My Love Affair: Thorns & Roses tells the story of love found, love inspired, love’s longing, desperation and finally love lost. From the ashes of those thorns, emerged a rose of inspiration and a new beginning, as Actress, Director, Stage Producer and CEO/Founder of the Los Angeles Performing Arts Conservatory and it’s iconic Promenade Playhouse – Natalia Lazarus takes us on a whirlwind journey of a love affair spanning the continents from Paris to Antibes, San Francisco, Malibu and Manhattan.

The romance in question is twofold; Inspired by a play about Picasso, in which she performed, Lazarus used her character to voice and create a screenplay and poetry based on a passionate liaison which took her from exhilaration, trepidation to despair, and eventually recoupment of her creative soul.

Her first love affair began with Picasso and his art, after performing in Jeffery Hatcher’s dramatic two- character play, “A Picasso.” An all-consuming interest and fascination with the artist as well as playing a character, an art historian, who had known Picasso, gave rise to a special bond.

She began to learn all about the artist and his work, even walking the same streets and visiting the cafes Picasso often frequented. Although unaware at the time, she was giving rise to a new project. Her visions transported her and she felt as if she was reliving the lives of his mistresses, muses and wives, delving obsessively into his many tumultuous affairs.

It was at this time she fell in love with a married man of whom she wrote endless poems of desire, loneliness and betrayal.

Her poetry chronicles all the stages of a romance that was doomed from the start, but inspired sentiments that were new and exciting. Using these heartfelt poems, she realized the inspiration from Picasso’s life needed to be a part of this unique homage to love and loss.

Written like a play, twelve paintings from different periods of Picasso’s work are illustrated alongside the poetry and photos that accompany each Act and Scene in this book. The author chose different phases of Picasso’s artwork and analyzed them to show the well-documented evolution of his life. How different these chapters were, and echoing Picasso, Lazarus’ poetry becomes more evolved and intricate throughout her exhilarating love affair.

This is a must-have book which expresses the yearning desire and determination that comes from a life-altering, passionate experience. It imparts a unique rendering of the feelings from one woman’s heart. The author invites us all to come along with her on this exquisite adventure.

~ Maureen Solomon.