Painted Moon was initially published in 1994. This copy is a special issue celebrating the book’s 25th anniversary. You can look for the 1994 version, but this one is even better fun because Karin Kallmaker wrote 2 additional short stories 8 and 25 years later. She has also written a foreword in which she shares what she discovered when, after so many years, she dived back into her own story in honor of the 25th anniversary.
I first read the book in the late 1990s and I knew right away that it would become one of my favorites as well. The book tells the story of the haunted artist Leah Beck, who lives like a hermit in a house far from everything in the snowy mountains. Jackie Frakes gets stranded in the snow on a drive to family to celebrate Thanksgiving. Leah meets the stranded Jackie and offers her shelter. Not that she really cares about that. Because a snowstorm rages by, she’s stuck with her for the time being and Leah isn’t waiting for company. Leah isn’t too nice to Jackie either, to say it gently. Jackie is grateful for the help Leah has provided, but that’s all. Kindness is hard to find.
Gradually, the women tell each other personal stories. Jackie who is not happy with her boyfriend. And Leah mourning the loss of her partner. When Jackie discovers that Leah is a lesbian, her curiosity awakens. Leah doesn’t want it, but she unwittingly feels attracted to Jackie. Through Jackie, Leah rediscovers the passion for painting. She paints portraits of Jackie while they are together in the mountains. They sleep in the same bed and one night during a dream, Leah confuses Jackie with her deceased partner and begins to caress her in her sleep. Jackie is startled but awakens at the same time. This is what she wants, love and passion with a woman. With Leah.
Unfortunately, the storm has passed, and the roads are being cleared. Jackie must return to reality, away from Leah. A journey of discovery ensues for Leah who slowly realizes that there is life after her partner’s death, and for Jackie who accepts that she is a lesbian. After some time, they meet again…❤️.
This book is a typical romantic story as far as I’m concerned, but I thought it was so special because the setting was so beautiful. I like stories where the main characters are dependent on each other. And I also like ‘coming out’ stories that are described as passionately as in this book. Really, there are some scenes in this book that have stayed with me forever. So much passion! And to be honest, I also find the time frame attractive. Very recognizable to me.