Mar 24 2014 1:30pm

First Look: L.H. Cosway’s Still Life with Strings (March 24, 2014)

L.H. Cosway
Still Life with Strings
L.H. Cosway / March 24, 2014 / $3.99 digital

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.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

L.H. Cosway's Still Life With Strings is a beautifully written love story, with a very fresh and enjoyable voice. It's told in first person, not my favorite way of telling a story, but here it just works so well and there's such warmth in Jade, the heroine.

You're sucked in from the first page, right there with Jade, in her life, but more, feeling, seeing, and experiencing what she does. And the incredible memorable opening to the book. It's hot, and fun, and really works. Ms. Cosway knows how to tempt and tease, both the reader and the characters.

What I really enjoyed was how different this story was from what I've read in some time. The tone, the voice, pacing, everything. Of course Shane is just a wonderful hero. He and Jade are so grounded and pragmatic and broken and perfect. The story is stark in a way, realistic and normal ... almost. Of course, in true romance novel form everything works out in the end, and we've got a super talented hero, but it's the heroine who seems more knowledgeable and in charge. I liked that dynamic.

I don't know if someone might read it differently, but I'd like to note that I didn't really feel there was “magical realism” (mentioned in the back cover copy) in the story. Ms. Cosway writes in scenes from Jade's imagination, which are glorious, but it's in her head, so I'd call them more flights of fancy. There are also some moments that might border on deus ex machina (not so much for problem solving but weaving in the story), but I think the adage “life is stranger than fiction” also works, so it didn't bother me too much. In fact, I think I'm being so picky because of how wonderfully realistic Still Life With Strings is. As the reader you feel as if you're stepping into Jade's life, slipping comfortably in, while falling in love with Shane right along with her.

There's definitely art, music, and sex, and I'm all for that. Jade is living art, in a way, Shane is a musician, and their passion isn't just a character prop; Ms. Cosway has them live it, and imbues each aspect of their lives and personalities with it.

Shane and Jade have an opposites attract romance, but they work. (And not just for the aforementioned perfect set up/potentially pat moments). The secondary characters are also very dynamic, and bring the story and the relationship to fruition. There's a very clever balance to the stark reality and absolute romance the characters experience. Shane and Jade are seriously into each other from the start, but Jade throws up barriers. She decided she wants friendship, but nothing more, despite the initial meeting. I really enjoyed seeing Jade fall in love despite herself.

Ms. Cosway provides detail that brings each scene to life but in a subtle way, adding richness to the story but not dragging things down. After finishing this book I immediately went to look into her back list. I definitely recommend reading Still Life With Strings. I resented my real life which forced me to take breaks from reading.

Learn more about, or order a copy of Still Life with Strings by L.H. Cosway, out now:

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