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 always hate being on the fence about a title, but every so often it happens, like it's happening now with Painted Faces.
Why didn't it get the full green light? Answer is about as hazy as my opinion, I guess. I'm not going to run out and recommend this title to everyone I see because in a number of places during Nick and Freda's escapades the writing style seemed a little too familiar... a little too Gray, (and if you've forgotten my opinion on that 'gem' of literary history, here's the link).
But on the other hand, unlike it's genres defining cousin, Painted Faces does a number of things right. For example:
- It tells a one book story in one book.
- It doesn't make either of the lead characters seem weak for the sake of being weak.
- There is zero BDSM in this one, but the adult scenes are still 100% working it.