Thursday, 13 July 2017

A Brighter Palette (Colors #1) by Brigham Vaughn

244 Pages


Annie Slocum is a bisexual woman struggling to make a living as a freelance writer. Stuck in a rut, she feels bored with her career, her relationships—her life. A chance meeting with Siobhán at a gallery adds a bright spark to her dull life. 

Siobhán Murray is a lesbian Irish painter living in Boston. She loves her career, loves her life, but she’s missing the one piece that will make her life complete—a partner. She falls hard for Annie and is delighted to realize Annie inspires her work. But a string of failed relationships has left her wary of bisexual women and wondering if she can trust that Annie won’t leave her. 

When Siobhán’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to decide if the new relationship is something that will burn bright and end quickly or if it’s meant to last. 


This is going to be a bit of a weird review. You know how it’s possible to have a love-hate relationship with someone? Well, while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘hate,’ I did have a two-sided reaction to this book. To make what could well turn into a long story, short(ish) let me just say that Siobhán rubbed me up the wrong way. I found myself totally charmed by her in the early stages of the story. Her easy wit and the fact that she makes no secret of who and what she is totally drew me in. On the other hand, her attitude towards bi-sexuals, and more importantly, the way in which she sometimes seemed to hold Annie’s sexuality against her, made me want to shake her.

What it boils down to is that this story dealt with a few issues that bug the shit out of me in real life. I don’t have time for bi-bashing. The whole idea of ‘gold star lesbians’ infuriates me. And I’m not very accepting or understanding when it comes to jealousy either. Given that poor Siobhán displays all these qualities it is hardly surprising that I spent a lot of time while reading this book growling at her.

So, you ask, after everything I just said, how did I still end up rating this book five glorious stars? Well, it’s no real mystery. If an author can make me lose myself in a story and compulsively turn the pages, despite one of the MCs hitting all the wrong buttons, it is a sure sign they wrote an amazing story. I’m not one to continue a book when I’m struggling with it — life’s too short. While I may have shouted at my Kindle once or twice while reading A Brighter Palette, and while I never managed to completely fall for Siobhán, I can’t deny that I was completely caught up in the story of her and Annie’s relationship. In fact, when an author makes me feel angry about the fact that I can’t climb into my Kindle to give a character a piece of my mind, I know I’m dealing with an exceptional book.

And, furthermore, for every yin there is an equal but opposite yang, aka Annie. It was a pure delight to watch this somewhat insecure and indecisive woman grow and (re)discover her strength and worth. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Annie and Siobhán are a clear example of first impressions being deceptive.

Brigham Vaughn is in a league of her own when it comes to creating characters who come to life on the page. Her writing is smooth and she sweeps me along while her descriptions, both of scenery and of sexy times so vibrant I can almost see the images and feel the caresses.

A Brighter Palette is a well written, captivating and thought-provoking romance. It takes what are huge issues for some people and forces Siobhán and Annie to come to terms with them, in the process forcing the reader to think about the topics in question.

For a glimpse at the problems bisexual women deal with on a daily basis, you could have a look at this light-hearted and yet very deep and informative video: Bisexuals taking down biphobia.

If you like your FF stories with strong characters, well written, vividly sexy, as well as intelligent and thought-provoking, I highly recommend A Brighter Palette. I’m already looking forward to reading the sequel, The Greenest Isle, and meeting up with these two fascinating women again.

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