Creating love from darkness is the greatest art…
Living a bohemian lifestyle in Paris is wonderful for Teddy Dandridge, but disastrous for his finances. His unconventional artistic creations find few buyers. After a year of failure, he returns to England to fulfill a portrait commission for a wealthy family, but he finds a different, source of inspiration secreted away in their sprawling house.
Isolated and rejected by his family, Phineas Abernathy haunts the west wing like a ghost. A physical deformity has locked him away from society for all his life. Filling his days with reading and drawing, he dreams of a life that seems unachievable…until irreverent, opinionated Teddy explodes into his quiet world.
Intrigued by the kind and creative man beneath the ungainly exterior, Teddy gives Phin nightly drawing lessons. A private friendship is born as the men share life stories, future hopes and a growing attraction. Phin agrees to pose for a portrait in which Teddy tries to illustrate the depth and beauty he sees in him. He also guides the eager virgin in the ways of love between men.
When persecutors from Phin’s past arrive at the house, the slights and hurts he has suffered his entire life boil over. He must at last be brave enough to emerge from his cocoon and venture into an often cruel and judgmental world. And Teddy must decide what matters most to him.
I liked The Artist by Bonnie Dee, so I went back and forth on my rating, wondering if I was being too hard on the story by giving it only 3-stars. However, there was something about the style of the story that made me feel more removed from the characters and kept my rating from creeping upwards.
I really enjoyed having a main character who was physically very different from the typical male MC in romance. I read my fair share of romances with amputees or people missing limbs, but to have an MC with a facial abnormality is pretty rare. I loved that Bonnie Dee wasn't afraid to go there, and I got a good sense of Phin's isolation and his complicated relationship with his family. I really liked Phin and I think he carried the story.
I also liked Teddy, though I understood him a bit less. I wasn't as sure why he was so drawn to Phin as I felt that the relationship moved a little fast for me, but I enjoyed Teddy's openness and bohemian nature.
Bonnie Dee is very talented and a versatile storyteller, but she tends to feel a little "show-y" and I sometimes get a feeling like the emotions are being dictated to me. That happened in this story quite a bit. Something about it felt a little inorganic, which kept me from truly loving the book.
All in all, still a very nice effort from Ms. Dee, who always delivers thoughtful, interesting stories.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!