Title: The Art of Enchantment
Author: M.A. Clarke Scott
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Format: Print copy mailed by author in exchange for an honest review
My rating: 3.5/5
Ecstasy is the only thing on Clio’s mind
Specifically, ecstasy as portrayed in the Renaissance art of Italy. Clio is a shy art history doctoral student, clinging to her last chance at achieving the college degree of her father’s dreams, when she meets fast-living, sexy Italian architect Guillermo. They come from two different worlds, but share a deep passion for history and beauty.
Clio can’t resist being drawn into Guillermo’s problems when his family’s beautiful ancestral villa is at risk of being sold to an American rap star who will carelessly destroy it’s rich culture, history and artistry.
She tries to keep it professional and fights the urge to surrender to his smoldering seduction. Guillermo is exactly the type of man Clio’s experience has taught her to avoid, and by getting involved with him and his villa, she stands to lose much more than her precious Ph.D.
Can Clio juggle her PhD thesis, a too-hot-to-handle romance, and rescue a priceless piece of history or will everything end in disaster?
As soon as I began this charming novel, I thought, Clio is me and vice versa! The passion for art history (specifically Italian Renaissance) as well as the pressure to not disappoint and live up to expectations definitely related to my recent self-confidence reflections and high standards I put on myself. Clio has that realistic stressor from parents that want their life for her and nothing to jeopardize that. The narrative made me think about what I’m running from (like the male lead, Guillermo) – the first response is flight and ignoring what is right and also challenging. It is easier to escape then to face reality. When taken around the villa and gazing upon the art, she and Guillermo have an engaging conversation about her namesake.
Clio: History is the dull sister to the arts.
Guillermo: …why would there be a muse of history if it were boring?
Clio: Well, she is dull. I don’t think she belongs.
Guillermo: You mean…you are trying to compensate for…what? You are trying to absorb the other muses into yourself because you feel…somehow inferior?”
I feel this is an accurate depiction of someone who has insecurities and fears, being covered up with protection and safety. Slowly, she begins to peel back the layers and trust in herself.
Infusing the Italian language with beautiful imagery of the villas and landscapes made my heart soar. Scott in her bio mentions that she “loves to write about young women on journeys abroad who discover themselves and fall in love while getting embroiled in someone else’s problems… and professional women struggling to balance the challenges and fulfillment of their career with their search for identity, love, family and home” I believe this accurately depicts Clio’s story. Although a male love interest is introduced in her life, I feel that Clio is able to look past that love to ensure her own independence and strength as a woman. Not just with Clio, but both she and Guillermo learn to awaken their true selves with no shame or guilt and take the risk and let their hair down so to speak.
On the flip side, I could not connect to the addition of stereotypical rappers that wanted to buy the family villa. Their introduction seemed a bit over the top and playing into the cliches of modern day rappers. Furthermore, I was itching for a better wrap-up between Clio and her family. However, the reality is being cut off and disowned does not lend itself to quick forgiveness and amends.
Overall, this is a delightful romance novel that encapsulates multiple realistic themes we face.
Read The Art of Enchantment if you like the themes of:
- Art History