Book Reviews

Paint by Number by Andrew Grey at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Interracial / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 22-September-2020

Book Blurb

Can the Northern Lights and a second-chance romance return inspiration to a struggling artist?


When New York painter Devon Starr gives up his vices, his muses depart along with them. Devon needs a change, but when his father’s stroke brings him home to Alaska, the small town where he grew up isn’t what he remembers.


Enrique Salazar remembers Devon well, and he makes it his personal mission to open Devon’s eyes to the rugged beauty and possibilities all around them. The two men grow closer, and just as Devon begins to see what’s always been there for him, they’re called to stand against a mining company that threatens the very pristine nature that’s helping them fall in love. The fight only strengthens their bond, but as the desire to pick up a paintbrush returns, Devon also feels the pull of the city.


A man trapped between two worlds, Devon can only follow where his heart leads him.


Book Review

The commercialization of art and its consequences for (some) artists is at the center of this thoughtful novel about Devon, a painter who has lost his way. What would it be like to only be able to produce your art when you’re drunk – but you’re an alcoholic? What a dilemma! I can’t even imagine, but reading Devon’s story helped me come closer to understanding. When he goes home to Alaska to help care for his father after a stroke, Devon runs into his second problem – and that is all about his personal life. And as if those two issues weren’t enough, Devon also gets involved in fighting off a ruthless mining company that threatens to destroy the landscape whose beauty Devon had almost forgotten. The result is an emotional tale about rediscovering his passion, finding his home, dealing with unexpected romantic tension, and all of that while figuring out how to get rid of unwanted exploitation.

Devon is a painter of growing fame, but he is afraid all his success may be due to the alcohol he has recently given up. Living in New York is less than ideal for his recovery, but he thinks of it as his future. Alaska, where he ends up to support his father, is his past. Or so he thinks until he gets there and the landscape brings his muse back to life, the people he left behind turn out to be very different from what he remembers, and even his romantic interests turn out to have changed.

Enrique is like a force of nature, an artist, and bearer of a secret interest in Devon that he has managed to hide for years. When Devon returns, Enrique is determined to show him what he is missing, and why Alaska is better for him than New York. Enrique is close to nature and can’t imagine living anywhere else, running the Trading Post keeps him busy, and his “project” to open Devon’s eyes to the natural beauty all around them isn’t entirely selfless.

The beginning of their relationship is by no means easy, but their common interest in art and keeping the miners away from their small town is a start. There are supporting characters who gently (or less gently) nudge them in the right direction, and the most vivid one is nature herself. I loved all the sights and sounds and scents Andrew Grey brought to life, it enhanced the story and made me want to go there to see it for myself. In the end it is Devon who needs to figure out what is more important: the so-called high life in New York or the rugged beauty of Alaska and sharing a life with Enrique, who turns out to be so very different from what Devon remembers.

If you like romances about tortured artists, if mixing love and suspension is your thing, and if you’re looking for a read about modern-day dilemmas, two men who have lost their way, and a magnificent backdrop, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 188 pages/68396 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 08-September-2020
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
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