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The Artist: A surprising secret-driven historical suspense short story (Dark Victoriana Collection)

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An ad in the newspaper. A war veteran in need. An artist companion. One of these things is not what it seems. Miss Grant’s sole purpose in life is to help Civil War veterans by painting portraits of them to reveal the beautiful souls beneath their injuries. She has met many exceptional men through answering their newspaper advertisements for a companion. But the latest vete An ad in the newspaper. A war veteran in need. An artist companion. One of these things is not what it seems. Miss Grant’s sole purpose in life is to help Civil War veterans by painting portraits of them to reveal the beautiful souls beneath their injuries. She has met many exceptional men through answering their newspaper advertisements for a companion. But the latest veteran, the beautiful Mr. Markham, is strange. He has no debilitating injuries, simply a long, deep scar on his face—nothing more. His isolation from society and his demands to be treated as an invalid defy belief. Why does he choose to suffer when he could enjoy a fulfilling life? Something else is wrong with Mr. Markham. And by the time Miss Grant figures it out, it may be too late to escape. The Artist is a surprising Civil War-era suspense story that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.


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An ad in the newspaper. A war veteran in need. An artist companion. One of these things is not what it seems. Miss Grant’s sole purpose in life is to help Civil War veterans by painting portraits of them to reveal the beautiful souls beneath their injuries. She has met many exceptional men through answering their newspaper advertisements for a companion. But the latest vete An ad in the newspaper. A war veteran in need. An artist companion. One of these things is not what it seems. Miss Grant’s sole purpose in life is to help Civil War veterans by painting portraits of them to reveal the beautiful souls beneath their injuries. She has met many exceptional men through answering their newspaper advertisements for a companion. But the latest veteran, the beautiful Mr. Markham, is strange. He has no debilitating injuries, simply a long, deep scar on his face—nothing more. His isolation from society and his demands to be treated as an invalid defy belief. Why does he choose to suffer when he could enjoy a fulfilling life? Something else is wrong with Mr. Markham. And by the time Miss Grant figures it out, it may be too late to escape. The Artist is a surprising Civil War-era suspense story that will keep you guessing until the bitter end.

11 review for The Artist: A surprising secret-driven historical suspense short story (Dark Victoriana Collection)

  1. 5 out of 5

    J.D. Estrada

    If there's anything you can consistently say about anything written by Christie Stratos, it's that man, she can really write a mood. Some people have a penchant for writing witty dialogue, or super trippy worlds. With Stratos, it's atmosphere. It's always atmosphere. You can see and taste the place and whatever unease is experienced, odds are that it'll rub off on you. The Artist is a short story that definitely lingers and though not as dark as her other works, it somehow feels more real. What If there's anything you can consistently say about anything written by Christie Stratos, it's that man, she can really write a mood. Some people have a penchant for writing witty dialogue, or super trippy worlds. With Stratos, it's atmosphere. It's always atmosphere. You can see and taste the place and whatever unease is experienced, odds are that it'll rub off on you. The Artist is a short story that definitely lingers and though not as dark as her other works, it somehow feels more real. What happens, happens, it's inevitable, and the aftermath feels real as well. Sometimes you read a story and things are nice, tidy, and convenient. The Artist avoids this and I think is an impressive way of capturing traumatic moments in the lives of several people. Topnotch as to be expected.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rose English

    Book 35 of my Goodreads Challenge 2021 An atmospheric read The opening lines of Miss Grant's journal drew me in 'How does one paint the sweet smell of flowers on the wind, better than any perfume one can buy? How does one paint the inside of heartbreak and sorrow, the truth of its depth and it's impact?... ...We are a mistaken smudge of black paint on a perfectly vibrant horizon.' These words give us a glimpse into the character of Miss Grant, but the full understanding of her pain and why she takes Book 35 of my Goodreads Challenge 2021 An atmospheric read The opening lines of Miss Grant's journal drew me in 'How does one paint the sweet smell of flowers on the wind, better than any perfume one can buy? How does one paint the inside of heartbreak and sorrow, the truth of its depth and it's impact?... ...We are a mistaken smudge of black paint on a perfectly vibrant horizon.' These words give us a glimpse into the character of Miss Grant, but the full understanding of her pain and why she takes on the role of companion is not clear until the end. The author holds you in suspense throughout this short moody tale. There is something more to veteran Mr Markham and the author keeps us guessing. I tried to think ahead, anticipating what would happen in the end. I was so sure I might know but I was wrong. I really didn't see it coming at all. I loved how the author gave us some historical facts at the end too. Well worth checking out for a quick read it offers an air of mystery.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amber Sayge

