Mar 26

The Muse by Lauren Blakely Review


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The first time a woman stepped out of a painting, I thought I was seeing things.

The second time, I thought I was going mad.

The night she emerged from a Renoir, I felt something else entirely — a deep stirring of desire, and the wish to get to know the brilliant beauty who’s been trapped inside a painted garden for years.

She can only come out at night in the Musée d’Orsay, where I work. There, after hours, we wander through galleries, with the Van Goghs, the Monets, and the Toulouse Lautrecs the only witnesses to our midnight kisses and, soon, our trysts.

She opens her heart to me, and I learn her story. 

But she keeps secrets too, ones I hope to unravel. Why she was trapped. Why Renoir is hunting her. And why artwork in famous museums across the world is starting to disintegrate.

Why I, too, seem to be the only person who can repair the masterpieces.

As I fall deeper for the woman who’s trapped in a museum, I’m caught up in another side of Paris after dark, one inhabited by forgers, ghosts of famous artists and, impossibly, by Muses.

But someone is after the woman I’m falling in love with, and it’s up to me to save her…even if it means losing everything I’ve found with her.

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As a long-time Lauren Blakely fan, it’s a given that if she writes it, I’m going to read it. What I am not, or at least not typically, is a reader of paranormal romance. But this is Lauren Blakely, so with an open mind, I dove into The Muse, and am I ever glad that I did. I’ve stated in previous reviews for both this author, and others, that I love when an author steps out of their comfort zone and tries something new. Even if the result isn’t my new favorite story from them, I appreciate that fact that they tried something new and different because in my opinion, that’s how authors grow and hone their craft, and eventually all that growth and honing is going to payoff for me as the reader in new stories. The Muse is Blakely’s first foray into PNR, and again, while not my preferred genre, I enjoyed the heck out of this captivating romantic mystery.

For the record, I’d also like to mention that if Lauren Blakely is writing a story set in Paris, read the story. Her affection for the City of Lights is evident in every word, every detail and the care with which she tells these stories. The Muse, centered around the glittering jewels of this city—the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay—was a particularly consuming tale. Unusual paranormal elements, a plot rich in mystery and intrigue, and some seriously fascinating characters blend fluidly in this emotional, ethereal love story.

I don’t want to give too much away! I believe this is the kind of story that the reader needs to savor, that should be experienced as it organically unfolds, but hands down, The Muse is Blakely’s most unique and imaginative story to date. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down, and I switched off between the digital and audio books. Shane East was brilliant as Julien, and his narration of this story was riveting and wonderful. I literally gasped hearing Siri Scott as Clio, because in my mind, that was how I heard her. Unlike anything I’ve read from Blakely, or anyone else, before, she strode right on into the paranormal romance genre and owned it. Truly original, this was a story that was romantic and sultry, full of surprise and seduction, and I was positively enchanted and hanging on every word from prologue to epilogue. Five smooches from me for The Muse by Lauren Blakely!

~Danielle Palumbo




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