Chiaroscuro by Jenna Jones
Torquere Press
Gay Contemporary
ISBN: 1-934166-118-1, 978-1-934166-118-4
Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Jamie Makepeace is bored at a wedding, so he goes off in search of entertainment.  To his surprise, he ends up making out with the hot caterer.  After theyíre interrupted, he returns to the wedding.  He forgets all about the caterer, especially when he finally manages to hook up with his crush, younger coworker Micah.  As with everything he does, Jamie throws himself into his relationship with Micah, weathering them losing their jobs due to layoffs, Micahís desire to stay in the closet, and other bothersome issues.  Throughout it all, he has his best friend Dune, and his new friend Ben, the caterer, who he meets up with again later.  He also has his art, which he returns to after losing his job.  When his love life goes very wrong, Ben is there for him, but Ben is leery of relationships. Can Ben let go of the past and be what Jamie needs?

Chiaroscuro is a complex, sometimes frustrating, yet ultimately fulfilling read.  Jamie is British, artistic, passionate, and throws himself into everything wholeheartedly.  While I sometimes found Jamieís behavior inadvisable at best, I could always sympathize with him.  Ben is a sexy player, but he still cares for his friends and has his own brand of ethics.  He changes a lot over the course of the book, and it was enjoyable to watch him grow up a bit and come to understand himself better.  The love scenes were all well-written, and the progression of the relationship(s) in the story felt realistic.  The secondary characters, such as Jamieís friend Dune, Micah, Benís ex-wife Tristan, and others added a great deal to the story.  The friendship and family bonds in Chiaroscuro were heartwarming.  Still, while I enjoyed the book, I did have moments of frustration.  In the beginning of the book, Jamie made several decisions that made me want to shake him.  Near the end, Ben did something even dumber.  Luckily, both came to their senses, leading to a sweet and satisfying ending.  If you like books with a lot of emotion and drama, pick up Chiaroscuro.  Iíll be keeping my eye out for more books by Jenna Jones in the future! 

     

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