    I absolutely LOVED this short story. The author makes every word and every sentence count as she peels back the layers of the characters and situations, and I don't want to give anything away in this review. So I'll just say it was absolutely riveting and the end scenes really took me by surprise, which is saying a lot because I read a lot and can almost always guess what's coming, but not this time...and not with her other works either. Plus she includes fascinating historical info after the st I absolutely LOVED this short story. The author makes every word and every sentence count as she peels back the layers of the characters and situations, and I don't want to give anything away in this review. So I'll just say it was absolutely riveting and the end scenes really took me by surprise, which is saying a lot because I read a lot and can almost always guess what's coming, but not this time...and not with her other works either. Plus she includes fascinating historical info after the story that plumps up the facts in her story (she really does her research!), which I'm seeing seems to be a wonderful signature to her short stories. I highly recommend this short story (you don't have to be into Civil War-era stories to enjoy this one) and can't wait for her next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    **I received a copy in exchange for an honest review** I've read all of the Dark Victoriana Collection, this includes two novels and two shorts, and enjoyed them quite a lot. While they all occur in the same time period and with a dark theme, The Artist felt less dark or suspenseful. Mr. Markham was an odd character and I had a hard time getting a handle on him. As for Miss Grant, I found her interesting and thought she had more to offer than was written. I was looking for a few threads of backst **I received a copy in exchange for an honest review** I've read all of the Dark Victoriana Collection, this includes two novels and two shorts, and enjoyed them quite a lot. While they all occur in the same time period and with a dark theme, The Artist felt less dark or suspenseful. Mr. Markham was an odd character and I had a hard time getting a handle on him. As for Miss Grant, I found her interesting and thought she had more to offer than was written. I was looking for a few threads of backstory to be further explained in both characters. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I'll keep my eye out for another installment to this collection.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Jonesy

    I have grown addicted to books by this author. It's not just the random historical true facts, despite how much I love those and the fact that she adds references in the back of the book to follow up with. It's also that at the start of each book I always fool myself into thinking I know how it will go. What paths it will follow. I'm always wrong. And I love it. The depth of realism she deals in is too real. And these books, like reality, take turns no one could see coming until they are looking I have grown addicted to books by this author. It's not just the random historical true facts, despite how much I love those and the fact that she adds references in the back of the book to follow up with. It's also that at the start of each book I always fool myself into thinking I know how it will go. What paths it will follow. I'm always wrong. And I love it. The depth of realism she deals in is too real. And these books, like reality, take turns no one could see coming until they are looking back and then the twists was inevitable. A brilliant story, simple and short, but covering such a wide range of characters and topics that I will be thinking about it for days later.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mossman

    Miss Grant is the main character in the short excellent story, and we don't get to know her Christian name because in the eighteen hundreds this was the way people addressed one another. An intriguing read as Miss Grant tries to get through to Mr. Markham, who was depressed and suffering from stress. What he experienced during the war seemed to be the problem for his breakdown. Miss Grant was experienced in this and had been working with men who were greatly affected by their experiences. Only, th Miss Grant is the main character in the short excellent story, and we don't get to know her Christian name because in the eighteen hundreds this was the way people addressed one another. An intriguing read as Miss Grant tries to get through to Mr. Markham, who was depressed and suffering from stress. What he experienced during the war seemed to be the problem for his breakdown. Miss Grant was experienced in this and had been working with men who were greatly affected by their experiences. Only, things are not quite what they seem. I'm not going to give away what this is, and it will come as a surprise, just as it did to Miss Grant. At one point I wondered whether it would go down the Jane Eyre route as there were similarities. It didn't, and the way it went was a lot more startling. A really entertaining read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessa Forest

    A gripping post-American Civil War tale. Christie Stratos doesn't skimp on the suspense or the surprising twists. Yep, there's more than one in this tale. Like protagonist Miss Grant's calming and compassionate demeanor, the story lured me in and took me places I never expected it would go. This is an absolutely wonderful read that I highly recommend to anyone who loves historical and military fiction. A gripping post-American Civil War tale. Christie Stratos doesn't skimp on the suspense or the surprising twists. Yep, there's more than one in this tale. Like protagonist Miss Grant's calming and compassionate demeanor, the story lured me in and took me places I never expected it would go. This is an absolutely wonderful read that I highly recommend to anyone who loves historical and military fiction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard Blaustein

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christie Stratos

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lily Hammer

  11. 4 out of 5

    Genereams

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