Title: War Paint
Series: States of Love: Book 39
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 88 Pages
At a Glance: Bottom line? War Paint was a quick, angst-free, fun read, and I adored it!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: There’s an art to love.
Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.
Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?
Review: War Paint is my second book by Sarah Black—the first was The Legend of the Apache Kid—and it is the second one that turned out to be a lovely, thought-provoking, and unique read. Black is such a gifted storyteller. She took the eighty-eight pages in War Paint and turned them into a beautiful and memorable love story between two characters who are, perhaps, an unlikely pairing. Their hookup sort of popped up out of nowhere, and their dynamic is maybe not one you’d expect, but they totally work. The story structure itself was a little quirky as well, but also completely worked for me. I pretty much dug everything about this one.
Ben is an artist from Tel Aviv, who is scoping out the building he’s been commissioned to paint a mural on when he meets Eli, an ex-soldier who is back home for good after suffering a career-ending injury on his last deployment and has been struggling with being out of commission. Eli is supposed to be writing an essay for his counselor about who he is as a person, but all he has ever really seen himself as is a soldier. And now he’s having to basically reinvent himself in his mind. After he meets Ben, though, he begins thinking more about it, and he remembers that he enjoyed taking pictures with an old pinhole camera when he was a kid. Ben recognizes the artist in Eli, and soon Eli is helping him out with the mural planning as his apprentice, taking photographs.
I loved the development of the relationship between these guys. Even though things did move quite quickly, I felt like it happened very naturally for them. I loved how smitten with each other they were, and how it sort of took them both by surprise. Eli was constantly in awe of Ben’s pull…
“It’s like you’ve got this power. No, not power. Like some sort of….It’s like you’re the sun rising in the morning. All this heat and light. Something. I don’t know. You’ve got gravity. It’s pulling me in.”
And, Ben couldn’t believe how strongly he felt for this young man who fell into his life…
Ben couldn’t speak around the feelings that clogged his throat. All he could do was reach out with open arms, hold Eli close, this young man who had never been in love before, this soldier looking for a way ahead.
I also liked the setting, and the discussion of Atlanta’s history. If you follow my reviews at all, you know I’ve been really enjoying these States of Love books, and once again, I liked what the author did with this one. Ben is planning to pull the history of the city into the mural he’s painting, and picturing his vision in my mind while I was reading was very cool.
And, finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the perfection of the title. I don’t want to give anything away, but it has to do with a project idea of Eli’s that Ben is amazing about helping him with, too. It was such a cool premise and done really well.
Bottom line? War Paint was a quick, angst-free, fun read, and I adored it!
You can buy War Paint here:
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