Spaz Guest Reviews: Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway 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.

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (December 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481060139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481060134
  • Purchase Painted Faces at Amazon

If you are like me, an avid romance reader of all sub-genres, sometimes you find yourself in a place of “every single book feels like I have read it before.” Sound familiar? So when I saw a review of Painted Faces at Smexy Books, my interest was peeked after skimming it. When I finished the book, I wanted to talk to everyone about it because it left me with such a deep feeling of satisfaction, and left me wanting more. From the start, I felt heavily invested in both the characters, and the story. The premise is entirely unique. This is a m/f romance, but the male is a straight drag queen. It is equal parts funny and sexy, and yes, romantic.

Freda has the wit and humor that you secretly wish you had. She seems to know how to respond to every situation, and had me thoroughly charmed from the start. Likewise, Nicholas appears to take everything in stride, handling every situation that comes his way seemlessly. The connection between the two is so multi-dimensional it practically jumps off the page at you. As the layers are peeled and we learn more about them as they learn about each other, I became quite smitten with both Freda and Nicholas.

“We all paint on a face to show the world,” Nicholas replies philosophically. “For some of us, that’s quite literal.” He takes a brief pause. “When you’re passionate about something, you don’t mind suffering a little discomfort.”

I give him a wry glance. “Have you had to suffer for your passion?”

He nods gently, his eyes roving over the crowds as they push by us. “More than you would think.”

Not only are the characters so superbly and richly written, they are crafted with such a delicate touch of authenticity. Never did I feel as though I had to suspend disbelief as I watched their story play out. Nicholas is such a real character and his sexuality is never lost or confused in the fact that he feels a passion to dress up in women’s clothes and perform. I wasn’t sure how the romance aspect would be, but it completely works in every way. The tension and angst will have you on the edge of your seat, with a fantastic and sexy payoff.

When you go in to Painted Faces, it is very easy to expect a “romance with a straight drag queen.” I anticipated that I would know how I would feel and what would be involved; but, I could not have been more misguided. In addition to greatly constructed characters, Painted Faces is incredibly insightful and smart. There were several parts of introspection that really spoke to me and stuck with me. Clever dialog and truly awesome characters made this easily one of my favorite reads of 2013. I look forward to seeing more of this author!


  • Rebe February 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I love this book! Both Nicholas and Fred are such rich characters. Really beautiful!

    • Spaz February 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Yay!! I want to tell everyone to read it. Since finishing it, I can’t seem to stop talking about it. It’s made a forever impression on me. We NEED more books like this.

  • Wicked Lil Pixie February 1, 2013 at 11:53 am

    It’s my next read, got it loaded on the ereader and ready to go.

    • Spaz February 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Hooray! I just think you will really gel with this book because of the uniqueness, and the humor.

  • Midnyte Reader February 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I normally wouldn’t read a book like this, but it sounds so wacky-awesome!

    • Spaz February 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

      I PROMISE you will not be disappointed!!!

  • Karen February 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    It is SO difficult to find anything original these days and this certainly seems to be different. I’m glad to hear that it works so well. I’m going to have to add this to the TBR pile.

    • Spaz February 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

      It works in every way. You will love it!

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