Tuesday, June 14, 2022

LH Cosway - Still Life with Strings

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?
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.

Comment: Another book by this author which caught my interest. The protagonists come from opposed realities and I tend to like both this theme and the different class. The work by this author is usually a hit and miss for me, even if all have elements that work out somehow and this one, out of the ones I've read is one of titles I liked best.

In this book we meet Jade Lennon, a young woman trying to meet ends' meet so she can raise her younger siblings. Although they are all teenagers - one already adult - she feels responsible, since their mother died four years ago. Jade works as a waitress at a concert hall and she also likes to dress up as a statue. One night she sees a man looking at her and something about him calls up to her too, so they end the night together. 
Shane has recently joined the orchestra and he likes this new challenge, especially when he realizes one of the waitresses is the woman he was with one night, after he saw her in her statue costume. They start talking, first as friends despite their one night stand, but as they get to know one another better, their feelings change as well...but for two people from so different backgrounds, will there be any chance of a HEA?

Unlike the books I wasn't too fond of by this author, I think this one worked out pretty well because the emotional stability developed between the main characters felt realistic but had its romantic moments too. Somehow it felt more stable for me than what happened in other novels. As always, there were things I wish could have happened differently, but I had a pleasant reading experience and that counts too.

I think the best element of this story is the interesting professions the main characters have. Jade is a waitress and I kind of liked how there is some focus on this job, especially to add contrast to the fact Shane is a musician who comes from a better established family (economically speaking). She also works as a living statue and we get some clues on how these artists endure all that time in the same position, I had never thought about it but I don't think I'm a very patient person to be able to do it. I liked how this revealed a little of her personality and thoughts.

Shane is a ore classical hero, not only because he does play the violin, so more often classical music in the orchestra, but his attitude and behavior follows that of a pretty standard hero. I confess it feels as if the focus of the whole story is more on how things impact Jade rather then Shane but since he is a man who respects Jade and the fact she can be seen as more alternative than him, turned him into someone I liked and wanted to see getting happiness.

The plot isn't complex nor demanding. Basically follows the protagonists on their daily routines and emotional development, as they - mostly Jade - battle physical attraction in the attempt to cherish a true friendship. They also have to worry about the ones closest to them: Jade worries about her siblings, namely the younger ones, who seem to have bad attitude and companies at first but while Jade flourishes in her friendships with Shane it seems that helps in how she believes she can help her brother and sister becoming more confident in themselves and have correct attitudes.

Shane, again, has a more classical situation to deal with. He had been in a group, his fiance broke things up when she slept with another member and now Shane joined the orchestra. His family pressures him to get beck to that woman but he is already committed to being in love with Jade, even though they have not discussed it yet. His mother and the past seem to be heavyweights when it comes to present Shane with the "clever" choice in life, but I'm glad there weren't any silly misunderstandings, only some minor self doubt, which I don't see as weird... it's difficult to find people who always think positive.

The romance wasn't the most romantic thing ever, but I liked how they became friends, how they seemed to want to understand one another, how they didn't judge their respective backgrounds as the only explanation about their current lives... it felt as if their relationship was balanced and, sometimes, that is more important then larger than life love demonstrations. I think this is not a romance to dazzle, and in a way I liked it but.. there were moments where it felt their lives were just a bit too bland and lacking enough conflict (it didn't have to be external). In other words, some chapters were a little boring...

Nevertheless, this was a good read, I think some plot choices closer to the end were a bit too conveniently fitted into the overall story, but for the most part I enjoyed reading this, and that is always positive.
Grade: 8/10

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