The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper: Your Preview Verdict

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper: Your Preview Verdict

Many of our preview readers loved the new Tea Cooper novel The Girl in the Painting. They loved the mystery aspect, and especially loved that it was historical fiction set in Australia!

Read some of their highlights here:

Tea Cooper has written another outstanding novel. Like all her previous works I was unable to put this one down. The Australia of yesterday years is beautifully portrayed by Tea and you cannot help but fall in love with the characters. This book left me wanting more! – Aleisha, QLD, 5 stars

Captivating read. Whilst not my usual genre of book, I found myself unable to put this book down. The way the book weaves Elizabeth and Michael’s early years with their present life works so well. Each chapter build on the ever growing question about what Michael is hiding and why Elizabeth is having a dilemma. The strong females in Elizabeth and Jane are very well portrayed. The story builds slowly initially then all of a sudden things start to click and the story gets more and more intriguing. I couldn’t put the book down in the end as I just wanted to find it all out. At the same time, I didn’t want the book to end as I was so captivated by their lives. I will recommend this book to all my friends and family. – Stacie, NSW, 5 stars

Best Australian historical book I have read this year, Such strong female characters especially young Jane whose mind never stops thinking about maths and figures absolutely loved this book – Deborah, NSW, 5 stars

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper, was a captivating read! I was hooked right from the start, jumping from 1860 onwards to the early 1900’s it follows Michael and Elizabeth’s story to riches. Then when Elizabeth takes a turn, the past catches up with Michael leaving you trying to guess what his secret could be, then when the secrets is revealed, trying to join all the dots together. A gripping story that had me sucked in from the start, eager to piece the puzzle together! Thank you Better Reading and Harlequin for the chance to read and review this great book! – Emma, VIC, 5 stars

In 1906 Jane Piper, 9 years 3 months 1 hour and 23 weeks old, has an interview which changes her life. It leads to her removal from the Maitland Orphanage into the nurturing care of the philanthropic Elizabeth and Michael Quinn. As Jane matures into a young woman learning accountancy under Elizabeth’s tutelage we learn more of their history. The 15 year old Michael boards a ship bound from England with little Elizabeth, following their parents to Sydney. **Redacted due to potential spoilers** Over the years the successful Quinns become regarded by most of the townsfolk as well-loved benefactors. Some spread scurrilous rumours questioning their relationship. **Redacted due to potential spoilers** Maths prodigy Jane’s abililty to recognise patterns is instrumental in solving the mystery as Elizabeth’s sanity is held by a red thread. Tea Cooper’s ‘The Girl In The Painting’ weaves historical fact with an endearing cast of characters who are questioning the attitudes of the time to issues such racism, women’s liberation and their health. They’re up against the timeless concerns of gossip, innuendo, secrets and greed. Triggered by the Maitland flood, the power of memories and love, lost and found is celebrated in a flood of emotion. As is the power of a good Iced Vo-Vo. – Anita, QLD, 5 stars

I hadn’t heard of Tea Cooper before reading The Girl in the Painting. I will now be looking for her other titles. The story begins in England in the 1860s and concludes in Maitland, NSW, in 1913, with a detour via the gold mining settlement of Hill End. Cooper has painted an evocative picture of these locations and periods of history while constructing a satisfying mystery. Jane Piper, who was abandoned as a baby and has great Maths skills, is taken in by brother and sister Elizabeth and Michael Quinn. She receives a good education and quickly becomes invaluable in their business dealings, while occupying a comfortable place in their household – in stark contrast to her early experiences. It turns out that the Quinns also had a difficult start and there is some mystery about their past. I enjoyed all aspects of this book and can see it being read on many beaches this summer. – Penny, VIC, 5 stars

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper is one of those books where you find yourself saying repeatedly, “Just one more chapter!” It’s a delightful and cleverly written novel that draws you in as the story weaves it’s way through the characters present and past. She gives away just enough to make you want to keep reading but not enough to give away where the story is going. I found this book such a pleasure to read as chapter after chapter the pieces of the puzzle came together to reveal a satisfying ending. It’s a true work of art that mixes fictional characters into historical events and toys with the most bitter-sweet of emotions. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  – Belinda, VIC, 5 stars

Tea Cooper has produced another novel that transports to another time. The dash of mystery found me hard pressed to put the book down, wanting to unwind the storey of Elizabeth and her mysterious turns. – Rachel, QLD 5 stars

Cooper has crafted a charming novel, far deeper than the cover would imply. The novel discusses migration, child welfare, inheritance, women’s rights and discrimination. The girl in the painting is a well researched mystery detailing gold mining and trade, economic decision making and the power of choice. The highlight is Jane, the Quinn’s ward, whose logical mind is able to solve a mystery effecting the Quinn family. The novel was charming, and O would like to see Jane reappear in further novels to flex her detection skills. – Naomi, NSW, 5 stars

