Friday, April 18, 2014
The Color of LIght by Helen Maryles Shankman
But his Board isn't the only problem Rafe has. First, Rafe is a vampire and is trying desperatgely to hold on to his sense of humanity even as he is forced to kill in order to live. Second, Rafe was an art student in the 1930. He had met and fallen in love with a young Jewish woman, a fellow artist, just before World War II began, and he is still in love with her, although he believes she had perished in the Holocaust.
Tessa Moss is a young art student at the Academy, talented but naive and involved in an unhealthy relationship with another artist, the very narcissistic Lucian Swain. Rafe never really noticed Tessa's work until one day when he notices a sketch she has done of a woman with a child by a suitcase that has the name Witzotsky written on it. The woman is covering the eyes of the child with her hand. Rafe begins to take a special interest in Tessa and her work.
Witzotsky is a familiar name to Rafe and it turns out that Tessa has sketched a picture depicting a relative of hers named Sofia Witzotsky. And, in fact, Sofia is the very same woman that Rafe was involved with, the same woman he thought he had lost in the Holocaust. Or had he? After all, he never really knew what Sofia's fate had actually been? Before long, Tessa and Rafe are involved with each other, which is against school rules and just the kind of infraction the board could use to remove Rafe from his position as head of the Academy. But if Tessa can help Rafe discover what really happened to Sofia, maybe it was worth the risk.
Helen Mayles Shankman has written a long, complicated book encompassing two time periods, and a fair amount of different characters. It is very well written, engaging, compelling and I actually enjoyed the intricacies of the plot twists and turns. Rafe and Tessa are believable (well, except for the vampire part), well defined, likable characters, each carrying a lot of baggage that goes back to the Holocaust: Rafe may have lost the love of his life, and Tessa has lost one whole family line on her father's side.
The Color of Light is a novel that will definitely please your romantic sensibilities, and your penchant for historical fiction and has all the elements of a good mystery novel all in one long (574 pages) story. Shankman has a MFA in painting, so her art/artistic descriptions are pretty spot on and you will have no trouble picturing works of art that don't really exist.
My vampire fan days are long behind me and vampires are certainly not something I expected to read about when I started this blog. And yet, I have certainly read my share of fantasy and science fiction here, so why not vampires? But the fact that Rafe Sinclair is a vampire is only a plot device allowing the narrative its dual time frame with him in both time periods as a man his age and it worked.
And generally the YA/Adult books I review here are of the cozy type, but variety is the spice of life and The Color of Life is a spicy novel that could be classified as New Adult/Adult. What I mean is that it has more sexual content than most of the YA/Adult I review.
My friend Zohar over at Man of La Book recommended The Color of Light to me and I am so glad he did. And I am paying it forward.
This book is recommended for mature readers age 15+
This book was sent to me by the author
A Reading Group Guide for The Color of Light is available HERE