The reigning master of the New York art world, Jonas Whitaker was brilliant and compelling, a man of dark passions and uncontrollable emotions. Terrified of his own dangerous nature, and scarred by the horror of his past, he hid behind his talent in a world of glittering emptiness—until Imogene Carter pushed her way into his life.
He discounted her on sight, seeing her as a colorless, fragile woman with no spirit and less talent. He could send her running with a word—and he intended to do just that.
But Imogene was not so easily frightened. She came to Jonas to learn from a master, and learn she would-everything he could teach her. She wanted his artist’s secrets and his brilliant passion. She wanted to be swept up in his seductive, forbidden world.
Until she saw the terrible price he paid for his talent.
And realized it was impossible to catch a shooting star without being burned…
This book was first published in 1995 by Dell. I’ll tag this post “backlist” and then the original publisher. I read the Kindle re-release edition. My only quibble with this book was a couple of little formatting glitches.
The story takes place in New York in 1855, which is a setting and time period I’m quickly coming to like.
This was, in my opinion, the perfect book. The hero is, in fact, mad. Bona fide. No Big-Misunderstanding-like behavior that is explained away later as perfectly rational in light of new facts. For any other heroine in any other book, I would have said, “Run! Run as fast as you can!” But for this one…
This is a psychiatrist’s nightmare relationship: one person with severe bipolar disorder and the other with deep-seated self-esteem and probably some PTSD issues. This is a co-dependent relationship from the beginning and…it works. It works because the two of them are both so damaged that they are a) unfit for anyone else and b) their damaged parts don’t intersect at all. Thus, it’s perfect because their strengths and weaknesses fit together like perfectly balanced and oiled cogs.
Every time the heroine made what I knew intellectually to be a stupid decision, I knew in my gut it really wasn’t. The motivations were right and, it was a case of “Yes, it’s okay in this situation.” Every time the hero went off his rocker, I felt his agony.
(Ah, the heroine forgave The Villain too easily, in my opinion, but it wasn’t a case of the heroine being goody-two-shoes; it was her casting off her baggage so she could go live her life. Even though I would’ve liked for her to have stuck a metaphorical knife in him before she did so, I didn’t deduct points.)
The writing was brilliant: not florid, but not spare. Very lyrical, with a good rhythm, ebb and flow. The characterizations were solid and consistent. There was some ambiguity as to the hero’s sexuality (which I liked), but was never addressed (which I also liked because it was…ambiguous). I felt every moment and every detail of the pain both of these characters were in and I bawled all the way through this book.
MPAA rating: PG-13