Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Muse to Live For by Katherine Wyvern (romance transgender)

Katherine Wyvern is one of the most complete storytellers I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Her characters are a delight, her settings (geographic and temporal) wondrous, and her narrative technique a thing of beauty. She draws you into her stories in a way few authors can, and does it so naturally, you immediately become lost in the world.

A Muse to Live For opens with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe, and it sets the tone beautifully. It evokes an era, a time and a place, and the language Katherine uses to tell the story is a near-perfect match. This genuinely reads like an old manuscript, rediscovered after so many decades, and merely given a polish for a contemporary audience.

We meet Nathaniel first, and he is very much the kind of lost, tortured, melancholy artist you would expect from such a period drama. He is sad, yet likeable, a young man who is both innocent and endearing. Gabriel/Gabrielle paints a different picture, a young lady of the night who may not be any older, but is certainly wiser, more experienced, and a natural survivor. These two souls from different words cross paths by chance, beneath a lamppost’s golden halo, but there is an instant connection.

Nathaniel sees in Gabrielle the woman who can save him, restore his muse, and give him reason to live. She does not expect anything of this awkward young artist, but it soon becomes clear that his love is destined to save her as well - if only she will allow them both the risk.

This was such a beautiful read, such a wonderful romance, I hardly have the words to do it justice. It matters not that it is set in dirty alleys, tiny attic spaces, and dusty salons. The uncomfortable, unsavory nature of their world only serves to cast a brighter light on their relationship, and the people who populate it may be of the lowest class, but it is their heart keeps the lovers' hearts beating. Katherine weaves a work of art about the creation of art, and her literary brushstrokes are just as bold as those that Nathaniel puts to canvas, and just as delicate as those that Gabrielle applies to herself.

The story gets dark, and seems destined for tragedy, but where there is love there is hope. I will not tell you how we get there, or where it takes us, but I will say there is a happily-ever-after that warms the heart. I cannot recommend this enough.

Katherine is a gipsy soul who lived in Italy, Norway, Germany, France and Spain but mostly in some private universe of her own. She still lives a nomad's life between Dordogne and Catalonia, with a tipi as a home and her boots and a horse as only means of transport. She's worked as a printer, a welder and a gardener, and been writing since she can remember, mostly poetry, fantasy and erotica, sometimes mixed together in weird ways. Nowadays, when not busy with walking, horse-whispering or dream-weaving, she is usually painting, embroidering or working her backbone off in the pastures. 


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