There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.

#ArtandSoul @ClaraVal

My Review

I am not generally a reader of romance but every now and again when I have had a surfeit of serial killers, twisty suspense and police procedurals, I need a break from all that heart-wrenching and gore.

Art and Soul really hits the spot. It’s not at all fluffy and silly – in fact it has an element of real literature – I feel the author has a ‘literary’ novel just waiting to get out. Lots of references to artists, Shakespeare and Marlowe lift it above the usual sugary tales of will they won’t they. It’s also so beautiful written, I feel the author’s talent will be wasted on pure romance books. I don’t mean to insult the genre, but I think there is so much more to come from her.

As the main protagonist, Becky is a feisty, bossy woman approaching 40 who knows she is good at her job as a ‘fixer’ but has no confidence in her own attractiveness. She has been ‘once bitten, twice shy’ in a relationship with a married man (she had no idea he was married) that left her with Dylan – an adorable toddler who charms his way into her friends’ affection.

Then there is Charlie – an almost 50-year-old artist who has fallen into a creative slump after his wife Mel leaves and his reviews are terrible. But it’s the periphery characters who really made this book for me. We have best friend Ronnie, who own Sweets the cake shop, and is direct to the point of rudeness, but never nasty. Always truthful, wise and trying to help. Handsome ladies’ man Virgil – I almost loved him best – he is so funny. Dashing Lloyd – but is he really a secret villain and philanderer? Charlie’s teenage daughter Phoebe and the beautiful but ghastly Rachel and her mother Barbara Stone – both involved in the snooty world of art in the leafy suburb The Comptons.

I can’t fault this story. It’s fab and uplifting and just what we need to cheer us up during second lockdown. Well done Claire – you deserve every success and I look forward to your next book.

PS and as someone who recently took up abstract or ‘non-figurative painting’ I am looking for my muse to visit me in my dreams. Get down Pancake (my 16-year-old Jack Russell) – I don’t mean you!

About the Author

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Art and Soul is her first novel.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for all the cakes mentioned in Art and Soul on her website along with over 100 other recipes. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

As well as her website, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram:

2 Comments on “Art and Soul by Claire Huston

  1. Thank you so much! I’m delighted you enjoyed it 🙂

    I was a bit worried that Charlie being inspired in his sleep would be asking readers to suspend their disbelief a little too far. But I recently went to see Van Gogh Alive and was pleased to see the artist wrote that he dreamed his paintings and then woke and painted his dreams. So not entirely far-fetched! I continue to hope for inspiration in my sleep too 🙂

    Pancake is a terrific name. I’ve just started writing book 3 and a Jack Russell will make be making a brief appearance!

    • I was a bit worried that I might offend romance lovers in my review and sound like Barbara Stone being all snooty about art. We used to have a Jack Russell called Cookie who we lost five years ago aged 16 as well. Pancake was supposed to be called Biscuit but when we got her we knew she was a ‘Pancake’. So I ended up as Cookiebiscuit. A bit silly but too late to change it now.

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