Former child star Fiona Hume left the biz a decade ago, after she left rehab. She retreated to Baltimore and bought an old mansion downtown with dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece – maybe creating an artist’s studio for herself. And living an artist’s life.
That was the plan.
Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for a project, but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some antique buttons threaded down its length.
Her money has almost run out. She will soon lose her house and will be forced back into acting.
So it is that Fiona comes to rent out a room to a local blacksmith, Josiah. Little by little, Josiah magically transforms Fiona’s home into something beautiful. She comes to life again. Her relationships heal and she experiences, perhaps for the first time, what it means to be human, what it means to be loved, and what it means when we let go and allow the wondrous workings of forces far bigger than we are to take over.
I didn’t like A Thing of Beauty. A little blunt but it had to be said. The concepts of the story (or parts of it) were interesting but others just fell flat. For example, the main thread of the story about an ex-actress who has become a recluse due to a troubled time after being a childhood star would have been a great storyline had it been fully developed. I think that is what failed the story most, the under-developed storyline.
There were other glaring flaws – the main one being the over descriptive nature of the narrative. If I had been the editor I would have advised Samson to go back and remove the unnecessary descriptions of things as it became very tiresome. The old adage of ‘show, don’t tell’ needs to be applied to this book too. Samson described every street that her main character rode down on her bike and whilst this may be titillating for those who live in Baltimore it was just tedious for me.
The story did get better. About midway through I actually felt like there was a (much needed) shift in pace which made the latter half less exasperating. However, there were still glaring holes in the story such as Fiona’s collection of weird things – it was never fully explained why she did this. We never learned that much about her friend that died or why it had the impact it did on Fiona’s life. Everything seemed to be on the cusp of being explained but then never fully explored which was frustrating.
I guess this serves me right for choosing the book based solely on the prettiness of the cover.
A Thing of Beauty by Lisa Samson is available now.