Tea Cooper never disappoints me. I love her tales of intrepid women centred smack in the middle of Australian history so was really looking forward to reading The Girl in the Painting and she didn’t let me down! The story stretches from Liverpool in England, to the Goldfields in NSW, and eventually to Maitland in The Hunter Valley. Elizabeth was four when she migrated to Australia with her older brother Michael. After a shaky start, Michael prospers in the auction business, and they move to Maitland. Years later they become benefactors to an orphan, Jane. She has a mathematical mind and helps them in the auctioneering business. But Michael has a secret and Elizabeth is having strange turns and Jane sets out to find the truth of their past. I loved The Girl in The Painting. I’d give it a full five stars just for the character of Jane herself! I loved her mind full of patterns. A highly recommended read. – Daniella, QLD, 5 stars

One of the book from Tea Cooper which made me hooked right from the start then to the point of “I can’t stop reading this but I don’t want it to end”. The author presents each character strongly especially Elizabeth Quinn and Jane Piper. Elizabeth and her brother, Michael immigrated to Australia in 1863 and the story continues with them taking Jane from an orphanage , offering her for further education and living with them. The mystery starts when Elizabeth found cowering in the corner of the exhibition gallery. What caused Elizabeth having this episode? One more chapter won’t be enough as the story tickles your curiousity. Thanks to Better Reading for advance copy of the book, it’s an enjoyable reading! – Vivi, NSW, 5 stars

‘The Girl in the Painting’ was an easy, interesting and delightful read. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the gold fields and towns of Hill End and Maitland. I also enjoyed learning about the life of the Chinese in Hill End. The main characters were appealing. I particularly liked Jane – the young girl rescued from the orphanage to live with the Quinns. I was really captured by the mystery surrounding Elizabeth and Michael Quinn. The suspense drove me to read the book quickly. I failed to work out the surprising reveal. The journey of Elizabeth and Michael from young migrants to middle aged was interesting and balanced by the presence of Jane – unrelated by blood but with a gift for mathematics shared with Elizabeth and a predilection for plain speaking shared with Michael. Their lives seemed in balance and almost perfect when Elizabeth had a ‘turn’. This ‘turn’ (and the reasons behind it) precipitated a number of events which changed everything. I was satisfied with the ending. – Sandra, ACT, 5 stars

Before I had even finished the first page, I knew this was one book I would thoroughly enjoy. I have read a few books which switched time/year’s continually and found them quite dis-jointed……not so with this one though. The love of Michael for Elizabeth was very powerful and his protection of her was tangible. This followed through with their caring side, as a family, to those less fortunate, providing employment and care when needed. As I read towards the end of the novel, with its descriptions of NSW, I wanted to know the outcome of the mystery but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end. The main characters, Michael, Elizabeth and Jane had become so real to me and at times I was quite shocked and sad at the events that occurred. An amazing story and one I have recommended to quite a few people! – Jane, VIC, 5 stars

Historical fiction is a genre I either love or hate and I LOVED The Girl in the Painting. Tea Copper has written a brilliant page-turner. Set, predominantly in Maitland, The Girl in the Painting follows the story of brother and sister duo, Elizabeth and Michael Quinn and how they become to be such prominent figures in Maitland in 1913. Orphaned Jane, a lover of all things maths and numbers, finds herself being sponsored by the Quinns to study and eventually take on the Quinn family business. When unexpectedly, Elizabeth has a medical episode the mystery of Elizabeth and Michael’s past comes back to haunt them. The Girl in the Painting is a captivating read that really drawers you in. A hint of a love story, a dash of family troubles and a whole lot of mystery. 5 stars – Hannah, NT, 5 stars

A wonderfully written, page turning piece of historical fiction. A delightful read that kept me wanting more, until there was no more and I have to admit, I was lost when the story ended. I missed learning about and feeling part of Michael and Elizabeth’s family and their journey to Australia. – Rebecca, TAS, 5 stars

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper was a great read! Loved this book from the very start, interesting historical read, characters I fell in love with and a story that kept me turning page after page.   Set in 1913 Australia and going back to 1860’s the story had me hooked from learning of the early life on the gold fields with an underlying mystery that is peeled back and revealed layer upon layer, and does not disappoint once we know the whole story.  Read this, you will love it. – Debbie, VIC, 5 stars

