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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Deeper Colors is a romance novel written by C.S. Donnell. Gina Martin does not know much about who she is or where she’d come from. Having become orphaned so young, Gina had been transferred to an orphanage in Vermont shortly after her foster parents had died – the same orphanage where Father Bernard had discovered a very young Gina and her flair for art. She loved colors, especially how they could be used and manipulated to create the most awe-inspiring masterpieces. Although extremely mistrustful of others, Gina had felt a kinship with Father Bernard when he had introduced himself to her; with paint on his hand, Gina learned that he was an artist and their bond became unbreakable. Father Bernard had become her art teacher and mentor, taking Gina under his wing. After Father Bernard’s death, he bequeaths to her all that he had owned, along with a letter informing Gina that he had looked into her ancestry, revealing her to be French, whilst also advising Gina of her original name, Ginette Marden. With this news, Gina makes her way to Paris in order to try and discover as much as possible about her ancestors, only to be transfixed by a painting at the Louvre titled Reflections, which had been painted by Geneviève de Périgueux. The colors reflected in the water of the painting mesmerize Gina in a way she could not comprehend. When nightmares begin to invade her subconscious, each involving the scene from the painting along with a dark figure approaching, Gina develops an unshakable terror of one of France’s cathedrals. Night after night, the same dream haunts her.
Having observed Gina admiring the same painting on two consecutive days, gallery owner Jérôme Dumont enquires as to Gina’s fascination by the painting, only to reveal that he carries not only the artist’s collection at his various galleries, but also Geneviève de Périgueux’s sketches and diaries. Developing his own fascination for Gina, Jérôme invites her to view each piece, while translating the diaries in so much depth that Gina soon feels an unspeakable kinship with Geneviève de Périgueux, even though the artist had died more than two hundred years earlier. As the friendship between Jérôme and Gina blossoms, Gina is torn between pursuing her career in the arts or letting her guard down enough to trust Jérôme in order to pursue a relationship, all while trying to decipher the cause of her unshakable nightmares. Little does she realize that her worst nightmares are nothing, compared to what is just around the corner.
C.S. Donnell’s story of a woman who pursues the secrets of her past and how she had arrived in an orphanage so young is one of the most riveting tales I have ever read. With so many incredible ingredients in this suspenseful romance, the main character not only undergoes a French history lesson about one of the artistic greats from well before her time, but also undergoes much self-discovery and emotional growth. The nightmares which plague Gina at night are quite terrifying. Accompanied by Gina’s extreme anxiety and waking fear at being near the waters and bridge at St. Front, a cathedral in Périgueux, yet being unable to leave due to the hold it has over her results in an emotional and suspenseful thriller which I could not put down. Well written, with the sequence of events cleverly delivered out of order, Deeper Colors is rich and bold, reaching into the inner-most parts of Gina’s soul, exposing the truth of the past so that she can move forward. I recommend Deeper Colors to those who enjoy a good romance filled with mystery, suspense, humor, tragedy and adventure.