Review: The Art House by Scarlett Knight


Author: Scarlett Knight

Genre: Erotic Romance, Bisexual

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My rating: 5 out of 5

Blurb: Granted the opportunity to model for world-famous yet reclusive artist Edgar, journalist Janelle Ryan thinks she’s finally landed the story of her career. What she doesn’t realize is that by staying at Edgar’s famous “Art House,” her focus shifts from the news story to experiencing an unexpected personal awakening of her mind, body, and soul.

As a consequence, painful emotions she’s been repressing for years begin to reemerge. Facing her demons head on, she realizes what is most important to her – how to forgive, and most importantly, how to love again.

Review: Like other reviewers, I’ve been completely wrong with my expectations of that book. Maybe it is because my mind is already slowly getting conditioned to relate masks with BDSM and kink. It is possible that it was because of the dark allure of the Art House’s beautiful cover. I opened the first pages of Scarlett Knight’s book with the mindset I’ll read about another beautifully dysfunctional Dominant/submissive relationship, perhaps a little dub-con and reluctance before the final submission.

I have never been so happy to be wrong because what I got was a beautiful fairytale minus the sugar coating, a sensual tale of self-discovery, a lesson on how to deal with the pain and past wounds. The Art House will touch the soul of everyone who has lost themselves in the hustle of contemporary life and who need reconnection with what truly makes them feel alive. It was a great journey in the magical world of art, theater, music, sex, and love.

The main character, the ambitious and fiery journalist Janelle Ryan, was someone I could easily identify with. Janelle was a force to be reckoned with, even when she found herself in uncharted territory. I loved her determination, her passion, and conviction and that she wasn’t a soulless vulture, ready to sell her soul to the Devil just so she can get a good story. She was a good person, with gentle and creative spirit beneath the mask of a fiery workaholic who relates her personality entirely to journalism. I completely felt her pain as Janelle learned she had to sacrifice as someone who is also addicted to Internet, smartphones and the cyberspace in general. Still, she didn’t have much choice but to give in her precious technology if she wanted to unveil the mystery of Edgar. Little did our heroine suspect that the absence of technology in her life would help her get back in touch with sides of herself she considered buried.

Speaking of Edgar, I didn’t like him at all at the beginning, during his initial confrontation with Janelle. He struck me as one of those very talented and intelligent people who believe themselves to be superior over everyone else and can pass judgment as if they are perfect themselves. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the clashing of their strong personalities, the aura of mystery around him and was really curious about his approach to art and his famous portraits. Over the course of the novel, as he was giving Janelle small clues that would direct her to true self Edgar truly grew on me. He had a sensitive side to himself. While at times he was too stubborn for his own good I found him to be a wonderful and well-developed character with great artistic spirit and fondness for both his work and the subjects he was drawing. The unexpected comic moments such as his clumsiness with Janelle’s computer added to his charm.

Both of them had issues and past scars that were still haunting them. Janelle and Edgar needed time to build themselves, their trust, to find answers for themselves before they were ready to make the next step to each other.

The secondary characters at times were so good they nearly stole the show. Some of my favorites were Trixi, Edgar’s assistant, a lifelong friend and tattoo artist and John, a child prodigy pianist and Janelle’s long adored musician and personal inspiration. I don’t want to give too much away from their interaction with Janelle but they both helped her find the right path and left a special mark on her lifeline.

The writing was absolutely gorgeous and fluid, drawing you in the heart of the story and straight at the character’s emotional storm. Scarlett Knight has the gift to build her world and the landscapes she sets her story at in a way that is both realistic and feels like a fantasy. Like I said, many times I had the feeling I was reading a fairytale, especially during one very emotional lovemaking scene, a Halloween festival and… No, you have to read it to feel the magic yourself. That author has an eye both for detail and is great at describing places without making her reader feel like they are reading real estate descriptions.

In general, The Art House is a smart, contemporary romance with a focus on character development in which the journey is more important rather than the destination. The eroticism is subtle yet easy to feel and never crass and written for the sake of shock value. A deeply emotional work that leaves the reader with an uplifting sensation in the heart. I want to read more of Scarlett Knight’s future work and will keep an eye on her. Five Artistic Stars.

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