When Scottish exile, Stewart Jamison, finds himself in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, he is full of talent but strapped for cash. A smooth talking portrait painter, Jamison manages to set himself up in business but he needs an apprentice. Enter Francis Weston, or as the reader knows him/her, Fanny Easton. Weston/Easton is a daughter of a local merchant and judge, who flees her father’s family when he tries to force her to marry her painting teacher. Fanny has done many unsavory things to survive on her own and finds her apprenticeship to Jamison as not only a ticket out of the workhouse she’s been at for the last two years, but as a way to fulfill her dreams of becoming a painter. She doesn’t anticipate the effect she will have on her master, who finds her irresistible even disguised as a young man. Soon, the two find themselves caught up in the political upheaval in Boston and scurrying to solve the murder of a prominent revolutionary leader and abolitionist.
First and foremost, I listened to this on audio, and I was completely taken in by the narration by John Lee because I’m a sucker for accents of all kinds! He has a lot to work with here and he does it brilliantly. You can’t help but fall in love with Stewart Jamison, who addresses and often begs and implores you the reader directly. He is witty, clever and a pretty good painter, too.He is such a great portrait painter, because he can read his subjects so well and yet sometimes he can be a little daft. Don’t trust the man with numbers! I love his term of endearment for Weston/Easton.
But, it’s great to hear the same story from Fanny’s perspective through letters and diary entries. She paints a slightly different version of the story. The tension between the two is a wonderful hook and kept my heart aflutter. Those steamy scenes I wasn’t quite expecting, but the bawdiness is historically accurate or so I’m told. Speaking of historically accurate, I was devastated to find out that the story is not based on any historical accounts. The atmosphere and tone are appropriate for the time, but Fanny and Jamison are figments of two clever imaginations. I wondered what it was like for the two authors to write together, and I just love this story about how Blindspot came to be.