In a life driven by passion, famed artist Maxfield Caswell lives in a world of brilliant color and drama, pushing his art and affairs to his emotional edge. He’s stunning, charismatic and celebrated in the art world, but are the trappings of fame also destroying him?
For years intelligent and bright-eyed Ava Jacobs has worked diligently toward a career in the art world. Ava is swept off her feet when she meets the passionate artist. She soon realizes, however, that he’s on a destructive path—one she doesn’t intend to join him on.
In the decadent world of patrons, art groupies, and predators, feisty and beautiful Ava knocks Max off his pedestal. A stunned Max sees something special in Ava and offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse. As their lives and passions collide, will he realize that she alone has the power to heal him? Can their hearts come together to create their own work of art?
I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through two months without reading the next instalment of this story. Ruth Clampett is a world-builder. I was just minding my own business, reading along, getting to know the characters, yada yada, and then Boom! Completely sucked in. And I’m actually a little grumpy because I have to emerge from Ava’s world to post this review.
Being an artist herself, Ruth knows the business, the art methodology and the personalities intimately. Being a consummate writer, she knows how to convey such things to the reader in just the right doses. I love art. I wish I could portray things on canvas the way I’d like to, but the execution always feels awkward to me. But I do know some stuff about it, so I enjoyed every instant of my immersion in Ava and Max’s world. For instance, when printing a seriograph turns into an intimate experience, I was right there. Right there, in Ava’s place.
Ava is a young woman who’s just getting her feet wet in the art world when she stumbles across Maxfield Caswell, a celebrated but tortured, volatile painter. She practically grew up in the business side of the art world and knows exactly what it takes for an artist to make it. And along comes this talented guy who has everything going for him but seemingly shoots himself in the foot at every opportunity. For some reason, Ava takes it upon herself to slap some sense into him. She’s perhaps the only person who’s ever told him ‘no’. And although he is maddeningly moody, naughty and wild, Max begins to respond to this woman who sees that he’s more than the stereotype. To her, he’s a person, not an artist. But he isn’t going to act on his infatuation because he wants a friend. So he shows her his softer side, the guy who likes cheap burger joints, walks in the park and offers a shoulder to lean on.
Every character in this book has layers and layers of paint. Flaws are subtle and impressions of people can change over time. It’s authentic. It fascinates.
Ava’s boss, Jonathan, would very much like to move things beyond the professional with her. He’s smooth. He’s also extremely good at his job, intelligent, attractive and experienced. Ava is tempted to take up with him despite the risk to her career, but there’s more than professionalism holding her back: there’s Max.
Marilyn Monroe once said, “The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.” While Jonathan might prove a generous lover and stable companion, Ava’s gaze always turns to Max. Max knows it, too. Will he get his life in order so he can love this woman in a constructive way, or will he crash and burn?
The next book can’t come fast enough for me. Five stars.
He takes a step back and pushes his sleeves up his sculpted arms.
My eyes wander up from his bare feet, over his worn jeans, his broad
shoulders and handsome face. He’s over six feet of masculine perfection and distracting in every way. A breeze from the ocean hits him, and he turns his face sideways. The sinking sun backlights his perfect silhouette.
This view of him engulfs me. I feel doused in flames and what I want at this very moment has nothing to do with writing. I’m burning for him. I desperately desire to be up on that deck wrapped around Max with the ocean breeze at my back. I don’t want to be his savior nor his biographer, I just want to consume him, and I hate myself…knowing that doesn’t make me any better than his art groupies.
“Okay, I’ll go to the bookstore!” I say, exasperated.
Max smiles happily and offers a wave as he backs away from the car.
He thinks he’s won, but this game hasn’t even begun.
Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director, Bob Clampett, has spent a lifetime surrounded by art and animation. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, her careers have included graphic design, photography, VP of Design for WB Stores and teaching photography at UCLA. She now runs her own studio as the fine art publisher for Warner Bros. where she’s had the opportunity to know and work with many of the greatest artists in the world of animation and comics.
The Work of Art Trilogy is Ruth’s third publishing endeavor, following Animate Me and Mr. 365. She lives in Los Angeles and is heavily supervised by her teenage daughter, lovingly referred to as Snarky, who loves art and visiting museums as much as her mom.