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The Muse Kindle Edition
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The advance copy I read of this book is one of my favorite kinds of reads – angsty but uplifting, and humorous and steamy. Smack dab in the middle of building sexual tension, Halloran inserts wry, laugh-out-loud quips to completely engage all of the reader’s faculties. Then she really ups her game, making the scene smokin’ hot and snort-your-drink hysterical! In her masterful style, Halloran juxtaposes the humorous and heartfelt perfectly, by turns eliciting light-hearted laughter and heart-tugging angst in the reader. From Iris and her friend giggling “like delinquents in a church pew” who find it impossible to stop their inappropriate laughter to Iris telling how James handles her physical scars: “Every imperfect part of me was made perfect.” “He worshipped them all.” LM Halloran’s writing is a delightful treat for the heart, mind and soul, and one that should be savored and luxuriated in over and over.
As I was getting to know James Beckett, I realized that the author would have her work cut out for her in order to redeem the sun of a gun. (No, I didn’t think “gun,” but it’s an Amazon review.) But darned if she wasn’t able to, in a brilliantly beautiful way, at that! Who wouldn’t love a guy who gives his girl her first kiss in the rain? Is there anything more romantic? Or says about his love, “I’m hers with every fiber of my being, every molecule of my earthly flesh, and every fleck of stardust in my immortal soul.” See? Spectacularly redeemed! Sigh.
But then James wasn’t the only one who needed redeeming. Iris is more broken than even she realizes, and as bright and intelligent as she is, there’s a deep wound scabbed over that needs to be excised and healed before these two can ultimately share their fated love. Issues from her relationship with her famous poet father and earlier devastating personal traumas she suffered all influence her relationship with James until she purposefully sorts through them. And her redemption is equally breathtaking, as she takes her hurts and pain from her past and crafts them into a more wise, understanding woman and a voice of awareness and healing for other victims.
The Muse will take you on a ride like no other, one of devastating, heartbreaking lows and giddy, euphoric highs. If you want sweet, easy, fun and entertaining, this isn’t it. This is no hearts and flowers romance, but raw, painful, complex and heart rending, which only makes the poignant, touching and poetic romance that trickles through the story until the brilliant final resolution that much more satisfying and beautiful. And it’s a beauty so exquisite that it makes me wonder if it has somehow managed to transcend any other beauty in my natural life. The author describes poems by Iris’ father about her mother as “darkly arresting, gut-wrenching, achingly sweet” and “unquestionably masterful.” This, dear reader, is The Muse. It will creep into your psyche, imprison your heart and brand your soul. It is unequivocally a book you don’t want to miss, should move to the top of your TBR list, and will want to return to again and again! ❤
Some negative reviews criticise the hero’s actions in the early part of the book. He is the heroine’s professor and comes across as COMPLETELY UNREPENTANT about his desire for the heroine, and seems reckless regarding whether he is caught in his physical approaches towards her. He appears arrogant and rakish. But there is more to him than meets the eye and all is revealed beyond the sample chapters. I recommend persevering if initially you are put off. This book is so much more than a professor/student story. I will now re-read the story armed with the knowledge I gained later in the book looking for the clues with hindsight. I’m so glad I gave this book a go. It is my first time reading this author - it won’t be the last.
In this book, Iris is a grad student and a writer. She's the TA for a highly successful, best-selling author, James Beckett, whose British accent and his devil may care attitude are the least of his sex appeal. And he used to work for her father.
Their roller coaster of a relationship is so enticing, so satisfying, and in parts, so devastating. The suspense of waiting for things to finally settle between them, one way or another, once and for all, is enough to make this read an all-nighter. It doesn't have QUITE the level of angst that I'm used to seeing in Halloran's previous books, and maybe I'll admit I wasn't too torn up over that because there was still a fair amount, but let's just say I cannot pinpoint any single part of this book I felt dragged or stalled the story. It all kept me eagerly reading on!
I loved the multifaceted approach the author took to her family history. The older brother who was killed years prior, which Iris still carries the scars from. The father who was a famous poet and a complicated man, and her mother, who was her father's one great love despite their divorce and strained relationship.
I loved the chapter titles. And by the way... There was one part that had me saying how brilliant this author is, after having highlighted "desert" as a typo that should have been "dessert," and then later seeing as part of the story where Iris gets a critique of her latest manuscript and its pointed out that she misspelled dessert twice. WAS THIS INTENTIONAL?! It must be. Hahaha I can't even. I have to ask. (Should that be marked as a spoiler?)
At any rate, I can wholeheartedly give this book 5 stars and tell any contemporary romance lover to give it a chance. I don't think you will be disappointed.