The social and cultural details of the period, and the landscape of early Australia from the crowded streets of Sydney, to the goldfields of Hill End, and the nascent town of Maitland, are interesting and feel authentic.

Well crafted, with appealing characters, and rich in Australian historical detail, The Girl In the Painting is a novel that is sure to please.


Available from Harlequin/ HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Barrett
    Dec 20, 2019 @ 21:39:43

    Great review Shelleyrae! I can’t wait to read this one!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Trin Carl
    Dec 20, 2019 @ 22:05:34

    I never realized how many book reviews you do throughout the week, Shelleyrae. You are awesome!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Night Owl Book Cafe (@nightowlbcafe)
    Dec 21, 2019 @ 12:00:30

    I don’t think I ever read one set in Australia and this sounds oh so good.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
    Dec 22, 2019 @ 00:32:59

    I wish more books set in Australia were available here in the US.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
    Dec 22, 2019 @ 04:45:46

    Love the setting and period. I must admit you have me curious!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  7. thebookishlibra
    Dec 23, 2019 @ 05:20:32

    This sounds like a lovely read. Glad it was a good one for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Trackback: Historical Fiction Round Up: December 2019 and Yearly Wrap Up | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

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