Sebastian (Sen) Holt is an artist currently in New Orleans. He’s always been a wanderer, believing in fate and following signs to guide his destiny. Although he itches to pull up stakes, getting a painting into a gallery keeps him rooted. One morning his good friend calls him in desperate need of help with her cleaning business. Her regular cleaner flaked, she can’t lose her client, and there’s no one else.
The job is at a large and recently restored house—and the owner, Morgan Ballard, comes home unexpectedly. They are immediately drawn together, as if they know each other, but they’ve never met. As they grow closer, Morgan behaves like two people. Sometimes he’s friendly and casual, and other times intimate and demanding. Sen juggles his painting through bursts of vision-like inspiration, the cleaning job, and an unexpected commission—all while trying to unlock the growing mystery of the intense connection he feels to Morgan. He’s not sure which scares him more—the strangeness surrounding their growing bond or that he’s found someone to make him reconsider his lifelong wanderlust.
What a good time for this book to come out! It’s not exactly scary, but maybe spooky? In any case, it has lots of dark scenes, mystery and an eerie disjointed sense of reality that lends itself to the Halloween season.
On the one hand I really liked how this story developed and played out and really felt like the layers of metaphors really worked. The imagery of the artist and the paint and the canvas – mimicking the memories or pseudomemories getting played out and “remembered” was wonderful. I also liked the “flashbacks” and the clammy, damp feelings associated with the storms and Morgan’s own “memories”.
Though I pretty much figured out what was going on right away, I wasn’t exactly sure of the details and that kept me interested and turning pages.
What didn’t work for me was the length. I got bogged down in the middle third of the book wading through the (very good) descriptions of the flashbacks and the encounters with Morgan waiting for the punch-line. There just wasn’t enough action to keep me one hundred percent engaged. I understood the slow reveal, but I guess, for me, it was a little too slow.
The author did a magnificent and very thorough job of “painting” the picture for the reader, however, and I could almost feel the humidity and the electricity in the air.
Overall, I thought this was a fascinating and well-written story and well worth my time.
4.25 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review