I don’t usually review non supernatural themed books on this blog, but I’m making an exception this time. L.H Cosway is the author of some of my favourite books of 2012: Tegan’s Blood, Tegan’s Return, A Strange Fire and A Vision in Green, all of which I’ve adored. Going into Painted Faces, I was hoping I’d enjoy it even half as much as those paranormal works. I needn’t have worried. Painted Faces was a gorgeous read.
I might not have a boyfriend, but I have cupcakes, and those tasty bastards haven’t let me down yet.
25 year old Dubliner, Freda, meets the handsome and charming, Nicholas, from New Zealand. Flirtatious banter ensues, and soon Freda learns of Nicholas’ unusual job. He’s a cabaret performer working at a gay club in town, entertaining audiences nightly as drag queen, Vivica. Is he gay, is he straight, is he somewhere in between? Us readers, like Freda, are keen to find out.
Freda is funny, self-deprecating and down to earth. She’s real, as are all the characters in Painted Faces. Nicholas may be a little more colourful than most, but beneath the women’s clothes and theatre makeup, he’s a man that would make most girls swoon. I liked Freda. She thinks of herself as shy and unconfident, but I think she’s letting herself down with that view of herself. Freda is a curvy girl, cursed to live with a tiny size 8 flatmate. She’s fun, bubbly, witty and more than capable of holding her own in any social situation. She’s self-employed as a baker as well as working in a charity shop, for minimum wage of course, she points out, lest we think she’s some saint.
I was able to see all the action in this book in my mind like a film. This is a story that would come even more alive on the big screen. I was picturing a younger Alan Cummins in the role of Nicholas (probably because I watched Burlesque recently). Her flatmate and best friend, Nora, is a cow. You know when you’re friends with someone who doesn’t really suit you anymore, but you stay friends with them because you’ve known them for so many years? Well, that’s Nora. They’ve been pals since they were sixteen years old, but if they were to meet for the first time now, they’d despise each other on sight. Nora is petty, bitchy, jealous, unsupportive and tears Freda down with snipey little comments. For all Freda’s intelligence and wit, she doesn’t recognise what her friend is doing.
I laughed so many times reading this book, one such time being when Freda manages to enjoy a rant with the taximan about the bastard bankers -we’ve all had those taxi rides home. The trip and talk about going to Copper’s in Dublin made me smile. Everyone in Ireland knows about Copper Face Jacks, a cattle mart for people in Dublin looking to hook up. I can’t finish this review without mentioning the sexual interactions between Fred and Nicholas are hot.
Once again, I found Cosway’s characters to be like real people, and people I’d like to be friends with. *****
Check it out on Amazon HERE
Happy Almost New Year’s. If you’re looking for a laugh to kickstart 2013, think about picking this up. It’s the perfect read for the holiday break with all the glitzy parties and get-togethers. Or enter the Giveaway for the paperback currently going on over at Goodreads.