A few weeks ago, I jumped on a chance to download a free ebook of K.G. MacGregor’s romance Photographs of Claudia from Bella Books. I’d never read anything by MacGregor, and I’m always looking to expand my list of authors I enjoy. The book was published in 2010 and alternates between action in the late 80s and the present day.
When she first meets the attractive Claudia, Leonora (“Leo”) Westcott is a young photographer, still struggling to make the family studio profitable after her father’s death. She’s spent the past several years working almost constantly, accepting every client and taking school pictures. When their paths cross in 1986, Claudia Galloway is a student teacher and Leo is taking the student portraits. Their acquaintance grows into friendship and perhaps something more, despite the fact that Claudia is engaged and plans to move away when her internship is completed.
Leo’s photographer friend believes that she needs to take the next step, artistically, and suggests that she pursue a spot at an elite workshop. When Claudia volunteers to serve as Leo’s model for a series of intense portraits, their simmering emotions come to a boil. Claudia struggles to reconcile her growing attraction to Leo, her disenchantment with her workaholic husband-to-be, and her sudden urge to pose nude. Meanwhile, Leo is afraid to truly invest in a relationship with someone in turmoil, although she has already opened herself up to heartache by falling for Claudia.
MacGregor juxtaposes these fraught scenes from the past with those of a present-day wedding at which Leo is the last-minute substitute photographer. The question is not if, but when Claudia will show up at the wedding, and what her relationship will be to present-day Leo.
MacGregor takes her sweet time developing the pair’s relationship and revealing the details of the rift that has kept them apart for the last two decades. I, for one, would have liked to see more details of their reunion after all the backstory was out in the open (although I’m not complaining at all about the portrait-making scenes, which were decidedly steamy). Some of the barriers to their relationship did not feel as insurmountable to me as they were depicted. Still, who doesn’t enjoy a story of long-parted lovers reunited at last?
I stayed up late to finish Photographs of Claudia and would definitely read more by MacGregor, so well played, Bella Books.