Win Desperate Romantics

How to celebrate the Easter holidays?

Well, what better than a good book and a DVD starring Aidan Turner and a heap of fabulous Victorian costumes?


My publishers at Stripes have kindly given me the DVD of Desperate Romantics to give away. Based on the book by Franny Moyle, it tells the story of Dante Gabriel Rossetti,  John Everett Millias and the other young artists who called themselves the Pre-Raphaelites and took on the Victorian Establishment in the 1850s. They lived, as they loved, fearlessly, without rules or compromises.


This was the film that gave my editor the idea for a red-headed girl who goes to London and becomes one of their beautiful, complicated muses. That story became Following Ophelia and its sequel, Unveiling Venus, which came out last month.


To win a copy of the DVD and both books, just add a comment here mentioning your favourite artist or artists. (The long list of mine includes Fra Lippo Lippi, Botticelli, Whistler, Berthe Morrisot, Matisse and Rothko.) I’ll put the names in a suitably extravagant hat and draw the winner out on Easter Monday. Make sure you check back to see if you’ve won as I’ll need your contact details. This competition applies in the UK only.

Rossetti’s sister, Christina, captured it best:

In an artist’s studio

One face looks out from all his canvasses,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans;
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queenin opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer greens,
A saint, an angel; — every canvass means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him
Fair as the moon and joyfull as the light;
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

Good luck! And Happy Easter.

Sophia xxx



4 thoughts on “Win Desperate Romantics

  1. I have been musing on this since I saw this post yesterday – it is so hard to choose!
    I would probably find it easier to choose favourite paintings rather than artists.
    A few of my favourite artists are Botticelli (you could lose hours just looking at Spring!), Escher, Franz Marc, Van Gogh, Kristiana Parn, Richie Collins and Cicely Mary Barker
    In terms of book illustrators I like Kay Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, Il Sung Na, Jackie Morris, Jane Ray and Jimmy Liao…plus lots of others but am terrible with names!
    Happy Easter!

  2. It’s so hard to just pick one! I was utterly spoiled 10 years ago by going to Rome and just stumbling over Bernini statues and Caravaggio paintings all over the place, so I definitely have a soft spot for them. Rodin, Leonardo da Vinci and Dali have always been faves. But my favourite painting is Fernande With A Black Mantilla by Picasso so I would probably have to pick him!

  3. And the winner is …. *drum roll* ……………………………………………….. Christina. Lots of my favourite artists and illustrators there too. (I’m a sucker for Arthur Rackham.) If you email me at Sophia dot ben at me dot com I can work out how to send the goodies to you. Happy Easter! Sophia xxx

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