Title: The Masterpiece
Author: Francine Rivers
Print Publisher: Tyndale House
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Published: February 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christian Fiction.
Length: 15 hours, 54 minutes. Unabridged
About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.
Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.
My Thoughts on the Book:
There’s something special about this book. The story has some thematic and structural similarities to the author’s classic bestseller, Redeeming Love, but dare I say it? I like The Masterpiece even better. Maybe it’s my partiality for contemporary stories? Maybe it reflects the author’s growth over her career? Whatever the reason, this story and these characters have found a place among my all-time favorites.
Roman and Grace each have heartbreaking backstories, which are smoothly integrated into the flow of the present-day story in such a way as to maximize their impact. I cried in the car on my way to work, while listening to this audiobook. (Thankfully, I was able to pull myself together in time for work, but that’s another story!)
Their character arcs introduce gritty bits of reality into the story and require a lot of healing and growth over the course of the book, but their journeys along the way present a beautiful image of God’s love and redemption. The gospel message is discussed in the story, but its introduction felt natural to the plot, and I’m glad the author didn’t shy away from addressing the subject.
The romantic storyline is complicated by the hero and heroine’s backgrounds and by Roman’s initially brooding attitude. I enjoyed seeing the gradual development of the hero and heroine’s relationships with each other and with other characters in the story, and how all those relationships interacted in bringing about a satisfying conclusion to the story. Overall, a sweet romance interwoven with meaningful character development throughout. I highly recommend this title for fans of the genre.
Specific to the Audio Edition:
Susan Bennett gives a professional performance throughout this audiobook. The pacing, inflections, and enunciation in her reading make it easy and pleasant to follow her through the story. Character voices and emotions are subtly distinguished, making it easy to follow who’s speaking, without any of the voices sounding awkward or unnatural. I highly recommend the audio edition.
I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed listening to the book.