Title: The Photographer’s Truth
Author: Ralph Josiah Bardsley
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Length: 264 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance, Literary Fiction
At a Glance: Ralph Josiah Bardsley has penned a beautiful and often heartbreaking love story, the sort that snuck up on me and then lingered in my memory for days after.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Ian Baines seems to have it all—a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley, a beautiful wife and family, a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. Life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where he meets former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris—the two start to fall in love. Both battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
Review: Ralph Josiah Bardsley’s The Photographer’s Truth is such an elegant and eloquent book. Steeped in the romance of the City of Light is the story of a man, Ian Baines—husband, father, businessman—who seems, from the outside looking in, to be living the proverbial American Dream. The story begins with the introduction of our narrator as a young and as yet unnamed college student who is just beginning to examine who he is and to observe the world around him through a more questioning eye.
Ian is that young man to whom we’ve been introduced, and he picks up his narrative as the now married father of two teenage sons. His life is nothing if not the picture of normality in an average, everyday, wife and two kids sort of way. It’s not until he’s sent to Paris on a work assignment that Ian lives through an epiphanous series of months that not only open his eyes to a new world but also threaten to overwhelm him with the burden of living two separate lives when he meets and falls in love with Luca Sparks.
If you’re a lover of books filled with engaging dialogue, intriguing characters, and enchanting settings, that is this book. The Photographer’s Truth isn’t flashy; it’s a romance that builds quietly through Bardsley’s evocative prose, and then hits its emotional peak at a crucial moment in Ian’s life—the moment he sees life through the unfiltered lens of a deep love he’d been bent upon denying himself. Of course, there’s an undercurrent that runs alongside the reader’s building investment in Ian and Luca finding a way to be together, that of the breaking up of a marriage and the breaking down of a family. The contrasts between Ian’s two lives is a conflict that causes no small amount of friction between he and Luca, nor no small amount of contradicting feelings in readers.
One of the themes I loved in this novel is that of Luca as the former fashion photographer. Luca sees the world in varying hues and shades that transform the way Ian himself begins to view his life and the city around him. As beautiful as it all becomes for Ian, it also segregates the black and white parts of his life—the parts that mean he has a loyalty to his family back in the States—and creates a tumultuous gray area where his love for Luca exists. The emotional current running through this conflict is always at the fore, regardless of the scene these characters are moving through, which serves as a poignant reminder of the diaphanous ties that bind us together, and that living one’s truth is sometimes both elusive and illusive and often takes a vast amount of courage to fully embrace it.
Ralph Josiah Bardsley has penned a beautiful and often heartbreaking love story, the sort that snuck up on me and then lingered in my memory for days after. The Photographer’s Truth is rich in the realism of the human condition and the reality that no matter who we are, love is the intangible force over which we have no control. And, as in life, the author doesn’t give us a neat and tidy happily-ever-after for these two men. He does, however, light the way for that possibility.
You can buy The Photographer’s Truth here: