*I received a free ARC of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources blog tour. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: 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. I
f they succeed, they stay in the world of the living.
If they should fail however…
I really, really enjoyed An Artisan Lovestyle. It is the second ‘Lovestyle’ book and does contain references to previous events, but you do not need to have read A Rock ‘n’ Roll Lovestyle to follow this one (although I DO intend to go back and read it!).
This book has a little bit of humour, a little bit of romance, a little bit of the spiritual/paranormal, and a LOT of lessons about living life to the full.
We follow the separate journeys of Danny and Elsa as they each get a second chance at life, having thrown the previous go away on living for other people. Their paths are different but there are similarities in their need to find their own happiness.
Particularly entertaining to me was the sly game the author ran throughout: spot the intersections between the two story threads! Obviously this, and other plot elements relied heavily on far-fetched coincidences, but Kiltie Jackson owned this with gleeful abandon, making this paean to choice also a mischievous wink to preordained fate and ‘otherworldly’ meddling.
My own particular favourite aspect here would have to be the ‘Death’ sidebars. I adored the bromance between an anthropomorphised Death, William and Harry (fans of royalty may also note there is an Elsa and Anna combo!), and the visions of Death singing and dancing flamboyantly and swearing good-naturedly at his pals will stay with me and continue to make me smile.
An Artisan Lovestyle is a lighthearted, feelgood story that leaves you with a warm glow and the determination to improve the priorities in your own life. Highly recommended summer read!
“I have got absolutely no idea,” she replied. “I think we’re dreaming. You know… those dreams you have where everything feels real and then you wake up and think you’re in the wrong place, even though you’re actually in the right place.”
“Well, in that case, are you in my dream? Or am I in yours?” he asked.
“Hmmm, that is a good question,” she replied. “What do you think would be here if this was your dream?”
Danny thought for a moment before replying. “Let me see, there would be posters of big, shiny, motorbikes, Premier League footballers and high-action movies on the wall. The floor would be covered with a large, circular brown and orange rug, and we’d be sitting on a battered, cheap leatherette sofa.”
The woman looked at him with mild amusement. “Well… That’s precise. Are those all your favourite things then?”
“Nope,” he replied. “They’re all the things I detest the most but, with the kind of luck I have – pf always being in the wrong place, or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time – it’s exactly what I’d expect to find in my dreams. You know…, that sod’s law thingy?”
– Kiltie Jackson, An Artisan Lovestyle
You can buy An Artisan Lovestyle on Amazon right now!