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Kagama -The Literaturevixen

I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.






The Painted Lady by Lucia Grahame

The Painted Lady - Lucia Grahame

Sadness shadowed Fleur Brook's lovely, famous face. Because of her young husband's success as a painter, all of Paris and London's beau monde recognized the proud, dark-haired woman who had not only been his wife but his most inspiring model. Few knew the secrets behind his untimely death and the terrible betrayal that had left Fleur without a penny and with a heart she felt had turned to stone.

Reserved and understatedly elegant, Sir Anthony Camwell could not have been more different from the exuberant Frederick Brooks -- except in his captivation by the exquisite Fleur. Now, newly widowed, she had reluctantly accepted Sir Anthony's proposal of marriage, although she remained indifferent to his touch ... not noticing the flame that burned behind his cool gray eyes.

Amid the lavish surroundings of the Camwell ancestral estate he was fire, but she was unmelting ice. Then he made his stunning offer: her freedom and a fortune to live on if she agreed to his terms -- five nights of unquestioning, unrestrained surrender to what he planned to teach her ... the exquisite art of love



Cheesy blurb aside..


This book has a soundtrack in my head.


Yann Tiersen -Amelie Soundtrack La Noyee
Bat For Lashes - What's a Girl To Do
Lana Del Rey - Paris
Enrique Iglesias feat Ciara - Taking back my love
Bastille-Bad blood


I  had seen mention of this book around the web.Some raved about it while some seemed to hate it. So I decided to see for myself what it was all about...and wow it was a intense ride.



The book opens on the scene where englishman  Sir Anthony Camwell sees Fleur Brooks one evening in gay 1880s Paris. Fleur is spirited and happiness glows around her as she and her husband celebrates at a restaurant.


Anthony cant help but envy her charming artist husband Fredrick Brooks who has her for his wife.

             **********         ******       ********


We skip ahead to two years later Fleur has lost her child at birth and her husband is dead,leaving her almost penniless.Not an ideal situation. But she manages.


Through a former patron of her husband she is introduced to Anthony
and they soon strike up a friendship (from her side at least) and going on outings whenever he finds himself in Paris. She even considers that given time she might become in love with him.


So things are quite idyllic until one day however Fleur is approached by a shady art dealer who has in his posession some paintings made by her husband depicting her in various risqué poses. The art dealer threatens to expose them to the public wich could mean Fleurs reputation would be destroyed.


Unless... she can pay her for them. Feeling trapped in an impossible situation Fleur finding herself unable to pay considers becoming a prostitute wich would be the worst degradation for her especially since she thought she escaped the life her mother and grandmother lived and was meant for her until she eloped and married. Things seems truly hopeless...


But soon thereafter Anthony offers her marriage and desperately she accepts and feigns that she is in love with him too. This white lie soon unravels when Fleur fails to rouse any feeling during their first wedding night together..


Angered at her deceit Anthony starts acting cold and withdrawn and Fleur is forced to examine that she did something wrong in marrying without love and at the same time trying to scrape together money for the paintings.


                                        But this deception is also discovered.



And thats all I can say. A LOT of thing happens in this book.Its a rollecoaster but somehow its all kept together.


Neither the heroine or hero are perfect,wich is quite an understatement to say the least they both have their flaws and insecurities.Some could even say crippling psychological tendencies.


The heroine played a big part in the discord in their marriage being emotionally shut off and idolizing her dead husband.The hero was raised by a cold mother and liking to be in control of things.


                            And these examples are just the tip of iceberg.


Furthermore yes the hero cheats in this book,I usually hate when they do that but in this case there were some factors that mitigated this. Strange as it sounds.


It has some hint of a bodice ripper romance in some racy sex scenes but in the end what truly takes the centerstage is the hero and heroines emotional interaction. The first chapter is in the heros viewpoint and the rest is written from the heroines in first person.So we are as clueless as Fleur about Anthonys actions.


I am not sure I can explain clearly what captivated me about this book,but in the end I think it was how it dares to be unusual.Sadly this was the only book the author ever wrote.


The reason why its not a 5 star review is because at times I just wanted to smack some sense into the couple.And also a sex scene that was very emotional but a bit too exotic for my tastes.


This is not a book for someone who want a light uncomplicated read but if you want something a bit darker and moving (and very racy)this is the book for you.


And the ending...well you know how they say love is a battlefield.Lets just say they both surrendered.