An Artisan Lovestyle – Kiltie Jackson
Are you ‘living’ your life or just living your life?
Elsa Clairmont was widowed barely five years after marrying her childhood sweetheart. She has struggled to come to terms with the loss and, six years later, has almost ceased to live herself. She does just enough to get by.
Danny Delaney is the ultimate ‘Mr Nice Guy’. He’s kind, caring and sweet. A talented artist in his teens, his abusive mother ruined his career in art and he turned his back on his exceptional gift. Now, he does just enough to get by.
On New Year’s Eve, both Danny and Elsa die in unrelated accidents.
Thanks to some poker playing shenanigans, Elsa’s husband Harry, and Danny’s old Art teacher, William, manage to orchestrate a deal with Death that allows Danny and Elsa to live for one more year on the condition they both agree to complete three tasks. They have until the last chime of Big Ben on the 31st December to fulfil their quests.
If they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is a story of personal growth and self-discovery as two people find themselves forced to make overdue changes in their lives, changes in other people’s lives, and all with the added challenge of finding true love before their time runs out.
Will they do it?
Can they do it?
After all, it’s a matter of Life or Death…
One of the things I love about the growth in romance publishing is not only the very broad scope of sub-genres, but also the books that bring an occasional ‘wow’ factor. No, I don’t mean sizzling sex scenes, or super-hot heroes, welcome though they may be. I’m talking about writers who come up with a plot that is way beyond the standard and slightly formulaic, albeit thoroughly enjoyable, romances. This book is one that has that ‘wow’ factor. Who in their right mind would contemplate writing a romance that includes Death, two dead men, and Purgatory/Hades’ Waiting Rooms? Not only that, but make Death such an insanely funny and completely bonkers character that you practically wet yourself laughing?
Well, Kiltie Jackson has.
Kiltie writes with passion and enthusiasm, and clearly loves to toy with her audience. Romance in this book is multi-faceted, and not in any way, shape, or form clear-cut, nor is the road to achieving it conventional or straightforward. It crosses age, genders, and subjects. Both Elsa and Danny are in love with art, for example. It’s hard to write this review, not because I can’t think of what to say, quite the opposite, but because I don’t want to give anything away. I want readers expectations to be as teased, thwarted, and challenged as mine were.
Elsa is stuck. Stuck in habitual grief, stuck in life, stuck in a job she detests. Her only joy is her dog, and her love for him is what brings about her demise. Danny is stuck too. Stuck in a life forced upon him through deception, stuck with a job he has little enthusiasm for, stuck with the girlfriend from hell. Neither has the energy or strength to make changes, neither can see a way to move forward to better things. It’s easier to just accept the life you have, not rock the boat, and to forget foolish dreams. Their respective ruts are as deep as the Mariana Trench!
Sitting in Hades or Purgatory (call it what you will) Elsa and Danny meet briefly while waiting to be told what to do. They are each offered a second chance at life but with conditions attached. Who wouldn’t want that? Even if you fail to complete the tasks, wouldn’t you grab the opportunity to say and do the things you should have but didn’t? To strike out for those dreams long suppressed and locked away? Second chances don’t come around often and grabbing them with both hands is exactly what Elsa and Danny do.
I adored the twists and turns, the edge-of-the-seat guessing game that went on right to the very end. I started to read thinking I knew the outcome. Then I wasn’t sure. Next, I was trying to second guess the author, trying to figure out how she’d turn readers’ expectations on their head. Finally, I told my brain to shut up and get on with reading and enjoying it.
I did. And then some.
The characters in this book are so well-defined that I recognised them instantly. Some you want to hug, others you want to hang out with, and quite possibly two you want to kill, on a dark night, out at sea…! Some relationships within the book are beautifully written and portrayed, exhibiting love in all its infinite variety. Others are clearly cut with a scalpel, sharp-edged and lethal.
Kiltie has a talent for using humour to put across an otherwise complicated issue. She distils it to its essence and feeds it through her characters in such a way that you don’t realise it’s happening. For example, Sukie and Charles carry enormous emotional burdens. Death, grief, fear; it’s not just Elsa and Danny who experience these things and suffer the consequences of them. Some cope, but some fall at the first hurdle and it takes a special person to pick them up. Sometimes its just doing the right thing at the right time and giving a helping hand. This is where Elsa and Danny are at their best.
Elsa is lovely, and I whooped with delight at the office scene. Once she starts to break out from her self-imposed prison, she bursts into her new life. I can best describe it as a beige woman unexpectedly reflecting the all the colours of the rainbow. As she finds her way, she is surrounded by family and friends who love and support her. Danny is the ultimate genuinely kind and caring guy. He is honourable to the point of self-destruction, but he is also a hero. While he had the misfortune to be the talented child in a family that cares little for anything and was brow-beaten down by a mother who uses him, he has great friends. Nigel and Guy are wonderful; warm, funny, and compassionate. Their relationship is delightful.
I was on tenterhooks hoping that perhaps what I thought was going to happen, wouldn’t. It isn’t a roller-coaster ride, but it is a bit of an edge-of-the-seat tale. The outcome, after a series of tantalising near-misses and teasing ‘sliding door’ scenarios, left me exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.
This is a beautiful emotional and moving story, but utterly hilarious too. Highly recommended – yes – the full five stars again. Read and enjoy!
Purchase Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D23TM38
Win a £40 / $40 Amazon Voucher (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Kiltie grew up in Glasgow in Scotland,
This is a very unique city with a very unique way of looking at life.
When she was old enough to do so, she moved to London and then,
after several years of obtaining interesting experiences -which are
finding their way into her writing – she moved up to the Midlands.
Kiltie currently lives in Staffordshire with five cats and one grumpy husband.
Her little home is known as Moggy Towers, even though despite having
plenty of moggies, there are no towers!
The cats kindly allow her and Mr Mogs to share their house on the
condition they keep paying the mortgage!
She loves reading, watching movies, and visiting old castles.
She really dislikes going to the gym!
Her biggest desire is that one day she can give up the day job
and write her stories for a living.
Kiltie’s debut novel, ‘A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle’, was released in September 2017 and won a “Chill With A Book – Reader Award” in December 2017.
She first began writing her debut novel eleven years before it was released but shelved
it as she didn’t think it was very good.
In November 2016 when, having read more on a best-selling author who had begun
her own career as a self-published author, she was inspired to revisit the unfinished
manuscript and finally finish what she had started.
Since beginning to write again, the ideas have not stopped flowing.
‘An Artisan Lovestyle’ is the second book in the Lovestyle Series.
Work is due to begin on book three (not yet titled but also part of the Lovestyle Series)
in the Summer of 2018.
She currently has a further ten plots and ideas stored in her file (it’s costing a
fortune in USB drives as each story has its own memory stick!) and
the ideas still keep on coming.
Kiltie now lives her life around the following three quotes:
“I love having weird dreams, they’re great fodder for book plots!”
“Why wait for your ship to come in when you can swim out to meet it?”
“Old enough to know better, young enough not to care!”
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kiltiejackson
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KiltieJackson
Brought to you via