Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Artistic Appeal, Andrew Grey, Dreamspinner Press
Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian's eye. Instead, it's Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter.
But pursuing Nicolai won't be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he's reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai's ex, who wants him back badly.
Nicolai's reluctance isn't the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost ten years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man—all while conducting a potentially groundbreaking court case and trying to convince Nicolai that love isn't about co-dependence, it's about support.
This story picks up just a few months after Legal Artistry ends and continues to tell the story of the return of The Woman in Blue and the men whose lives she brings together.
Brian has taken over as lead attorney from Gerald, but that's not the only big change in his life. After admitting to his friend about the end of his marriage and the fact that he is gay, Brian is trying to rebuild his life and care for his young daughter. Having Dieter and Gerald as friends has helped make the transition easier. While attending a Christmas party at their house he meets a man that he can't seem to get off his mind.
Nicolai has become close friends with Dieter while repairing some of the paintings that have been returned to him. He needed the work but more importantly he needed the friendship. After the end of a long term relationship that left him floundering because of how much he depended on the man he needs the interaction with other people to gain his life back. Being deaf doesn't make things any easier.
I appreciate an author that takes the time to develop a relationship between his characters, it makes for a much more realistic read. The feelings between Brian and Nicolai were authentic and made me believe in them as a couple. Things aren't easy and they both have outside influences that make them being together something they both have to work at.
I understood Nicolai's hesitation over becoming involved to deeply with someone again. To depend on someone and have them just leave you is devastating to anyone. But add in his deafness and having it effect his ability to communicate with possible clients, which threatened his livelihood had to be so much more.
Brian's reluctance stemmed from a very real fear of his family's reaction and his ex-wife's. Not to mention starting any kind of new relationship with a child that has just gone through the trauma of a divorce living with you. Introducing Nicolai to his daughter was an honest concern. I loved that Brian and his daughter took sign language classes.
The addition of the trial and the emotion that is created from that kept the story line flowing. The only real criticism I have is that Brian's daughter acts so much younger than her stated age that I wanted to "read" her younger. But what it comes down to is can two very different people with so many outside distractions build a relationship in spite of those obstacles.
This is another great addition to the Andrew Grey book list and I for one can't wait to see what he has for us next. I give Artistic Appeal 4 chocolate dipped strawberries.