ahhhhh this is not an easy review to write for me.
The composer and music theme is absolutely ingenius. I loved that. I am not sure how much of a musical background Laura Lee Guhrke has. But I think she did a very good job depicting the agony of disrupted creative energy, the burning need of self-expression of artists and people of an artistic nature. Why are artists mostly wretchly tormented? The heroine asked that question. Because when you have a soul that is so full of images, thoughts, feelings and emotions, when your mind has aetenna, which receive all the messages, verbalized or silent, regardless of whether you want them, you need an outlet. If not, you go a little nuts and seem like a crazy person. Laura Lee Guhrke did really well in terms of fleshing out Dylan Moore, the disturbed composer, the hero in the book. For this, I would give this book 4 stars.
But it is a romance novel and the romance is sorely lacking. I thought it a really cool idea to use the 'musical genius looking for his muse" ruse as a base for the story. At about 30%, the book started its descend. So Dylan got Grace, supposedly his muse into his house with a daugther who was dropped on him like a bomb mere days ago. The "artisitc struggle" sort of went out of the window. He did still struggle but with what, I do not know. He is supposed to be a great musician, a tormented artist who abuses pleasure to fulfill whatever void he feels inside because he is unable to express himself through music. The characterization was great in the first 30%, but became almost invisisble after that.
Grace the muse, I have no idea what about her inspired such artistic inspirations. She had a husband, who was a artist. LIke many relationships with artists, the flame is strong and you get burned. He called her his muse and blamed her for he had the "artist's block". All rather real I have to say. Her husband died and her situation was destitute. Fast forward 5 years ago, a younger Grace saved Dylan from commiting suicide and Dylan somehow believed that she was his muse. They met each other again 5 years later. And Dylan pursued her because he thought she could help him. Naturally, she was not a fan to that idea, not interested in being any man's muse ever again.
I gotta say, plotline is not bad. But the story has no romance. I see obsession, artistic agony, self-indulgence, one tormented artist, an ordinary woman who seemed to be Helen of Troy to artists, and one very annoying little girl. For the poor execution, I want to give 2 stars.
So here I am. Tortured. Torn between 2 and 4 stars. I understand the artistic burning and really appreciate the attempt at bringing that into light. But it is a romance novel. It sucked in the romance department.
I am going with the lower rating this time. I like my romance stories with a heavy focus on romance and love. If I was looking for a fiction which illustrates an artist's search of inner peace, I would not have picked a romance novel.
p.s.: I really must avoid books featuring children, especially when they are children of the lead characters. I always feel like I want to slap them. I could never tolerate a willful child who throws tantrums. I am one of those people who would walk away from a crying child. Cry all you want. We will talk when you are ready for reasons.