- Strokes on a Canvas, by H. Lewis-Foster
Strokes on a Canvas, by H. Lewis-Foster
Strokes on a Canvas is a short but delightful historical romance set in the 1920's. With incredible attention to the historical period, engaging characters and a clearly established chemistry between the two MC's, there was nothing about this book I didn't like...except that it ended far too soon.
Right from the start, Evan was a sweet, uncertain, shy man who was terrified that his interest in men would see him beaten or arrested. From a poor, working class family, living far from home, alone, and with only one friend know knows about his true interests, it was clear from the start that Evan was a man out of his depths when it came to romance or illicit relations. In contrast, Milo is an ex-army man with wealthy parents and a boarding-school upbringing. As a budding artist with a circle of friends who span the creative and distinguished aspect of society, he has the life and freedoms that Evan never even knew existed. They also happen to be mostly gay, or accepting, and gather together in safe places.
When Evan meets Milo, it's a revelation in more ways than one. It was wonderful to see the tentative progression from strangers to more, and to see the slow-budding romance. But it was especially nice to see Evan being introduced to a safer and happier world, where he could be himself openly. Every time they were together on page, my heart just swelled with joy. They were such a nice fit of complete opposites, and I rooted for their relationship the whole way through.
The story didn't linger over unnecessary plot points, but it didn't rush, either. It explored the relationship and shared snippets of each other Evan and Milo's lives outside of the relationship. Sandy, Jeremy and Milo's friends were wonderful characters in their own right. The era was authentic the entire way through, from language, location, to the attitudes about homosexuals, to the small details of food and appearance. Nothing was missed, but it didn't try to lecture either.
Any negatives? It ends at 88%, which was disappointing. I had hoped for a bit more. I found the end to be a little more abrupt than I expected, though it was a nice little Epilogue-style catch-up chapter that rounded off everyone's stories. And...though I know I'm being picky...I just don't feel like the cover expresses the story or the era quite right. Probably because it implies a different sort of 'muse' or painting 'model' than Evan actually ever was. But, because they're both just my opinion and nothing to do with the overall story or how it was presented, I didn't let them affect my rating. Because I really did love the story.
I cried. I laughed. I fell in love with this beautiful story of two hearts that were clearly meant for each other, finally find a home together.
And I'd absolutely love to see Jeremy and Timmy cross paths.
“He tried to stay awake, to enjoy the touch of Milo’s skin, the sweet scent of his hair and the sound of his breathing, but Evan soon joined him in his slumber, where he dreamed of long summer days with Milo on the sun-warmed sands that Homer and Plato once knew.”
“Evan would stay with Milo and he would stand by his promise. He knew it would be agony not to touch him and kiss him, to feel his body around and within him, but Evan would be Milo’s friend, for better or worse, perhaps as long as they both lived.”