Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

Painted Faces - L.H. Cosway

This book really had me puzzled. On one hand it was unique as the protagonist met and fell in love with a transvestite. But on the other it was overly predictable with a plethora of troupes.


Frieda (Fred), the protagonist, a native of Dublin arrives home drenched one day and meets her new neighbour, the handsome Nicholas (Viv). She gets talking to him and he invites her to the club where he works and will be debuting his new stage show. She doesn’t know what his show entails and gets quite a shock when she sees him appear on stage in full drag. Frieda thinks that Nicholas may be gay, but soon realises he’s as straight as they come when they form a friendship with instalust at its core. Right from the off Nicholas will barely let up with the sexual innuendo and after a long period of playing around they finally get it together.


My main problem with the book is that it tried so hard to be different and succeeded, only to then fall back on nearly every troupe that exists in new-adult fiction. There was the gay friend, the slutty friend, the vixen friend, the insecure protagonist, the sexually undernourished heroine and the list goes on.


Then there was the problem with the characters which except for Frieda and Nicholas, suffered from serious underdevelopment. Too much focus was put on Nicholas and how self-assured he was in his sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, I think Fred and Viv were portrayed really well, especially Fred, but it stopped with these too.


The sex was another matter. It wasn’t particularly well-written and it certainly wasn’t hot. And If I heard Frieda refer to her lady parts as ‘the mound’ one more time I was seriously planning to drop my kindle in the bath.  FYI, there was quite a bit of sex, so if that’s not your thing, stay clear.


There was also the strange narration. Frieda talked openly to the reader which only served the purpose of making it easier to info-dump. It didn’t serve the book in any other way. The story would have benefited hugely from a lot of the filter words being removed and the POV being deeper.


And what was the gender swapping in names all about? Viv the transvestite and Fred the girlfriend? I take it the author was trying to solidify the notion that gender was interchangeable? It could have been done in a much more satisfying way.


Despite all this I did find the story interesting enough to keep me reading, however I won’t be reading anything from the author again, ill actively avoid her.