When young Gastien Beauchamp flees the farm for Paris, the late nineteenth century bohemian era is in full swing. Color has always called to him, beseeching him to capture it on canvas and show people a new way of seeing things. His father belittled his dream of being an artist and tried to beat him into giving it up. The dream wouldn’t die, but Gastien would have had he not left.
He also yearns to become a great lover. After the years of anguish he has endured at the hand of his father, it would be heaven to feel pleasure instead of pain.
However, the city of Paris has a ruthless agenda. Unless a man has money and connections, Paris unfeelingly crushes dreams and destroys souls. With neither of the required assets, Gastien faces living in alleys, digging in trash bins for food, and sleeping where a man is often killed for his threadbare blanket.
Left with only his dreams, Gastien stubbornly pushes on. He vows that absolutely nothing will stop him, not yet realizing what keeping that vow might mean. Sometimes the “impossible” is possible – but the cost can be extremely high.
This historical fiction novel is book 1 of a 5 book drama/family saga for adults (The Gastien Series). As such, it contains adult themes and graphic scenes. Each book can stand on its own, but is most compelling read in order.
A lot happens in this novel. Whenever I thought nothing else could happen, the author surprised me. Gastien is an underdog and I love to cheer for the underdog. And I love historical fiction. There were many aspects that I enjoyed about this novel. At times the descriptions were lovely and I felt like I was immersed into Gastien’s world.
For readers who love to get inside a character’s mind, you may like this book. Rowland really explores all of Gastien’s thoughts. For the most part it works. There are times, though, when I thought it would be best to show what he was thinking instead of telling us. It can be dangerous to know every thought a person has and there were moments when I couldn’t stand the young artist. I understand that he had issues and a lot to overcome, but certain scenes and knowing everything that was going on in his mind was a bit much for me.
Rowland decided that her characters would speak formally so I had to adjust when I first started reading the dialogue. The author explained why she did this in the intro and I understood her logic. Yet, at times, she included some words and phrases that were more modern and this was difficult to absorb.
This is the first book in the series and it shows much promise. I do wish this book went through another round of edits to tighten up the plot, cut some of the unnecessary scenes, and to polish the story overall. Luckily the strength of the story helps the reader overcome some of the editing issues. And I will admit, when I finished I wanted to know what happens in the rest of the series.
I would like to emphasize that this novel is for adults. There are some graphic scenes. I knew this going in so I was prepared.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She lives with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Besides being a writer, she is an artist. One can often find her “makin’ love to the color” (painting) with loud music blaring.
Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. She writes dramatic novels showcasing the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human.
To get her books and get in touch with her:
Author Central Page on Amazon
A free e-copy of Gastien is available internationally! Please leave a comment below by the 26th of January with your preferred format (.mobi, .epub, .pdf). You must be at least 18 to enter the contest.