and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.
I can admit that I am a walking cliché. I am the stay at home mom of two kids and I read a LOT of romance novels. A ridiculous amount that I think I’ve not even admitted to Trina, but she must know (or does now!). However, it is books like “Painted Faces” that allow me to go forth and state loudly and proudly that I do, indeed, read romance novels. That’s right folks…it’s not all tawny skin, muscled perfection and huge members, it can be a multi-faceted and nuanced tale of two people who fall in love. It can be unconventional and it can be entertaining and hilarious.
Freda (aka “Fred”), our heroine, is delightfully irreverent. I can’t tell you how many times I had to highlight her monologues throughout the book, and I’m not normally a highlighter. She’s pudgy – yet sexy –, self-deprecating and just real. Her take on life is fresh, witty and I have to say that I felt comfortable and invested in her story from the get go. She’s a very well-crafted character. She meets our Hero, Nicholas (aka “Viv”), when he moves into the flat (yes, it’s a tale from Ireland that uses great words such as “flat”, “crisp”, “posh” and “snogging”) next door to her. It’s not one of those “love at first sight” tales. Fred and Viv meet, form a friendship, are wildly attracted to one another, but take their time to truly know each other…all the darkness and light that makes a person who they are.
Nicholas is a cabaret performer, and here’s the twist – he’s a drag queen. He’s not gay…but he dresses up in women’s
clothes to perform. That is part of what makes this story so refreshing…he’s an unconventional hero, and I think the stories that challenge our preconceived notions of ideas of convention and societal norms are some of the best. This book really kept me engaged and engrossed in the story to see where it would go and how it would all work out. One of the most surprising books I have read in a while and an 4 star read for me!