Mike, Dayne, and their two kids are a California success story. The family portrait hanging over their fireplace proves it. But the portrait is a lie—a façade hiding the truth of a deteriorating marriage where words are weapons and loneliness has replaced intimacy.
Mike is an attorney who resolved never to be like his father, a man who used words to control and belittle his wife and children. Unfortunately Mike married Dayne, a volatile and unpredictable woman who aims her tantrums at him with depressing regularity. Confused and frustrated, Mike retreats into his work.
When he least expects it, Mike meets Brooke. As Mike fights his feelings for Brooke, he begins to realize he's trapped in an abusive marriage with few options for resolution or escape. And all the while, the family portrait casts its illusion of happiness over the home—happiness Mike doubts he'll ever experience.
The follow-up novel to Jenell Hollett's What I Learned from Men, The Pain Behind The Portrait is an enlightening, ultimately uplifting tale that vividly shows the damage words can inflict on a marriage.