Book Reviews

Art House (Buchanan House 6) by Charley Descoteaux at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 10-September-2018

Book Blurb

Chase Holland spends his days painting Portland scenes to hang in local businesses, neglecting his own surrealist style. After twenty-five years as a full-time artist, he’s frustrated that his career has stalled, but churning out the equivalent of corporate art is better than getting a day job. Chase and Garrett have been together—off and on, but mostly on—for a decade. If asked, they would both say the source of their trouble is the seventeen-year age gap. The truth is less clear-cut. Life would be so much easier if Chase could make a living with his own art, or if Garrett held less conventional ideas about relationships.

 

Garrett Frisch has been watching their friends get married for the past two years, and it’s taking an emotional toll. When he proposes as a way to keep them together permanently, he thinks he’s being responsible, but Chase is ambivalent and hurt and can’t hide it. It doesn’t help that Garrett’s anxiety is out of control and he’s dealing with insecurities about his own art career. They will have to do their least favorite thing—talk about something more important than which food cart to visit—if they are to get the happy ending they both want.

 

Book Review

Two damaged souls, both inspired artists with a need to create unconventional pieces, are at the center of this powerful, very emotional story about learning to leave behind the past, to stand up to your inner demons, and to accept who you are. I found their struggles painful to watch and had to trust that the strength of their passion and the support from various friends would be able to help them pull through in the end. The result is a tumultuous story with many ups and downs, some very touching moments, and a message of hope and the power of love.

‘Buchanan House’ and the people who have made it their home plays a key role in this novel – both as a location and as a symbol for acceptance and support for both main characters. It is a fictional B&B/guest house on the Oregon coast set up for the LGTBQ+ crowd, and I was so happy to see that Charley Descoteaux has written another story about it and the characters who have made it their home. Best friends Eric, a former line cook, and Nathan, a very talented host, set it all up, and both men have found happiness in previous books. It’s a happiness that has been spreading to their adopted family, and I was excited to see what would become of Chase and Garrett, both of whom have been around for a while.

Chase and Garret have spent the last ten years in love, but never quite able to commit. Both men have horrible, emotionally abusive fathers, difficult families, and almost no self-worth. Garrett is also fighting anxiety and depression, and while he is in his late twenties, he is often more mature about situations or decisions they need to make – as long as he is not running out of sheer panic or because he is overwhelmed. Chase is in his midforties and convinced he is too old for Garrett, and while he wants to support Garrett through the anxiety, he isn’t quite sure how to do it.

Their biggest problem, in addition to all their other flaws, is that they don’t talk to each other – at least not about the important things. They love each other too deeply to bear hurting their partner, but the result is more misunderstandings, pain, and increasing self-doubt on both sides. It takes them a realistically long time to work through their issues and while I wanted to gently push them in the right direction more than once, I know I would have done more damage than good. Their friends, most of whom are much-loved characters from earlier books in this series, did a much better job than I could have done. It was beautiful to watch – especially once the excruciating first third or so of the novel was done with.

If you like stories about men who don’t think they deserve to be successful, happy, or loved, if you want to see how facing old hang-ups and finding a new direction can help long-time partners grow enough to solve their issues, and if you’re looking for a read that is full of pain, drama, touching moments, courageous decisions, and fantastic characters, then you will probably like this novel. It’s a perfect fit for this series and while it could be read alone (the author adds just enough background to not make it confusing), I’d recommend reading the other books first. I believe that it will significantly increase your enjoyment of ‘Art House’ and its many layers.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 254 pages/85643 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-August-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle
Buy Link https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/art-house-by-charley-descoteaux-9820-b