New weekend, new book. Hi all, I hope you are OK. I am submerged by things to study, but other than that, I feel like reading tons of books that don’t have nothing to do with university, so here I am… Today’s book came out the other day and is by an author who was published here in my country and that I already knew. I wish this book will be printed as well, who knows. Go under the cut for the review. 🙂
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Year: 2018
Part of a series?: No
You can buy it HERE from Amazon.com
Marble isn’t the only thing that’s hard at this museum.
His body is as chiseled as Adonis. His lips are as sculpted as David. And his ego is the size of the Guggenheim.
You know the type—wolfish smile and the gravity of a black hole. The kind of man who sucks all the air from the room the second he enters it. My cocky boss thinks this internship was wasted on me, and he doesn’t hesitate to let me know.
But he’s wrong, and I’m going to prove it to him. If I can stay away from his devil lips, that is. Lips that cut me down and kiss me in the same breath, leaving me certain he’s on a mission to ruin my life.
And maybe my heart.
Unlike many books I review, I didn’t review an ARC copy for this one hence I loved the surprise even more because I like to discover more authors I could like and follow. The other day I discovered this book while I browsed the TOP 100 Bestseller List on Amazon and added it on my TBR. I add many books every day and read only few because there is a lot of new releases I would love to read but don’t have the time. I am glad I took one of my last weekends before exams start again to read this one.
Our main protagonist is Hyo Rin Van De Meer, who is a shy student who is about to be an intern at The Met, the famous museum located in New York City. She is the type of student every professor would want: serious, studious, trustworthy, receptive. For this reason, she was able to get good grades and to land this internship at a prestigious museum and in the department she liked the most which is about European Art. She tries her best not to stand out because she thinks she is already too visible because of her height and Korean heritage, so when she arrives at the offices where she will work for a few months, she tries to appear confident but at the same time, she is submissive and always holding her head low. It doesn’t help that the assistant of the director of that department and said director are cold as ice, and make Rin feel even more uncomfortable.
Court Lyons, known by all by Dr. Lyons, is responsible for the department where Rin starts her internship. He is arrogant, a jerk, and as the title says, a piece of work. He is good at his job and one of the reasons he is able to keep it all in check besides his skills at managing his department, is that he doesn’t start relationships with the people who work for him, especially of the sexual type. He acts like this at work because of what happened to him in his past: his heart is guarded. Court is ruthless, determined, and he gets what he wants. But he’ll soon realize that sometimes he can’t have everything, because he can’t control other people’s wills but he also can’t control his heart.
One thing I liked a lot in this book was that our main female character, Rin, was half-Korean. I love everything Korean, and I always wanted to read a book with a person of Korean descent, but until today I found NONE – please, comment if you know good books with Korean characters, thanks. This already makes her different compared to the usual female characters because her traits are unusual, special. And she sort of acts like one of those Korean characters you see on K-Drama: she is shy, clumsy, and honest. She just needs to believe more in herself and to try new things.
Rin and Court have many things in common. The first and obvious one is art. They both love art, and in the book there is Renaissance art involved, which showed our characters’ involvement through some pieces that were mentioned. This century was one of the most flourishing in art above all in Italy, and it was full of contradictions. I loved the connection with Italian art because I am Italian and I like when authors talk about Italy in their books and write nice things about this country.
Besides the mutual love for this department, the second thing they have in common is that both Court and Rin think they are living, but in reality, they are not.
Rin has always lived the life of the perfect student. I’ve met a few of them myself during my University years, and let me tell you, these people were good at studying but some of them didn’t do anything other than that. Rin has friends, has had some dates during the University years, but she has never dared to know people deeper, to know herself deeper, to be less submissive and get mad when she’s mistreated instead of staying silent.
The Rin of the first chapters has her head down the floor and tries to hide herself, while as the book progresses, Rin tries to believe more in herself and accept her body and herself as a person and dares to stand out and make her voice be heard. In the beginning I believe her change was due to the fact that she had seen Court and wanted to impress him, but she explains that everything she changed about her appearance, from her outfits to the way she dons her hair, she did it for herself. Her changes in attitude happened because she wanted them to happen. And she tells us that sometimes it’s a random lipstick that we bought because we liked it but we fear that everyone will look at us when we wear it that may boost our confidence. I can relate because I also love lipstick and make up and I often wear colors that stand out. At first I think “omg, what am I doing, people will laugh at me”, then, after I get back home, I realize that now that I dared to wear it outside, the next time I will have more confidence.
Court was also barely living. Like Rin who was doing what she thought was right and achieving her dreams and keeping herself in the shadows, he was keeping himself too much in the light but he wasn’t enlightened at all. On the contrary, he was sure of himself and arrogant and many could think his life was perfect, but the truth was that he was alone.
After a scar left by his past, he has decided to guard his heart and be cold towards everyone at work. He only wanted to do his job and do it properly, avoiding all the distractions such as his new intern. His change happens gradually and it doesn’t set in until the end. He is controlling and this is an example of why he is not living. Control could be okay in certain situations, but when our whole life is controlled and everything about us is manipulated and not genuine, we are not really living. We are just functioning as if we were robots, computers. For Court is hard to give up his control, but eventually, after he sees the light and the sane reasoning Rin brings in his life, he will realize that he may be guarding his heart but he can’t be up 24/7 and always be vigil. At some point, he will let his guard down and that is when the true turning point for his character happens and his life is not only shadows. It’s ironic that a woman who likes to live in the dark is able to bring peace and positivity into the life of a man born to be a Sun who should radiate warmth.
This is why I liked Court and Rin. Court was the dark and Rin was the light. He was the irrational part while she was rational. Many things Court does are planned, reasoned, like I said, controlled, but the truth is that he is an impulsive man. He says he keeps his promises but the outcome always changes. He was a surprising male character because I never knew what he would do, and at times he really did things that make he roll my eyes. But I think he acted crazily when he started to understand that he didn’t have control over Rin and over the situation that they created and this caused him to act thoughtlessly.
Every time Court acted like an impulsive bastard, Rin called him out on his bullshit and I liked it. She wanted him but her integrity came first, so she only let him do it what she agreed he could do to her. Maybe she fit with Court because he was possessive and controlling and she was strong and not obeyed when she didn’t want to, and said yes to his demands when she also wanted to do what he had asked her. This way Rin will always do what she really feels to do and not what Court thinks they should do. She was able to loosen his controlling ways and make him believe that he could love again and trust people, and he was able to help her shine even more.
One last thing before I’m done with this review. There were some Italian phrases in the book. As an Italian living in Italy and speaking Italian, I have to say I was glad that the author did some research on the terms and used well-constructed phrases that didn’t seem copy-pasted out of Google Translate (I hope they aren’t. But if they are, at least GT did a good translation). One term I would have changed as a native speaker was the title “Dottore” referred to Dr. Lyons and to the other curator. Now, this term is not wrong. “dottore” is used to refer not only to any doctor, but also to graduates in any discipline. Here the title was given as it should had, but I would have cut the “e” and only written “Dottor” instead of “Dottore“, since when you speak or write it has a better flow in the phrase. Like, in English, you say “Doctor”. It has a better ring to it. But of course, this is just my opinion as a native speaker.
So, I will surely read another book by Staci Hart after this one because I think I’ll also enjoy her other titles (spoiler: I found out I had many of them already in my TBR list).
RATING: 5/5 stars