Katie Fforde comes to the blog with a wonderfully sweet romantic comedy with
Thea is a mid-thirties woman who, after finding her last photojourno boyfriend trying to sell one of her photos to a tabloid, has reimagined her life and career, and now has a houseful of university students as lodgers, and works part-time. With no real interest in money and fame, Thea’s also rather sort of rolling through life, sometimes smoothly, other times being stepped on under the boots of those more assertive. But, when her friend Molly insists she go on a 6 day tour of Provence at short notice, it opens a series of questions and opportunities for Thea, many of which she’d never considered. And the introduction to the lector for the history of Cezanne, while horrible, turns out to be a rather charming Irishman who ‘dabs about’ with paints, and offers Thea a place to stay and getaway in the West Counties, the idea of returning to her home with the knowledge of the mess to clean and the bone-deep knowledge that she just doesn’t WANT to be there – she hooks a ride to Stanstead and is on the first plane to Ireland.
Rory is much more than a crap art lecturer who ‘dabbles’ with painting. While he makes a living painting horses, dogs and portraits, his true ‘art’ is tucked in a shed. Gloriously colorful landscapes with light and presence that shines through, wall-sized oils that are as beautiful and atmospheric as the views from his little cottage. This unknown ‘gem’ has a horrible history, having behaved more than badly at his first showing, panned by all the critics, and sent off home with a tail between his legs. Thea- recognizing something wonderful in the work contacts Molly, who knows EVERYONE, to get Rory some notice.
Oh this was fun – the ins and outs of the ‘art scene’ and Thea’s determination that Rory’s work should not only stay in Britain but that she’d very much like to be the one who owns a gallery that reintroduces him to the art world. When you add in Molly’s cousin Ben and his young son, one very frustrated by Thea’s naivete and willingness to go so far out for Rory, the other finding her hominess and willingness to bake cakes and let him muck about in the kitchen. And there is a mastiff with her litter of puppies, some unexpected showdowns in the pouring rain, and a lovely happy ever after with a new gallery in the home counties – I love Fforde’s ability to take a heroine who isn’t truly confident, turn her about and have her find her feet with the help of determination, friends and good humor.
I’ve plucked this copy from my overly full bookshelves full of titles purchased for my own library, an #OffTheShelf read. I was not compensated for, nor obligated to write a review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Title: Artistic License
Author: Katie Fforde
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Romantic Elements, Setting: Ireland
Published by: Arrow
Published on: 6 June, 2002
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
There’s an art to choosing men, but Thea’s just discovering it. A wonderfully romantic novel from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Recipe for Love, A French Affair and The Perfect Match.
Fed up with looking after a houseful of students, Thea Orville throws caution to the winds and takes off to Ireland with Rory, a charming but feckless artist.
But Thea's old life isn't so easily cut off. The arrival of Molly, her bossy friend, demanding to see Rory's stunning paintings (and to find out what Thea is up to) is bad enough, but why did she have to bring Petal, Thea's most annoying lodger, along for the ride? And worst of all, Petal is accompanied by her uncle, the enigmatic Ben, a man Thea has sworn never to like.
The timing is terrible - Rory's dog is about to have puppies - but even more alarming is that the more Rory pursues Thea, the more maddeningly attractive she finds Ben...