Audiobook Review: A Forgery of Roses

Published March 29th 2022

Author: .Jessica S. Olson

Narrator: Billie Fulford-Brown

Audiobook Length: 11 hours 3 minutes

Myra has a gift many would kidnap, blackmail, and worse to control: she’s a portrait artist whose paintings alter people’s bodies. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone. But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son.

Once she arrives at the legendary stone mansion, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. A killer stalks these halls–one disturbingly obsessed with portrait magic. Desperate to get out of the manor as quickly as possible, Myra turns to the governor’s older son for help completing the painting before the secret she spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.

After being on the fence about Sing Me Forgotten, I was slightly hesitant to begin A Forgery of Roses. Now that I have completed this novel, I can say that I loved it a lot more and cannot wait to read more from the author. The novel follows Myra Whitlock, a Prodigy, who uses painting to alter a person’s body. After the disappearance of her parents where her mother was also a Prodigy, Myra is weary about sharing her gift with the world. Her gift ends up being discovered by Mrs. Harris, the Governor’s wife, who wants to recruit Myra to save her son, Will. As Mrs. Harris offers Myra money, Myra accepts as the money can help pay for a doctor for her younger sister Lucy, who suffers from an unknown chronic disease.

When Myra arrives at the mansion, she meets August, the Governor’s other son, who she had no idea existed. August comes from this powerful family where they hide him from the world due to his anxiety.  This is a subplot that is explored throughout the story, and I liked the way Olson handled this topic. The house itself offers its own mysteries with strange paintings on one of the floors. Myra needs more information about Will’s mysterious death to help him through her painting, which leads to the main mystery of the story.

The gothic atmosphere and murder mystery had elements that reminded me of Jack the Ripper. While there was a semi-love triangle between August, Myra, and another character named, Vincent, this was still enjoyable despite my dislike of this trope. All the elements of the story were weaved together well and made sense in how everything was revealed. I enjoyed how there are clues throughout the story about the truth behind the mystery yet it was still vague enough until the end to make it unpredictable overall. The romance in this story needed a little more for me to be fully invested in it, but the other elements were all nicely done.

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