Looking at memories in a digital photo frame might revive a marriage, and looking at porn on the internet might destroy it. Both come together in Martha Emms’ fictional tale Portrait of our Marriage, which marries graphically sensual romance with the harsh realities and imperfections of life. Just how imperfect can a marriage become before it’s time to call it quits? And where is the line between being selfish and being true to oneself?
Outwardly Nicky has it all. After a somewhat repressed childhood under a domineering religious father, she meets Brett, the perfect hunk and ideal date. Soon they’re off to the gorgeous scenery of Havasu Falls where myriad mysticisms blend into a beautiful marriage ceremony and the future beckons. Brett’s role as the perfect husband is marred only by his love of certain magazines and movies, and the internet, but surely Nicky, determined not to let the past spoil her future, should be able to cope. She protects her children. She presents herself to the world as perfectly happy, and she hides her pain.
Beautifully descriptive passages bring gorgeous scenery to life. Haunting internal dialogs create deepening empathy. And if anyone can be “a nice perv,” Brett surely can. But addiction’s ability to destroy relationships is hauntingly real and very well-drawn in this thought-provoking novel. Framed by steamy romance, this tale runs the gamut of emotions and reveals those cracks in the balance between image and truth. Sometimes drawing a line might be more important than holding onto a broken memory.
Disclosure: I heard about this novel on the internet and was lucky enough to get a free ecopy.