What marvellous Australian historical fiction! Cooper’s characters are interesting and engaging and it’s utterly impossible not to fall in love with little Jane from the first chapter. Cooper gives the reader a good dose of intrigue with a hint of romance and wraps it all in wonderfully evocative prose. – Marianne, NSW, 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book, as I have with other Tea Cooper books I have read. Great mix of historical fiction, intrigue and family drama. It was easy to read, but not in a fluffy candy-floss fiction kind of way. As a Mum of a young child I particularly appreciate the short chapters, it meant I could pick it up when I had a short moment to myself, and even if I only got 10 minutes of reading in I wasn’t completely lost when I picked it up again later. The characters were likable and the story interesting, I really enjoyed reading this book. – Ash, ACT, 5 stars

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, this is my first book written by Tea Cooper, and it certainly won’t be my last. This is an historical fiction based around brother and sister Elizabeth & Michael who immigrated to Australia in 1862, and is told over 2 timelines (1860’s & 1906). They offer orphan Jane the opportunity for further education and take her to live them. They are quite successful and run some business’s around Maitland. Then Elizabeth has a turn at an exhibition gallery, What happened to Elizabeth, How is Michael involved and what secrets are being kept? The story unravels chapter by chapter and keeps you interested till the end. Thoroughly enjoyable book – Lisa, TAS, 5 stars

As soon as I heard of The Girl in the Painting I was expecting to love it. Dual time line Historical Fiction set in colonial Australia; it already featured a few of my favourite themes. And I’m happy to say Tea Cooper didn’t disappoint. The Girl in the Painting is totally immersive. I was hooked right from the beginning. William and Elizabeth Quinn are immediately likeable and young Jane Piper’s character is quirky and endearing. Cooper uses true historical events to set the story solidly in its time and place. I do enjoy a strong female character and both Elizabeth and Jane are characters that are independent and intelligent. The Girl in the Painting is an engrossing story featuring a compelling mystery that will keep you turning the pages. – Veronica, NSW, 5 stars

Jumping back to Australia of 1862, brother and sister emigrate from the slums of England to the growing mining town of Hill End but all is not as it seems; one harbors a secret that could change everything. Through Cooper’s twisting tale the devastating secret intertwines both past and present retellings of both siblings’ lives, as a mysterious travelling painting and a girl of mathematical genius unravels the sanctity once established. Cooper produces a compelling and heart wrenching novel that had me captivated from the first page to the last and will be loved by any reader who decides to be whisked away into the arms of ‘The Girl in the Painting’. – Charlotte, NSW, 5 stars

Read all Preview reviews for The Girl in the Painting here

Reviews

Rich with Atmosphere and Detail: Read an Extract From The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

Review | Extract

16 December 2019

Rich with Atmosphere and Detail: Read an Extract From The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

    Preview Reviews: The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

    Review | Preview

    16 December 2019

    Preview Reviews: The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

      A Compelling Historical Mystery: Read a Review of The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

      Review | Our Review

      16 December 2019

      A Compelling Historical Mystery: Read a Review of The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

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              Publisher details

              The Girl in the Painting
              Author
              Tea Cooper
              Publisher
              Harlequin
              Genres
              Australian Fiction, Fiction, Historical Fiction
              Released
              16 December, 2019

              Synopsis

              For readers of The True Story of Maddie Bright, The Woman in the Green Dress and The Birdman's Wife comes this atmospheric and richly detailed Australian historical mystery from a bestselling Australian author.Maitland 1913 Miss Elizabeth Quinn is something of an institution in Maitland Town. For longer than anyone could remember she and her brother, businessman Michael, have lived in the impressive two-storey stone house next to the church. When she is discovered cowering in the corner of the exhibition gallery at the Technical College the entire town knows something strange has come to pass.Was it the prehistoric remains or perhaps the taxidermy exhibition that had reduced the whale-boned encased pillar of society to a quivering mess? Or is there something odd about a striking painting on loan from the National Gallery?Mathematical savant Jane Piper is determined to find out. Deposited on the doorstep of the local orphanage as a baby, she owes her life and education to the Quinns' philanthropic ventures and Elizabeth has no one else to turn to.As the past and the present converge, Elizabeth's grip on reality loosens. Can Jane, with her logical brain and penchant for puzzles, unravel Elizabeth's story before it is too late?Ranging from the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, the bucolic English countryside to the charm of Maitland Town, this compelling historical mystery in the company of an eccentric and original heroine is rich with atmosphere and detail.
              Tea Cooper
              About the author

              Tea Cooper

              Tea Cooper lives in a stone cottage on one hundred acres of bushland, just outside the time-warp village of Wollombi, NSW Australia. When she isn't writing, Tea can be found haunting the local museum or chatting to the locals, who provide her with a never-ending source of inspiration.

              Books by Tea Cooper

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