Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway
Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..
Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.
Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.
She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.
In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.
I really wanted to like Painted Faces. This was my online book club book this month and...everyone else seemed to love it. It makes me think am I missing something? I just...I really wanted to love it. I mean heterosexual drag queen as the male love interest? Yes please! Unfortunately not like this...
What didn't I like about this book? Pretty much everything. I hated the main characters. Freda got on my nerves something fierce. I just...I can only take some much self deprecation while also being full of oneself and looking down upon everyone else. She obviously has self esteem issues at times, but then at times she is so full of herself. She is obsessed with her weight to the point where it was incredibly annoying to me. Apparently she is fat and reminds you all the time of that fact. People call her fat, she doesn't like clothes shopping because she is fat, she doesn't like to be naked because she is fat (fat girls don't like to be naked!), she is fat fat fat. But she is not really. She is a US size 10 which is not even that big. It is like my size and I don't think I am fat. Maybe I have better self esteem than Freda. Who is fat. Did I mention she was fat? It felt like it was just shoved in your face ever two seconds until I was so sick of hearing how fat she was when she wasn't really that fat. Of course she also loves food because well she is fat. Obviously. I just...I couldn't deal with her. And the constant descriptions of what people looked like.
Besides being obsessed with her weight she is also incredibly horrible to everyone around her. Yeah not in a defense mechanism kind of way where she is kind of mean, but not really but in the how is anyone able to be around you because you are so incredibly mean kind. I just...not like her bff she lives with is that nice either. I don't really know why they are friends. And Freda is always talking bad about others when she does the exact same things! They are dirty sluts, but she can do the same things with Nicholas and it is totes cool. Not the same thing when she does it of course. Oh yes, I love it when you are so condescending and rude about another persons behavior, though not to their face as that would be mean guys, but then do the same thing you were complaining about. She also got very annoying with her he probably doesn't like me poor me tirade. She could have Nicholas any time she wanted, but then would get really upset when some other girl would talk to him. It was just like make up your mind or talk to him about the issue or whatever. Just do something instead of being all whiny I want him but I don't.
So let's move onto Nicholas now. I wanted to love him. I wanted to read a great book about a straight guy who likes to dress in women's clothing. Not something I have ever read before so yes bring it on! Unfortunately Nicholas was really kind of a creepy jerk. He was way too vulgar and not in a fun flirty kind of way, but in a gross you are a slimy perv kind of way. He was...if I were Freda I never would have been friends with him. I would have tried to stay as far away from him as I could. He was always touching her and trying to get her to sleep with him and when she would be all no stop! He wouldn't. Yes in her head she was conflicted some of the time, some times wanting him to not stop but wanting him to at the same time, but no means no. Or no should mean no. When she is adamantly being STOP! and you keep going until she caves that is not cool. Not cool at all. I don't actually see him being in love with Freda by the end. I mean he only ever wanted to fuck her. He was always trying to get in her pants and that is about it. I just...he rubbed me the wrong way. He was always so inappropriate and skeevy in ways that would have made me uncomfortable if it were to happen to me. I never would have really gotten to know him because he was like that from the first, no matter how beautiful he was.
Besides hating the main characters I also didn't like the writing. It was the style where it is way too descriptive. She makes cupcakes and she splits them into groups of twelve with one group having this frosting and one group have this other frosting and so on. Too much description! I don't care as it really doesn't move along the plot or matter to the story. It was too much. Like Nicholas drove them to the club, then he park the car in this place then they got out and walked over and opened the door and then walked into the club and so on. Too much info. They drove to the club is fine. I can infer than he parked somewhere and you walked inside if you end up inside the club. So unfortunately this book was not for me. I really wanted to love it and hopefully I can find a different drag queen love story to read. Because I hated Freda and her self hatred so much and Nicholas was really pervey to me I didn't enjoy the story. There wasn't much to it besides Nicholas trying to get into Freda's pants and Nicholas performing. So disappointed, though I seem to be in the minority as most people seem to love it.