"Another early Stuart gem"
Anne Stuart has one of the most amazing understandings of
the dynamics of male-female relationships, better than any
romance writer I know. Many romance writers are exceptional
storytellers, but often I come away feeling the male is
written as we would like men to be, rather than they are.
Stuart understands males, the good and the bad parts, and
knows the path of love, sex and romance isn't always strewn
with rose petals. True passionate romances are complex and
often riddled with strong, not always clear, motivations.
Stuart starts with this premise and adds a pinch of this
and a dram of that and always comes up, book after book,
with stories that are emotional rollercoasters. I cannot
recall any book she has written that she hasn't given 110%
to the characters. From her earliest series works to the
present day psychological thrillers, she's never lost the
passion for writing romance. Her clear love of the genre
shines in every work, each one written as if this was
the "novel of her heart". I see writers at the top
suffering from losing that magic. They have their eye on
commercial success. Stuart never walks that path; both her
eyes are solely on the story she was currently writing.
It's quite clear, the story, the characters are what matter
to Stuart. Anything else just follows in the wake.
MUSEUM PIECE is another solid Stuart gem that taps into the
strong personalities of male and female characters. Written
20 years ago, it has a slight touch of dating, but only
slight. Anne Stuart's books hold out against "dating",
superior to any writer I know. More over, Stuart's quality
of writing is so consistent. Mary Lindsay McDonough - M.L.
to her friends, Molly to her father - works for the San
Francisco Museum of American Art. She adores historical
pieces of early Americana, but she has been running into an
immovable object: James Elliott. James is the front man for
J.E. Seaquist - a Howard Hughes Billionaire type - and with
the Seaquist fortune at his access, James can afford to out
bid Molly at ever turn. She is so furious at losing special
pieces to Elliott time after time, she writes him a note
venting all her frustration at his "robber baron" tactics -
never meaning to send it. After her temper cools, she pens
a sedate complaint, but accidentally ends up sending him
the tongue-lashing one!
She attends a show for the artwork of her former lover, her
intend to buy a painting for the museum. Only, she comes
face to face with a very angry Elliott who was not amused.
Molly's sworn off men since dumping her artist lover two
years ago, but James Elliott is more man than she ever
tangled with before. He kisses her, punishment for the
note; she kisses him back to show him he cannot get away
with it. Thus, the chase begins.
Molly is very attracted to James, but he scares her. Molly
was adopted, and while her father was very loving and
doting, her mother Sarah came to see Molly as a living
reminder of the fact she could never have children of her
own. It was hard on Molly not ever achieving the love she
craved from Sarah, and it's set Molly up to be too self-
contained, fearful of letting anyone too close, lest they
hurt her. And the powerful attraction she feels toward
James is nearly overwhelming. So she runs. Molly tends to
run from every confrontation. Sometimes James will chase
her, sometimes he just out waits Molly. The complexity of
their relationship is just pure Stuart Magic.
I have only one complaint about Anne Stuart's writing. She
cannot write three times faster! Keep them coming! I'll
shudder and whine in withdrawal until the next masterpiece
comes out and pay visits to "old gems" such as MUSEUM PIECE!
Posted August 22, 2004
Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted November 23, 2006