Review: Still Life with Strings by L. H. Cosway05:42
Title: Still Live with Strings
Author: L. H. Cosway
Date of publication: 24 March 2014
Genre/themes: Contemporary romance / Art
My rating: 3.5 stars
My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.
The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.
After all, I was never going to see him again, right?
Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.
He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.
This was my first book by L. H. Cosway and I enjoyed it a lot. I expected it to be different, darker, instead I got a realistic, yet magical romance which left me feeling really happy in the end.
A lot of things worked for me this book. It's a great contemporary romance set in Dublin. I liked how the author mixed realism with meant-to-be cosmic type of love story. The undercurrent element of fate was not obvious from the start but gradually it took more and more place in the story.
The story is told solely from Jade's (the heroine) POV. I loved her character - determined, strong, funny and artistic. I felt that the tragedies in her life were a bit too much and sometimes she came off a know-it-all, giving advise on everything. At the same time this was countered rather well by her total confusion as regards her relationship with Shane. She knew that it was more than friendship, more than even friends with benefits, yet it took her forever to admit her true feelings and to act on them.
Shane was a wonderful character on his own, but he was even more amazing with Jade. I expected more darkness and artistic broodiness from a musical virtuoso like him, but he was all too human in his shyness and security, lack of real friends. He was just a sensitive guy who had suffered a terrible betrayal. His mother, as much as I didn't like her, summed him up perfectly in one word - vulnerable. Yet, I liked how certain he was of his feelings for Jade, how persistent her was, yet he never pushed her too far, never acted stalkerish in his attention to her.
Their chemistry was of the charts but Jade's continuous reluctance to get fully involved in the relationship was annoying. I also felt the mundane descriptions of her cooking, cleaning, working at the bar, selling tickets, etc. were too much and unnecessary. The inner world of the characters was rich and interesting enough without the constant reminders of the mundane aspects of their lives.
I really liked the strong presence of art and artistic expression in this story. From Shane playing the violin on stage and Jade posing as a live statue on the street to the performance they both took part in, art was there all the time. It gave a whole new layer to the story, bringing magic into everyday life.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read for me. I'd love to see Jade's brother, Alec, get a book of his own - his story and the relationship with Avery would be very interesting to read.
I've had another of Ms Cosway's contemporary romance, Painted Faces, on my TBR pile for a while now and I think it's finally time to get to it.