Audiobook: Behind the Eyes of Dorian Gray by Beth A. Freely, narrated by Max Brown

The gentlemen with the wicked, brown eyes, the beautiful young man, whose image had been immortalized more than two centuries before by the artist’s brush, seemed much more than pigment and paint and canvas. When best-selling author Rachael Lafferty sees the painting on the auction block, the beautiful young man captures her heart and her writer’s imagination. She knows she has to have the painting–it would make the Victorian townhouse she was restoring complete…

More complete than she ever could have guessed, for when she brings her prize home and lovingly hangs it on the wall, Dorian Gray’s trapped soul steps out of the painting and into her life.

Cold. Dark. His much-deserved hell. Those were the only things Dorian had known for more than a century. But, now, impossibly, he finds himself in his own home once more, though a century has passed. He feels warmth once more. And love–his love for Rachael makes him corporeal to her. A love that just might redeem his jaded soul, make him into a new man…

Make him alive again…

But his presence in the house stirs jealously. Someone dear to Rachael wants the ghost gone from Rachael’s life, someone who knows just how to get the job done.

And that person won’t stop until Dorian Gray is again banished from this earth.

This book was recommended to me by a friend so I dove right into it, not really knowing what to expect.

I’m a fan of the original Dorian Gray but not a purist (unlike with Sherlock Holmes, I will forgive creative license!) so I was curious what direction the author would take and I’m really happy with the result.

The portrait of Dorian Gray is purchased by a successful romance author, Rachael, who hangs it up in her Victorian townhouse which, of course, turns out to be HIS house in an earlier time.
He steps out of the portrait and thus begins the love affair between Dorian Gray and Rachael Lafferty – Gray learns what it’s like to be devoted to another person and have their best interests at heart.

What I appreciated is that all the while, he’s still a bit of a dick. He’s heavy handed, selfish and arrogant – he gets a bit better but those qualities don’t make him inherently evil. It did get a bit sketchy about halfway through when the lines were a bit blurred between whether or not Rachael was consenting to his involvement in her life or if he was being abusive but it just about veered back into the safe zone. I’d advise caution if you’re particularly sensitive to this issue.

This book is an interesting look at toxic relationships and deeply flawed people, all of the characters are a bit awful in one way or another but I did feel sympathetically towards at least half of them!
I had feelings about the narration of this book – FEELINGS. The narrator has an absolutely gorgeous voice but could have had a bit more energy to it, a book featuring Dorian Gray is crying out for a bit of decadence.  That said, I would absolutely listen to more of his work, particularly in partnership with this author!

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