I feel like a gap in reality, a moment where people can pause mid-stride and say in a breathy, wonder-filled voice, wow, look at that. For the more cynical, wow, look at that nutjob.
Jade Lennon lives a rather interesting life. She is the guardian to her younger siblings, a recovering alcoholic working as a bartender at the local symphony hall and on her off days, a living statue performer. Working as the Blue Lady not only allows her to bring home extra money, but to also connect with her artistic side and bring her emotionally closer to someone lost to her years ago. One night while performing she notices a stranger staring at her from across the street. When he comes over to ask her out for coffee, she instead offers him a brief sexual encounter in the alley, not expecting to ever see him again.
“I think I might have dreamt you,” he breathes, kissing one side of my mouth and then the other.
That makes me grin wide. What a romantic thing to say to a woman who let you shag her minutes after you just met.
Shane Arthur is the newest violinist at the concert hall where Jade works. She is a little shocked when he walks up to her at the bar after a performance, but he is very happy to see her again. Even though there is a tremendous amount of chemistry and attraction between them, she is determined to keep it as just friends from here on out. Her emotional wellbeing and sobriety depend on it. So Shane and Jade start-up an eclectic, often magical friendship. Shane is just learning to overcome a very bad time in his life after finding his best friend and fiancé in a delicate situation. He needs the funny, quirky, resilient Jade to show him how to live again. Jade has had a rough, often tragic life, but since giving up alcohol she has gotten her life back on track and doesn’t seem to have let the bad stuff keep her down. Her siblings depend on her to provide them with a stable home and guidance through the often tough neighborhood they live in.
LH Cosway has this way of taking me on a journey with characters that are completely out of my usual reading routine and making them and their love story believable to me. Still Life with Strings is her newest contemporary romance offering and it’s just as completely strange and unconventional as the first book that I read by her, Painted Faces. When you think about it, how often have you read a romance where the heroine stands still dressed in blue feathers and white paint on her off time?
The romance between Jade and Shane does develop slowly regardless of the fact that their first sexual encounter happens in the first chapter. I liked these two for each other, even though they were completely different personalities, from completely different life situations. There is this sense of destiny about their meeting and falling in love. In fact Ms. Cosway weaves little bits of that destiny into the story periodically so readers can experience just how fated this couple have always been and how they inadvertently changed each other’s life long before they met. I wasn’t sure what I was reading in those parts until it came together at the end, then it all made sense and gave this romance an even more magical quality to it. While the chemistry between them grows steadily and believably as the story progresses, it’s really their shared love of art and music that bring these complete opposites together. I loved that. While I enjoyed the sexual tension between them, it was how they relished and immersed themselves in each other’s talents that really gave this couple’s connection validity.
The characters and setting might be unusual, but this really is a simple boy meets girl, they become friends and move onto something more love story. The conflict and plot aren’t that complicated. I never really had any doubt what so ever that these lovers would end up together. I guess my only complaint would be that at times I felt it was just a little too easy. There are a couple of scenes toward the end that I think were supposed to create more conflict for this couple, but even those were overcome with little or no angst or struggle. This couple meets in the first chapter and kind of falls into each other. There are brief moments where they try to stay away from each other and agree to be friends, but even in their friendship there is a sense that they belong with each other.
All in all I enjoyed this romance and found it to be yet another lovely, enchanting read from an author that never fails to impress me with her talent. Final Grade- B-
“I feel like I’m falling,” he whispers, bringing his mouth to my lips for a soft, barely there kiss.