Review of “Painted Faces” by L.H. Cosway

Painted Faces

Thanks to my certain fascination with a tall, dark and handsome Irishman who happens to be my writing muse (wink, wink), I found this book primarily because it said “Dublin”. Well, that and I read the Irish Rugby series which was co-written by the author of this book, L.H. Cosway. Finding it was one thing, but when I read the blurb… well, despite my rather conservative upbringing, I’ve always had a rather fascinated affection for drag queens, so I knew I had to read it.

Boy am I glad I did!

This is one of those books that you read and actually forget when you discovered it exactly because it becomes so ingrained in your mind and in your heart that you literally cannot remember when you didn’t know it.

Freda is a Dublin native… A sassy twenty-five-year-old part-time cupcake baker/ thrift store clerk who’s been single for three years. She rooms with her long-time chum Nora and seems relatively content with her every-day-is-the-same life… Until the new neighbor moves in.

When Freda meets “Viv” (real name Nicholas), she is captivated by his devastating good looks and charisma. He also speaks his mind like her, even if his thoughts regarding her tend to run in a dirty sexy fun sort of direction. Freda, for her part, can’t believe this man is so interested in her and tries not to show her pleasure in being appreciated, though her low self-esteem can’t imagine why.

Things get more interesting when Nicholas invites her to see him perform in his cabaret act, Freda doesn’t know what to expect. Of course, readers are expecting a drag queen and we are not disappointed in the least.

I think what I liked the most about this story is the unexpected appeal of such an unconventional love story. It never feels odd that the sexy male lead in this story is a drag queen. The author manages to create a strong male character who is flawed, yet never weak, and for whom dressing in drag to perform is a means of being stronger and more complete. The affection that the two leads feel for each other, the passion and care, is so real it hurts your heart… but in a good way. Even more than the romance, in so ways, it is the friendship between Freda and Nicholas, the very real camaraderie that sparks from the moment they first meet, that makes you want to revisit this story over and over. And you do get to revisit it… the author wrote a follow-up book, Killer Queen, which essentially tells this same story, but from Nicholas’ viewpoint. And it was just as grand as this one, believe me!

Overall, I give this book five supernova stars! It was well worth reading and I will treasure returning to its pages frequently in the future.


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