Author: L.H Cosway
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 16 May 2016
Damon Atwood was Hollywood’s golden boy. Having won an Oscar at the tender age of thirteen, he had the life many could only dream about. But his success came at a price, and after a short but fruitful film career, he chose to live a life of obscurity on a remote Scottish island. Almost a decade later he’s finally ready to make his return, starting with a lead role in a musical on London’s West End.
As a choreographer’s assistant, Rose Taylor has always faded into the background. She watches shows come to life from the side lines, but has never craved the attention of stardom. When rumours begin circulating of Damon’s involvement in her latest gig, she doesn’t predict how she will be thrust into the limelight, nor how the mysterious and strangely introverted man will need her to teach him how to be a star again.
Rose knows that show crushes don’t last. Actors fall for each other during the intensity of a production, often losing themselves in their roles. These kinds of affairs burn bright and then they fade. The question is, should Rose let herself shine with Damon, or guard her heart from being broken after the final curtain call?
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This is my first book by this author but I was intrigued by the blurb and the cover was a winner hands down, so I just had to read this one.
Damon is a past child Hollywood star, out of the spotlight for the past decade but now taking a turn on the West End stage as lead in Moulin Rouge. He has been hiding away in the Scottish Isles but after the death of his beloved Grandmother and the promise he made to her, he finds himself back in the hustle and bustle of the city life in London.
Rose is a choreographer’s assistant and recently out of a short lived affair that nearly broke her. She now shies away from actors and their false promises but when she gets her first glimpse of Damon, a ripple of something special starts to take flow.
Damon has been through some turbulent times in his youth and most at the hand of his money grabbing father. Once Damon expelled him from his life and went to live with his grandmother he has lead a quiet and content life. He needed to after all his father put him through. He doesn’t trust easy and as such when he is thrust back into the busy city again his demeanour is prickly and standoffish. However when the beautiful dancer approaches him to help, he finds himself open to new possibilities of something. Can he learn to trust again?
This was a very slow build and not much in the full on romance aspect is brought to the forefront of the story until much later in the book. The first half of the book is establishing what Rose and Damon have been through, their new friendship and support system for each other and the introduction of a stellar secondary cast (especially Julian!)
Although I very much loved the characters of Damon and Rose I would have loved much more romance to be involved. Don’t get me wrong as the storyline was very engaging and detailed that kept me flicking the pages but just that little bit more tension, chemistry and passion as them as lovers as opposed to the connection just as friends, would have been welcomed with open arms.
The storyline had plenty of angst and astounding moments where I wanted to grab hold of something and shake it especially Alecia and Blake. Boo hiss! These two tried their hardest to keep Rose and Damon apart and at times it was frustrating that the aspiring lovers just stood back and took the onslaughts.
I loved when the romance eventually kicked off, especially on Skye. That Damon certainly came out with the alpha moves and the dirty talk! This was what I was waiting for! Loved it.
Overall a story fraught with angst, insecurities but lots of devotion, love and finally romance to give an in depth and emotive read. Four and a half stars.
*ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
“Well now, who’s this?” Julian asked as he slid up off the couch, where he’d been lazily scrolling through his tablet.
I chanced a quick, reassuring peek at Damon before answering my friend. “This is Damon. He’s in the cast.”
Julian groaned as he approached, his chestnut hair sitting messily atop his head. “Oh please, Rose, not another actor.”
I glared at him, trying to channel as much ‘shut the hell up’ into my eyes as possible. My flatmate didn’t really have a censor. A moment of quiet ensued while Julian circled Damon, taking his measure. “You don’t look like an actor.”
The edges of Damon’s mouth twitched for the briefest second. “Thanks.”
“He’s got a sense of humour, too. He’ll go far,” Julian grinned in my direction then sauntered into the kitchen. “I’m starving. Are you cooking dinner?”
“Aren’t I always,” I sighed and then asked Damon if I could take his coat. He shrugged out of it, his eyes not leaving me all the while, and then I went to hang it on the rack by the door. On my return he bent to ask curiously, “Another actor?”
I took a moment to absorb the sensation of his breath hitting my skin. It was…not unpleasant. Julian, who I swear had the hearing of a bat, didn’t miss a beat as he let out an amused chuckle. “Rose has a weakness for those in your profession.”
Damon looked at me in question. I strode over to the breakfast bar, again glaring at my friend. “Yes, well, I’ve sworn off all thespians after the last disaster, so Damon here is safe.”
For someone who claimed not to be a big talker, he sure had a lot of questions.
“Ever heard of Blake Winters?” Julian chirped, plucking an apple from the fruit bowl and taking a big bite.
Damon shook his head. Julian scrunched his brows.
“Have you been living under a rock?”
“No, I’ve been living on an island,” said Damon.
Julian cocked his head to the side, as though trying to figure out if he was being sarcastic. “Well, he’s an actor, like you, and he sleeps around. Rose had the great misfortune to have her head turned by the young Mr Winters. He seduced her and then left her in the lurch, the swine,” Julian pouted his lips, effecting a disapproving expression.
“Sounds like an arse,” Damon put in and both Julian and I began laughing.
“I like this one,” said Julian.
I grinned as I thought, yeah, me too, and found myself suddenly blushing.
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Fun Facts About Showmance
Fun Fact #1: When Rose tells Damon how she got to meet Gene Kelly’s wife, that was actually me! I didn’t hug her for too long or creep her out like Rose, but she did mention that Gene used to have a thing for women who wear glasses. I like to imagine this means I could’ve been his wife if I were born a few decades earlier :-D
Fun Fact #2: There are some “easter eggs” sprinkled throughout the book, which I mostly included just to amuse myself. For example, in the show Damon plays the lead role of Christian, while Alicia plays Satine. So the names sort of have interconnected meanings. Damon (as in demon) as opposed to Christian. Alicia reminds me of angel, and her character’s name is Satine (as in Satan/Lucifer the fallen angel).
Fun Fact #3: Another easter egg of sorts. There are some parallels in the story that mirror some aspects of Moulin Rouge. For instance, Julian is a real life male escort while the musical tells the story of a fictional courtesan as played by Alicia.
Fun Fact #4: When Rose tells Damon about Gene Kelly sneakily making Cyd Charisse’s skirt shorter during the filming of Singin’ in the Rain, this was an anecdote his wife told when I went to see her give a talk about the film. I’ve searched high and low but cannot find any mention of this story online, so perhaps it only exists as a word of mouth tale. Well, now it will live on in Showmance.
Fun Fact #5: When Julian tells Alicia about the French demi-monde, this actually comes from research I did during my post-grad thesis, which focused on depictions of courtesans in 18th & 19th century French literature. For years I’ve wanted to use this research in writing a novel about a real life sex worker, but set in modern times, and it’s finally going to happen when I write Julian’s story next year.
L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.
She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.