In A Portrait of Marguerite by Kate Lloyd, Marguerite Carr’s only son is about to leave for college, and she feels lost. Her best friend drags her to an art class, just to get out of the house and do something fun. Marguerite had been an art major in college but had set art aside when she married and then had her son. She’s reluctant to let art back into her life, but she lets her friend talk her into the art class.
There she meets two people who will have an impact on her future: the instructor, Henry, and an older fellow student, Emily. Unfortunately, Henry is a friend of Marguerite’s ex-husband, Phil, which doesn’t raise him in her estimation.
We learn later in the book that Marguerite is weighed down by a secret from her past. As the story progresses, everyone that she holds in high regard is found to have faults and failures, even her beloved father. And her ex-husband, wonder of wonders, seems to have changed for the better.
I’m usually not one to infer symbolism where it’s not intended, but I do think Marguerite’s painting journey, from reluctance to dabbling to freedom, parallels her inner journey as she learns to forgive and accept herself and others.
The spiritual undercurrent, mainly from Emily, is subtle but realistic.
While this wasn’t the most riveting read, I enjoyed it. I’d give it a 4 out of 5.