Chris Quinton – Caravaggio’s Angel

angelAuthor: Chris Quinton
Reviewer: Yvonne
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Genre: MM Contemporary
ISBN:9780857156822

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Summary:
A seventeenth-century artwork, a portfolio of canvases and a gorgeous man no one seems to notice— Add in a jealous brother and a scheming stranger, and Paul has inherited trouble.

Paul is estranged from his family, and inherits property on Malta from his artist great-uncle Lawrenz Calleja. It includes a portfolio of canvases Lawrenz painted over the decades, and an artwork that might be a seventeenth-century piece in the style of Caravaggio, but is more likely a symptom of his great-uncle’s obsession—the same man appears in every painting. Paul has grown up knowing that face, the man Lawrenz called Angelo. When he meets someone who matches the image exactly, Paul is hooked.

Their friendship rapidly deepens into love.

Angelo is in exile on the island of Malta—he has to learn compassion and love before he can return to his Father’s house. But he learns the lessons too well, and that proves dangerous. Nico has watched him for a long time, waiting for just this moment, when Angelo is at his most vulnerable. Nico gains an ally when Paul’s brother, Calvin, arrives in Malta. Calvin is convinced Paul inherited a fortune and is determined to claim a share of it. But the battle between Angelo and Nico is far more than it seems and the Calleja brothers are in danger of becoming collateral damage

Review:

This one is a nice but not all that compelling story that seemed to have some trouble finding the balance between a contemporary story of family estrangement and the paranormal love story it was trying to tell.

Paul is completely estranged from his family . At the beginning his father has just died but Paul is not going anywhere near the funeral. His brother though, unexpectedly reaches out to him and hands him an envelope that his dad has been keeping from Paul for two years. In it contains the news that Paul’s uncle, the only family member who ever accepted him and who practically raised him, had died two years ago.

There’s a lot of disconnect with this because we’re told that Paul was extremely close with this uncle, yet he hadn’t spoken to him in over two years so was completely unaware he had died. We get a flimsy explanation for this but Paul is portrayed as devastated by this news.

Paul flies out to Malta to deal with the will left by his uncle. He’s left his uncle’s property which includes several paintings. He discovers amongst his uncle’s paintings a painting that seems to be in the style of the Italian artist Caravaggio. But Paul becomes more obsessed with the subject of the painting, a very handsome young man, than with whether this is an old masterpiece. When he runs into a man who looks identical to the pictures, he’s immediately sidetracked by his attraction to him. .

I think the story stumbles along in the beginning and picked up a bit of steam when we meet Angelo. The romance comes to the forefront and the story takes a paranormal turn as we eventually get an explanation about Angelo and his resemblance to the painting. Other than that, there’s not much going on as Paul quits his job and he’s not speaking to his relatives.

I found the mystery a bit thin here and I don’t think any of the characters ever really rose above cardboard cutouts for me. All of Paul’s family just seemed to blindly hate him just for being gay with no nuance whatsoever. We hear that father was the real villain in this but since he’s dead at the start of the story there’s nothing to go on there.

Then later in the story Paul’s brother returns and does some real evil that everyone seems to brush off instead of having him carted off to a jail cell. There’s another villain Nico but I found the explanation for why he was pursuing trouble with Angelo and Paul seriously lacking.

The other character that was too cardboard for me unfortunately, was the main love interest, Angelo. Angelo was just too perfect and even with the reason given for it, to me it just made the character and the story a bit boring. I’m not all that enamored with bad boys but I think I’d prefer reading about that than about falling in love with a perfect angel. I think though, if you like these sweet kinds of characters you could find something to enjoy here.

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