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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gastien Part 1 - Caddy Rowland

Title: Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream
Author: Caddy Rowland

Format: Ebook provided by author for review.

From Goodreads:
In this both dark and hopeful first book, young Gastien Beauchamp begins his journey to Paris with two goals in life. The first is to become an artist with his own studio, following his own rules. That is an almost impossible dream for a peasant. Gastien has no money, no formal training, and is a naïve eighteen year old fresh off the farm. Paris spits out talented men into the gutters every day. “Good” gets you nowhere. “Great” maybe gets you a bowl of soup. The second is to become the greatest lover in France. That should be easy. With his stunning looks, and his willingness to learn, the women of Paris are about to be awakened in a way they have only dreamt about in the 19th century! Gastien swears that he has no interest in love. Love would only take away his dreams. But he is innocent and does not realize that sex without love can be quite empty. Before he can learn that, he must face obstacles and heartaches that will threaten to destroy his very soul. Insatiable, burning passion. Focus and drive. Raw, natural talent. Armed with those, Gastien is determined to succeed at any cost. Poor Gastien. If he could only know in advance what struggles lay before him, he might think twice about leaving home. However, he is young and full of hope. The dreams burn relentlessly inside of him, not allowing him a moments rest. And so the journey begins..

**There are some very graphic scenes that may be offensive to some and I would not recommend the book to anyone under 18.

This is the story of a young boy, Gastien, growing into a man , and the journey he takes along the way during the 1800s in France.  It begins with him at the age of 43, and the rest of the book is a flashback of what brought him part of the way to that point.   Overall I really enjoyed this story much more than I expected I would.

Gastien starts out as a young boy, oldest of 10 Beauchamp children who live on the family farm.  He is abused by his father, both physically and verbally.   Gastien dreams of becoming a professional artist, rather than taking after his father farming cauliflower and other vegetables.  And due to his upbringing of abuse, he is determined to basically never allow anyone to get very close to him emotionally.  Yet along the way he does make a few close friends that I believe will be there throughout his life.  Gastien is a jumble of dichotomies.  He is a bit arrogant, yet naïve about his true self; mean and off-putting, yet innocent and needy; raucous and raunchy, but sweet and thoughtful; immature yet wise beyond his years.  I truly enjoyed getting to know him.

It was very interesting to see him go from an abused boy, to a fearful yet brave teen, to a homeless young adult, to a brazen yet damaged man.  There were parts of this story that made me very sad, a little ill, excited, happy and hopeful for his future.  The timeline covers years, and you get to see how he grows and changes, blooms and withers under the circumstances he lands himself in.  I loved meeting some of the other characters in his life, I felt they truly added a richness and comfort he desperately needed.

I would recommend this book to people who love historical fiction or drama, I don’t think I would classify this into a romance category.  There is a bit of romance, but it is not really centric to the story so far.