Review: Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

Friday, July 26

Title:  Painted Faces*
Author: L.H. Cosway
Series: na
Genre:  Contemporary
Publisher: I believe it’s self published
Format:  ebook & paperback
Date/Year:  December 2012
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was purchased by the reviewer for her own reading enjoyment

Summary from the publisher:

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbor Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of color when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a traveling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My Musings:

Prepare to be gob-smacked when you pick up PAINTED FACES.  I had read the 5 star reviews raving about how fantastic this book was.  They are the reason I purchased the book to begin with. I thought I was prepared and knew what I was getting into.  I had no clue it was going to be this good!

Within the first five pages, I knew I was going to love it.  I had already laughed out loud multiple times and fallen in love with Freda.  She one of those characters I could instantly identify with.  I saw some of myself in her, and I expect most women will feel the same.  Oh my, how to describe Freda... she is witty, she is funny, she is insecure, she is bold, she is someone I would love to be friends with in real life.  I loved that she wasn’t confident all the time, she wasn’t loved by everyone she met, and she wasn’t centerfold material. She was human, relatable, and likable.

Her new neighbor is Nicholas.  He is ideal in every way.  He is smart, handsome, and charming. Immediately, Freda realizes Nicholas is completely out of her league.  That’s fine though, because she likes him.  If friends is all that’s in their future, so be it.  What Freda doesn’t see upon first meeting Nicholas is that he has another side to him which he keeps hidden.  There is a hurt and vulnerable kid buried inside Nicholas, and he protects that kid at all costs.  Nicholas has been hurt in the past, and to go through that again would destroy him.  

I guess the first thing I have to address is that Nicholas is a drag queen.  I thought this was going to be a major hurdle to the romance.  It’s not though.  Yes, their story does force the reader into examining gender and sexuality, but that is never a problem for Freda and Nicholas.  Freda sees him as a very straight, very masculine, and very sexy man.  She wants him, and he wants her.   It’s only outsiders who have a problem with their relationship.

The romance was actually a lot darker and more painful than I had expected.  There are some very serious issues lurking in Nicholas’ past.  Freda can’t make everything all better, and she knows Nicholas has the potential to break her heart.  Their romance is slow to develop, and at times painful, for these reasons. 

The saving grace of the story is the humor.  It is literally laugh out loud funny. Freda uses her sense of humor to hide painful or uncomfortable situations.  I loved that about her.  It broke up what could have been a dark read and made it more light-hearted and entertaining. 

I don’t rave over books, and I rarely hand out 5 star reviews.  PAINTED FACES deserves every bit of recognition it is getting.  It’s a great romance that is funny and unique.  I loved it, and I highly recommend it!


Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5 

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