Beneath Beautiful by Allison Rushby [ twitter | website ]
Previously Reviewed by This Author: Shooting Stars
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Target Audience: New Adult
Keywords: modern art, self-discovery, artist’s muse, NYC, Paris
Format Read: ARC from the Author (Thank you!)
Summary: Cassie agrees to sit for modern artist, Cameron, so that he may study her and create a sculpture inspired by her. Cameron is known for overstepping boundaries, taking things too far, and making people feel slightly uncomfortable with his nudist art. Though she’s unsure why, Cassie agrees, but lives a life of secrecy as she stumbles into this self-discovery opportunity.
• • •
Approached in the middle of a Parisian cemetery where she sits reading, Cassie is ripped from her quiet time by a handsome stranger. As they wander around together, Cassie vaguely recognizes him but has difficulty recalling his name. When it dawns on her that he’s a famous nudist artist, Cameron, she flees the cemetery.
Cameron seeks her out by discovering her favorite cafe; he proposes that Cassie become his muse so that he can create a sculpture of her. Though Cassie is taken aback by his stalker-like tactics, she’s intrigued by the idea. What did Cameron see in her that he would want to capture? After some time contemplating his offer and discussing it with her sister (because there could be severe repercussions depending on what Cameron decided to sculpt since her father was in a political position), Cassie agrees to accept Cameron’s offer. He asks her to show him who she is so he can encapsulate this in his sculpture; all Cassie’s expenses will be covered by him as he does his research.
They journey to her family’s summer-house, then they’re quickly whisked away to New York. Cassie’s days become filled with stillness and being analyzed from head to toe in Cameron’s studio. She’s filled with confusion as she thought the process wouldn’t be so sluggish. Cassie’s unable to disclose her reason for being in New York for fear of this ruining her father’s reputation. She develops an attraction to Cameron that she doesn’t feel she can act upon, and is threatened by his ex-girlfriend’s presence and interference in his life. To distance herself from her “work,” she begins seeing a nice acquaintance, Jason.
Perhaps this is where Cassie’s whole journey began to disinterest me as a reader. She becomes so wrapped up in the secrecy, in being perfect for Cameron, and lying to Jason. The original concept of showing Cameron who she was really transformed into something else entirely. I was so intrigued by the trip to her parent’s summer house, but things got a little stale as Cameron had deadlines to make and Cassie began to juggle lies that eventually spun out of control.
I really, really did enjoy the self-discovery aspect Cassie went through — having to strip away all her walls to do what she felt was best for herself and to stand up to a father who maybe had too much influence in her life — but wish that a few situations had been a bit more fleshed out and less chaotic. (And ideally, that they would have continued to travel a bit more before Cassie burrowed her head in the sand and became so introspective.) Overall, Beneath Beautiful was a welcome change because I haven’t read a ton of New Adult books; there were some definite highlights, a nice dose of sexy tension, and it’s such a steal for $2.99 from Amazon.