top of page

The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby - love, privilege, secrets & murder across the decades.

It's 1938 and artist Juliette Willoughby leaves the comfort of her wealthy home to be with her married lover, fellow surrealist painter Oskar Erlich. Her painting Self-Portrait as Sphinx is accepted into André Breton’s International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris, but she removes it after one night. Soon after, Juliette and Oskar's bodies are found after a deadly fire which was believed to have also destroyed Juliette's painting. The story shifts to 1991 and Cambridge University. Students Caroline Cooper and Patrick Lambert research items in the Willoughby estate left to the school and together they seek to uncover the mystery behind Self-Portrait as Sphinx and the family secrets it may have revealed. In the third timeline, it is the present-day. To the astonishment of the art world, Self-Portrait as Sphinx has resurfaced and Caroline, now a published expert on Juliette Willoughby, is brought in to authenticate it before it goes up for auction at an art gallery in Dubai. After the auction, gallery owner Patrick Lambert is arrested for murder.

The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby by Ellery Lloyd (the pen name for married British authors Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos) weaves together, across the decades, an engaging story of love, art, privilege, family secrets and murder. Not just an intriguing story, it shines a light on the difficult road women artists experienced. If you are a fan of surrealist artists, you'll especially enjoy the references to the real-life painters of the period. This is a highly original, multi-themed story that kept me reading through the night.

Rated 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Historical & Contemporary Fiction | Mystery.

Publication Date: June 11, 2024.

Please "like" this post if The Final Act of Juliette Willoughby sounds like a book you might like to read. I'd love to know. Scroll below the photo and click on the red outlined heart on the lower right-hand side of the page. Comments can also be left below.


bottom of page