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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
A Coward's Guide to Oil Painting by MM Kent takes you on a nostalgic trip back to the 1960s. Mary Ellen Justice hates her name, as she finds Mary to be too ordinary. Listening to a Kingston Trio song made her decide to use Mariah for a change. On her graduation day, she joins a couple of friends in an old school bus and heads for Mardi Gras. Here she meets Blaine Grayson, a guy with a penchant for jazz who adds more color to her life. But in a private moment, Mariah also encounters Blaine’s brother, Cliff, during Mardi Gras when she was working as an art model. When Blaine’s Cessna 210 crashes in Frio County, Mariah and Cliff set off to find out what happened and uncover the truth, while the FBI takes over the investigation. This happens at a time when Blaine has given her a wonderful gift of life. But Cliff is there for her.
For readers who want a tale about romance and taking a trip back into the hippie era, A Coward’s Guide to Oil Painting will do more than that. It will keep you turning pages because there is the question of what will happen between Mariah and Cliff. Similarly, you want to find out what has happened to Blaine and if the suspicions of the authorities pertaining to his plane crash carry any weight. MM Kent’s plot of a sensual love story is interspersed with artistic insights as Maria writes a book that happens to be this novel’s title. Think of those love stories by Robert James Waller, but with more spunk. This is a novel that gets you fully immersed from start to finish.