An art gallery owner and a preservation contractor navigate personal entanglements and their attraction to each other in a novel of modern sensibilities.
Lucy Cameron loves her life—she has artistic friends, a caring family and an adorable dog named Toulouse, and when she’s not traveling abroad to admire architecture, she’s working in Charleston, S.C., at her art gallery. Yet she has never been lucky in love. This—along with her self-imposed rules about dating—changes when she meets Samuel O’Hara, a preservation contractor and fellow victim of the travel bug. Lucy and Sam quickly realize they share the same passions, and begin a romance that is abruptly cut short when Sam’s long-term girlfriend moves back to town and wants to get back together. Lucy goes to Italy to heal her broken heart, and, when she returns, takes up an ill-fated courtship with the smart and witty Gus, despite Sam’s warnings that Gus is not to be trusted. Lucy realizes he’s correct when she wakes up one morning after a date with Gus feeling sick and unable to remember the night before. She breaks it off with Gus but, unfortunately, Lucy’s friend Katie is soon ensnared by his charms, and the consequences of that liaison are even greater. Lucy offers her support to Katie, but meanwhile has to contend with her relationship with Sam, who finds out that his girlfriend cheated on him. Slowly, Lucy and Sam rekindle their friendship, but before the line is crossed again, Sam departs for a two-month trip abroad, leaving Lucy to wonder what will become of them upon his return. With vivid prose that clearly conveys Perry’s love of art and architecture, the author weaves a tale of historical art and contemporary relationships. Jane Austen’s influence is clear, and the characters’ dialogue can come across as stilted or antiquated, but overall Perry conveys a heartwarming story of life’s unexpected complications and the ultimate rewards of love and friendship.
A character-driven tale that will appeal to readers interested in the fine arts and the subtleties of social relations.