★★★★☆ 4.5 stars!
Still Life with Strings was a wonderfully original story that very hard to put down once I started reading it. As with all of L.H. Cosway's books that I've read so far, the characters were very unique, fascinating and a bit unconventional which made them all the more interesting. This author has become an auto-buy for me and with this story she's once again proven to be able to write some very easy to read, spellbinding standalone romances that with not too much angst and the perfect combination of humor and smut.
Jade Lennon is a girl with a very troubled past. Ever since her mother died five years ago, she's been the one taking care of her three younger siblings. Her mother's death was also the event that led her to kicking her alcohol habit and after five years of sobriety she still holds strictly to the rule that if she lets another man into her heart, he will once again drive her to the comfort of alcohol. So she keeps them at a distance. But when she meets Shane Arthur, her whole life might get turned upside down...
"I think I might have dreamt you."
After their explosive first meeting, Jade discovers Shane is the newest member of the orchestra at the music hall where she works. And so, what was supposed to be a one-time-chance meeting turns out to be a fast evolving friendship between two people who are broken by their past but who might be able to heal each other with their presence. Shane himself has had his fair share of heartbreak that he's still recovering from. He was endearingly sweet and adorable while Jade was a very straightforward, refreshingly independent heroine, which made them complement each other perfectly.
From the moment they meet, Jade and Shane have this instant connection and powerful chemistry (with lots of sexual tension!). But because of some events in the past, Jade is reluctant to start a relationship so she suggests they become friends instead. And even though they both want more, Shane is happy with finally having a new friend. Because of his sheltered life as a famous musician, he doesn't really have any true friends. He's always sacrificed his social life in order to perfect his musical skills, but Jade is the one that teaches him it's possible to have both a career and a social life.
"It's better than being sheltered. You live in the real world, Jade, and you don't know how desperate I am to join you."
Jade and Shane teach each other what's it's like to live again, the two of them meeting is also catatonic in a way, but to divulge further into that would spoil too much of the story. Let's just say that there was a certain twist near the end of the story that I didn't see coming but that made their connection all the more profound (view spoiler)[although it did seem a bit too coincidental that she's the one he saw on the news all those years ago and decided to write an entire album about...but, it wasn't so farfetched that it bothered me in any way either (hide spoiler)].
If you're looking for a unconventional, inspiring friends to lovers story with a high entertainment value and some dialogue that will make you laugh out loud, I would highly recommend giving this one a try! ;)
**ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**