Painted Picture by Sheila Peele-Miller

Painted Picture

by Sheila Peele-Miller
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Reviewed by: Delonya Conyers
March 2010


Alicia Bradley allowed her first love Derek to not only sweep her off her feet but sweep her all the way to Chicago. The North Carolina native left her family behind after falling for Derek who charmed his way into her heart while he was stationed in nearby Goldsboro, N.C. Alicia’s sheltered upbringing never prepared her for the hardships of marriage especially to a man carrying as much emotional baggage as Derek.

Derek Hendricks was accustomed to receiving lots of attention from women but was immediately drawn in by Alicia’s beauty and innocence. Certain that he’d found his soul mate Derek has no problem relocating Alicia to Chicago and welcoming her into his world. However Derek was incapable of loving Alicia properly due to the abuse bestowed upon him by his own mother, Terese. Derek however was very capable of displaying that same abuse towards Alicia whenever he saw fit.

Just how much heartache and physical pain can Alicia withstand in order to repair her broken union? Even after all of the abuse Alicia still desires her happily ever after with Derek if only just to prove that all of her sacrifices weren’t in vain. Both Alicia and Derek characters are well developed especially Derek’s inner rage and Alicia bashfulness. Author Peele-Miller utilizes these traits in a way which helps to provide Painted Picture with genuineness.

The only shortcoming of the book was that many of the secondary characters who were introduced were given just as much development when their parts in the novel were very minor. The secondary characters that did have a major role in the outcome of the novel like Terese and Auntie were made one dimensional until the very end when their background stories exploded. So much so that I think their story could have outshined Alicia’s and Derek’s.

What did you like best about the book?
Painted Picture was a great cautionary tale about getting to know a mate before relocating away from everything that you know to be with them.

What did you dislike about the book?
At some points way too much focus was spent on characters that were not integral to the novel. For example many of cousin Juice’s conquests should have been described as just Juice’s latest conquest instead of delving into their background when they were going to be replaced in the following chapter.

How could the author improve this book?
By weeding out the minor characters and allowing the focus to be on the major characters.


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