Bree T's Reviews > Artistic License

Artistic License by Katie Fforde
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Jun 18, 11

bookshelves: chick-lit, romance
Read from June 13 to 15, 2011 — I own a copy

Thirty-odd Thea gave up her burgeoning professional photography career after a gross betrayal by her boyfriend nearly ended in tragedy for her professionally. Paid some money by her grateful clients for averting a gossip-column scandal, she retreated to the country and bought a huge house and took in lodgers, university students, as an extra source of income. Realising she was more like a mother to these late teens and 20-somethings than a landlady and that they were taking her for granted, she jumped at the opportunity to go on a holiday to Europe with a friend of hers, Molly. While on holiday she meets Rory, a gorgeous artist who is clearly interested in her. He offers Thea to come and look after him rather than her students and although Thea declines, when she arrives back at the airport and realises her lodgers have thrown a huge party in her absence complete with a broken washing machine and vomit on the carpet, she abruptly changes her mind and books a flight to the airport closest to Rory’s Irish retreat.

Once Thea sees Rory’s artwork, she knows that it simply has to be shown. But Rory blew his only show years ago by getting blind drunk and acting the disgrace and finding somewhere willing to show him might not be easy. When Molly arrives with one of Thea’s lodgers, Petal and Petal’s uncle Ben to make sure that Thea hasn’t completely lost her mind taking off like that, everyone sees Rory’s work and agrees that it must be shown. When Ben, who has contacts, said that maybe he can get a showing in a year or so, Thea finds this unacceptable. She decides to open her own gallery so that she can show Rory’s work.

But starting up a gallery is harder, and more expensive than Thea anticipated, especially when Rory has started being alarmingly vague and out of contact. Thea knows that if he goes back on his agreement to show with her, everything she has worked for will be lost. So far she has managed to resist Rory’s advances – he’s younger than her and very charming but mostly all Thea is interested in is his art. Ben on the other hand…Ben infuriates her but there’s definitely something there.

Sometimes the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case it mostly did – this book cost me about $3.33 and it was probably the equivalent to buying one of those .99c eBooks. You’re always taking a gamble – sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. In the case of this book it wasn’t too bad a story line – I’ve definitely read worse! I think my biggest problem was character development. Oh and pacing.

I had a hard time getting into Thea as a main character as she was just so much of a doormat. Surely someone, a home owner, who took money from people, would not allow themselves to be walked all over in such a fashion by these college students. We only really meet one of them, Petal, who is mostly unbearable, but from what I can tell, she was just one of a decent length list who messed up Thea’s house, used all the hot water, stole her hair dryer and various other appliances, flooded the washing machine and held parties in her absence where people vomited all over the carpet. The fact that Thea ran off to Ireland to stay with a man she’d met on holiday and spoken to once, was also a bit unbelievable as that’s the sort of behaviour that tends to get a person dismembered and buried in separate garbage bags around the countryside.

Rory and Ben, as the requisite two thirds of a love triangle, are equally basic characters. Rory is a charming, feckless artist who coasts through life on his good looks and spends his time producing amazing artworks that after his last indiscretion, no one ever sees. He’s interested in Thea, but it seems mostly as a bed partner and it’s never really explored why he finds her attractive or exactly what he wants or why he invited her to his house in the first place, seeing as he’s an artistic loner. Ben is obviously the long term option but their ‘relationship’ for want of a better term, is mostly nothing for approximately 98% of the entire book and then suddenly there it is. Thea at one stage declares herself madly in love with Ben, despite the fact that they’ve not actually done much other than argue and spend a few afternoons together looking at galleries (and more arguing). I can buy an attraction based on so little but I did find it very hard to buy love. I need a bit more than that to convince me of actual love.

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D.A. - don't mock bully victims who suffered more than a star rating - I thoroughly dislike the after 98% of a book suddenly the protagonist gets a new love interest

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