Painted Blind by Michelle A. Hansen

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Seventeen years old and agoraphobic, Psyche Middleton vows her dad will never see the risqué photos she took during a summer modeling stint abroad, but one of them ends up on a billboard in her Montana hometown. Now everyone—especially her dad—can see it.  And yet, somehow, those are the mundane things in her life because she is about to fall unexpectedly, head-over-heels in love with Erik, a mysterious young man who rescues her from a crowd of admirers, and who she’s never actually seen because…he can make himself invisible.

As strange as this may seem, it’s about to get even stranger. Erik takes her to his palace in an idyllic kingdom, and she is swept into the beauty and culture of his world, but his affection has one condition:  she may not see him.  Overtaken, intrigued, and still not wholeheartedly believing he’s real, Psyche is going to have to decide if she can love him blindly; because if she can’t, she may lose him forever.

A wild, romantic adventure that travels at breakneck speed, Michelle A. Hansen’s debut is a fantastical journey filled with laughter, danger, and the indomitable power of love. Painted Blind reminds us that one can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds with fortitude and a little luck and confirms that real love is worth fighting for.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Okay, Painted Blind was nothing like I expected and that’s a good thing because I really didn’t expect much from the blurb.  But I still requested it from NetGalley for something new to read.  And wow, was I ever surprised.

If I had to describe it one way, I’d call it The Goddess Test on steroids because it has a more realistic romance, better characters and a plot that glued me to my computer chair for over three hours straight.  Michelle Hansen knows just how much information to reveal to her readers to hint at things, yet doesn’t give so much away as to make all the plot twists completely predictable.  While I was reading, there were a lot of times I thought “Whoa.  Didn’t see that coming.”  Even the most cynical of readers like myself won’t be able to predict half of the plot points, which means that this is most definitely a unique novel.

I love the characters.  Erik and Psyche may seem like your stereotypical romance characters, but they’re not.  They actually have depth and I could sympathize with both of them.  The way they fell in love was a bit quick, but actually quite natural when you think about it.  First it started off as a sort of unexplainable attraction, then they got to know each other and fell in true love, not the kind of lust that passes for love in most YA fiction.

To be completely honest, I can’t believe this is Michelle Hansen’s debut novel.  The writing quality is much better than most established authors, in my opinion.  Her world-building is excellent; you can tell she really thought it through and made sure things made sense to readers.  I honestly can’t wait to see her what she writes next!

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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