Book Review — Still Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway

Book Review — Still Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway
Book Review — Still Life With Strings by L.H. CoswayStill Life With Strings by L.H. Cosway
Published by Self-Published
Genres: Romance
Format: eARC
Source: ARC via author

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?

Wrong.

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.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.


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Review:

After finishing Still Life With Strings, I can say with certainty that L.H. Cosway is one of my favorite authors.  I’ve read this book and Painted Faces, and look forward to reading her other series.  Cosway pens some of the most unique and distinctive characters.  Painted Faces told the love story between a troubled drag queen and his quirky neighbor and cupcake baker.  Still Life With Strings blends classical music and bits of magic while revealing the love story between a privileged virtuosic violinist and a poor street performer.

Jade is a recovering alcoholic and bartender at the local symphony.  In her spare time, she is a performance artist, perched on her box standing still as a statue.

I’m a statue in a museum full of priceless art. A mythical creature turned to stone in the White Witch’s courtyard in Narnia. A marble angel wrought by the hands of Michelangelo in a church somewhere in Italy.
Or just a girl on a box who finds comfort in the anonymity of white paint and fake hair.

At twenty-six, she has more responsibility than most her age. Her mother died of lung cancer, leaving Jade and her older brother in change of their two younger siblings.  One night changes her life.  An exotic looking man spots her from across the courtyard and the two share a passionate one-night stand.  Something special passes between the two of them, a deeper connection.  But neither anticipate bumping into each other again.

Your appearance as a living statue is striking to say the least. I couldn’t look away when I saw you. You had this expression on your face like you were imagining heaven.

As fate would have it,  she and this mysterious man do meet up again.  His name is Shane and he’s the new violinist for the local symphony—the exact place where Jade works.  While Shane would want nothing more than to be with this fun, vivacious woman, Jade wants nothing more than friendship.  At least, that’s what she tells Shane.  Jade struggles internally with her feelings for Shane for much of the book. As Shane begins to integrate himself into her life and her heart, Jade begins to fall for him.

What is he doing to me? Why is he doing this to me?  He doesn’t even know it, but he’s making me love him.

Shane is the perfect gentleman and treats Jade with so much respect and adoration.  There was something alluring and enchanting about him. As a musician myself, I was completely charmed by his musical talents and entranced by the emotion he poured into every song he played.  He had this magnetic quality to him that was immensely attractive, but at the same time he was so incredibly sweet and romantic.  But underneath his talents is a broken man desperately seeking to live life again.

“You live in the real world, too, Shane.”
“I live in a world of privilege.”
“Just because it’s privileged doesn’t mean it’s not real. It means you’re fortunate.”
He shakes his head and reaches out to put his hand on my arm. “It’s stifling. And so fucking lonely. I want you to teach me to be like you, to live like you.”
For a while I remain quiet, then I reply, “My life is one long series of fuck ups, bad luck and mistakes. I have nothing good to teach you.

Jade is free spirit and full of life.  The reader gets glimpses into her quirky and unique mind with these pieces of her imagination.  Several times, she has these sort of magical day dreams that only added to beauty of this novel.  Jade helps Shane discover how beautiful life can be.

What Cosway does so beautiful well is building the friendship and subsequent relationship between Jade and Shane.  Even though the two do “hook up” early on, what follows is a slow-burning romance filled with some  scenes.  There were several moments that I have reread since I first read the book that just made me feel the characters.  The musical tie-ins only added to my reading experience.

There were a few reveals towards the end of the story that provided the reader with more background into the characters’ serendipitous meeting.  In my opinion, I felt as though the story could have survived with one or the other, and not both.  And I felt like the storyline with Shane’s ex didn’t add much to the story.  When she was introduced in an attempt to stir things up, Jade and Shane’s feelings for each other were pretty solid and didn’t feel like much could change the depth of Shane’s feelings for her.  In any event, I still really enjoyed this beautiful book.  L.H. Cosway is an automatic buy author for me! I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.

Who I Would Recommend this Book to: I would recommend this book for fans of slow-building romances where the couples build a friendship first.  This is one of my favorite friends to lovers stories.  You won’t want to miss it!

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