Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.
Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.
She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.
In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.
After hearing so much about Painted Faces from Dear Author and Smexy Books there was no way I could resist snapping it up for $.99. I'm not always in the mood for the unconventional, but generally speaking the reviews were positive, both about the story and the high level of sexual tension. To sum up my own feelings I'd say that the story and the characters are indeed unconventional, but the insecurities and experiences they've both had make them relatable; ultimately though I couldn't connect enough to Freda to make the first person really work for me.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Freda/Fred is a bit of bitch. She's learned to protect herself from the criticism that often comes with being physically bigger, and so communicates both with friends and family in a very sardonic, sarcastic tone. I can't say I'm a fine. I understand why she does it - it's just not my cup of tea, and I don't find many of her friends (or the roommate) all that likeable either. Luckily the heart of the story, her relationship with Nicholas is more engrossing. They're both very broken characters and Nicholas has a lot to go through of his own past before he's able to foresee himself in a relationship. Both of them end up hurt at times and while they work it through in the end it was definitely emotional there for a minute or two.
It's a good, interesting story, I just think that personally it would have been better written in third person. But hey - that's just me :).
Overall Feeling - C+
Series - None