Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Art of Love

The Art of Love - Anne  Whitney See more of my reviews on Birth of a New Witch! My copy was an eARC I received from the author for review.A little soapbox moment: I think NA as a category is bull because most of it falls into adult romance or YA and I despise NA in general because so many novels given that label indulge in casual sexism, cheap drama, and abusive, unhealthy, or otherwise problematic relationships. (Beautiful Disaster, Thoughtless, and any Abbi Glines novel, anyone? Bring up Jessica Sorensen and we’ll be here a while.) There are exceptions, but there aren’t nearly enough to satisfy me. Well, here’s one! The Art of Love has my stamp of approval–a stamp NA novels very rarely get to see, let alone earn–because it’s fun, genuine, and there’s nothing anger-inducing.The Art of Love is a story about art. It’s about how hard it can be to pursue it, all the different ways people can make art, and the art of not letting your past get in the way of your future. Marina struggles to define herself, Fitz struggles to make his kind of part in spite of the pressure his parents and background put on him, and Viridian struggles to make a living on the paltry salary her art makes her, just to start it off. I could make all sorts of points about the trials and tribulations of being a drag queen like Fitz’s half-brother Derek, but his sections were so much fun I don’t want to touch them for fear of not communicating how awesome they are.But above all, it’s about Marina finding herself after years of living in hell under her father’s thumb. When she has to become someone else to hide from her father and the media firestorm he’s sent after her by claiming someone kidnapped her, she questions the identity she’s taken up and if people like Fitz care for her as Marina Phillips, not as Mary Fenton. Nothing else–the romance, Fitz’s situation, and all–is as important as Marina’s personal story and what she has to deal with after running away from an abusive father.Fitz isn’t a perfect guy and I’ve got my issues with him (a small alarm rang in my head when he said “look how you make me feel” to Marina because blaming someone else for how he felt made me uncomfortable), but he’s a good love interest and has a lot of potential to grow alongside Marina. He’s far from free of his own father’s chains, after all. He’s got his childish moments and his weak moments, but Marina brings him back from the brink and knocks some sense into him. They don’t necessarily complete each other, but they can keep each other in balance after a while. Need I mention their sizzing sexual tension/chemistry never results from either party being a douchebag?The only real issues here are some hiccups in prose and maybe an out-of-place Britishism too. Sentence structure like “I’m afraid I’ve not had a lot of time in my life for art” is more common in the UK than the US; here, we tend to say “I’m afraid I haven’t had a lot of time in my life for art” instead. It seemed a little out of place for a girl from Spokane, Washington to use that kind of diction, but that was one of the only instances and it didn’t keep me out of the story for long.Please, Ms. Whitney, may I have some more (novels from you)?