Leslie Marietta was born into an artistic family but didn’t have the artistic talent that her aunt and mother had. She moved away from her family in California and into an apartment in Pittsburgh. Several years later she received a phone call saying her last surviving relative died and she was now a millionaire and had inherited the Marietta mansion.
Leslie reluctantly travels to the family estate and finds herself filled with inspiration and starts to paint murals on the walls of the mansion. Much to her surprise the paintings come to life and all her dreams come true. Leslie’s life turns into a fairy tale, she falls in love with a man from the painting named Lord Ashton Northing. He’s not the only one in the painting though, there are several Edwardian era people trapped in the walls, along with shadow servants and evil demon like creatures that want to escape into our world.
This is the storyline behind Horror Addict hostess Emerian Rich’s Artistic License. The book is a little like a work of art itself because of the way the settings are described. Everything about the Marrietta estate on the pacific ocean is explained in vivid detail and Ashton’s Edwardian world on the other side of the painting is brought to life by explaining how it has painted trees, skies and homes and doesn’t look quite natural. I also loved how Leslie’s painting is described and how her home comes to life as she paints.
At the heart of Artistic License is a love story between Ashton and Leslie but as the story develops it becomes more than that. Leslie changes from a social misfit into a confident woman. There is a mystery as to how the people were trapped in the wall and what they want and where did the monsters in the forest come from?
The first half of Artistic License is like a beautiful fairy tale but it slowly evolves into a horror story. Not only do you have shadow people who accompany one of the villains in the book, you also have the demon like creatures called buggers that stalk the forests in Ashton’s world. One of my favorite scenes in Artistic License was when some of the buggers surround one of the characters towards the end of the book and chant a certain phrase to her before they attack. I also liked a scene where one of the villains in the story confronts a prisoner that is locked in a basement.
My only problems with Artistic License was that I felt some of the characters were under developed. There are a lot of different people in the story and I would like to have heard more about them. I wanted to hear more about Leslie’s mother and aunt and more about the events that lead up to Leslie leaving Marietta manor. I also wanted to learn more about life on the other side of the painting.
Artistic License is a well told story that will appeal to fans of horror, romance and fantasy. There is a lot going on in this story and the characters are great. I would love to see a prequel to this book that gets more into the world on the other side of the painting and on the events that trapped them there. I would also like to see a sequel that tells what happens to the characters after the events of Artistic License. So check out Emerian Rich’s Artistic License, you won’t be disappointed.