Title: Artistic Appeal
Series: Art Stories 02
Author: Andrew Grey
Narrator: John Solo
Genre: Contemporary, Arts
Length: 6 hrs, 42 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (3rd August 2017)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian’s eye. Instead, it’s Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter.
But pursuing Nicolai won’t be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he’s reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai’s ex, who wants him back badly.
Nicolai’s reluctance isn’t the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost 10 years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man, all while conducting a potentially groundbreaking court case and trying to convince Nicolai that love isn’t about co-dependence, it’s about support.
Review: I love Andrew Grey’s Art series, so I was very much looking forward to the audio of this book. In fact, I think the first book in this series was one of the first Andrew Grey books I read after starting on his Love Means… series. I think I always say this, but I love how Andrew Grey takes ordinary guys – guys that are so relatable and spin a completely relatable and interesting story. There is no insta-love, the characters go through their struggles and I’m a bit of a sucker when he adds adorable kids and making big loving families by the end of the book.
Artistic Appeal is the second book in Grey’s series and while you don’t need to be familiar with book 1, I recommend it because the two characters who are the best friends in this book are the starring characters of book 1. It was great to revisit these great guys and also see their characters evolving.
However, Artistic Appeal is all about Brian and Nicolai.
Brian is a successful lawyer, working for Gerald from book 1. He is the lawyer that Gerald and his partner Dieter look to for to help and to take over the case of regaining Dieter’s family treasures in the form of artwork by a famous painter. As I said, there is some carry over in the plot of Gerald and Dieter in book 1 but knowing all the details aren’t necessary. Brian’s life is a little complicated by with an ex-wife demanding alimony, but the light of Brian’s life is most definitely his daughter Zoe, of whom he has full custody. While he knows he is gay and a select few friends know of his sexual orientation, he isn’t =out. His harpy ex-wife doesn’t know and his mother (who does have a major harpy vibe too) definitely don’t know at the beginning of the book. Brian’s life is shaken when he meets Nicolai and while dealing with challenges on the professional front, his personal life is suddenly more complicated.
Nicolai is a super sweet art restorer. He’s done work with Gerald in the past, but this is the first time he’s encountered Brian. I think I fell in love with his character immediately. Nicolai is also deaf and I have to admit that I have a soft spot with strong characters that live with a more or less permanent disability. Nicolai has been in an abusive relationship before, which makes him wary of the possibility of a new relationship, especially with a man who isn’t completely out of the closet.
I think it is Brian’s daughter Zoe who played a part in helping Nicolai and Brian together. Zoe is completely adorable and very accepting of Nicolai, even going as far as wanting to learn sign language before her father even gets there.
This is a super sweet yet sexy book. John Solo is also one of my favorite audio narrators, so this audio was pure joy to read with the wonderful tone that Solo brings to the characters and to the story.