By Julie Reece
Published on May 12, 2015
Published by Month9Books, LLC
Published by Month9Books, LLC
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.
To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.
Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.
But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.
Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.
Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.
But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?
The very first thing that attracted me to The Artisans is the simple, yet stunning cover. I love the fonts and the color is perfect. The second thing that attracted me? Raven, the Goth Steampunk loving main character, as we jump right into the hell that has become her life since her mother passed away. Her stepfathers best friend brings him "home", to the back of the store they own, passed out from drinking. After getting Ben settled on his pallet on the floor, Raven is handed a letter from the Maddox family requesting Ben's presence that very afternoon to settle his debts, and she knows that her already crappy life is about to drastically change.
Raven, from the beginning, has spunk. She is a fighter, and she fights for the people that she loves. Ben may be a drunk now, but he is the only dad she has ever known and she is willing to do anything to make sure she doesn't lose him. She goes to the meeting intended for Ben, and offers herself up to Gideon Maddox, in exchange for her father. From this point on, her life will never be the same. For better of worse?
Like I said, I adored Raven. She is smart, funny and loyal to a fault. She loves her father, and her two best friends more than anything. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for each of them. She doesn't just take crap from Gideon, who pushes her from the beginning. He is a jerk, who knows how to push her buttons, and stubborn as it gets. Raven isn't a stranger to stubborn either, and gives as good as she takes. Their relationship goes through so many ups and downs, it will give you whiplash, but I loved every minute of it. It took me a while to warm up to Gideon, but as he let down his guard, my heart thawed. After said thawing, I loved how their relationship developed, and it was a great part of the story. On a side note, I had no idea going into this that Beauty and the Beast played a role in the story, but after seeing that referenced somewhere after I finished it makes a whole lot of sense, and I love the book even more!
Another favorite character was Cole. I can't say too much about him though. He is a part of the mystery. Who are the Artisans? Who are the ghosts hellbent on destroying Raven? Why is Raven seeing ghosts when she never has before? And what is the real truth behind Ravens past, and her sleepwalking? Who is Gideon, underneath the anger? There are so many questions throughout the book, and the mystery continues until the end. I loved the ghost aspect of the story, and the intrigue surrounding the Maddox family.
One of the best aspects of the story were the relationships. They make The Artisans stand out from the crowd for me. Ravens two best friends, Maggie and Dean, were amazing friends to have. Their interactions with each other, and Raven, were some of my favorite parts of the story. Jenny, the cook of the Maddox household was like a grandmother to all of them, and I loved her to pieces. Edgar, Raven's cat, played a big role in the story. Animals always make me happy! Finally, Raven and Ben's relationship was not always easy, but the love they have for each other and the things they faced together shaped Raven so much. To sum up: The Artisan's relationships category = PERFECT!
Finally, I love that Julie Reece had her Faith play a role in her story. Faith is a huge part of my life, and my relationship with God shapes me. I loved that she used her Faith in this story in such a way that it shines. She isn't preachy with it, she is honest with it, and it was refreshing and added a great depth to the story. I love The Artisans. It is easily one of my favorite books of 2015. I am happy and sad all at the same time, that it is a standalone! I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to anyone and everyone!
Thank you to Month9Books for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this ARC copy!