3 out of 5 stars

Through poetry, the writer unpacks a love affair that went from blissful to sour in no time.


Actress, Director & Author Natalia Lazarus’ book MY LOVE AFFAIR: THORNS & ROSES is an alluring and beautiful collection of poetry from A Year in Picasso, her feature film screenplay which is currently creating a buzz with Hollywood filmmakers. The book’s heart wrenching romance, in verse, reveals moments of love found and lost, from extraordinary joy to extreme sorrow, to new beginnings. It was while starring in Jeffrey Hatcher’s dramatic, two-character, play A Picasso, in the Rive Gauche of Paris that Natalia fell in love. The tumultuous and scandalous love affair took her around the world and from the heartbreak she created the lyrical collection of poetry which found its way into her Thorns & Roses story.

My Love Affair: Thorns and Roses embodied the author’s personal life and her upcoming film with images of original Picasso paintings. The love affair is described through images of those paintings, pictures from special locations and the author, other art, and poems. It really tied the affair and raw emotions all in together. I not only empathized with her feelings from bliss to confusion to heartbreak to healing, but felt as if I was reliving these moments with her and her ex-lover.

The poems are unique in how they’re set up like the acts in a play. I’m not much of a play nor theater connoisseur, but I think I could still get the gist as an outsider. I’ve read prompt books and Shakespeare before, so I have a basic understanding of how that works. The difference, however, is that these aren’t dialogues.

All of that aside, I did have three favorite poems in particular: “Crazy Love,” “Dinner Alone,” and “I’ll Miss You.” “Crazy Love” was part of act one. I could relate to that feeling of being accepted by a special someone in spite of all the perceived personal flaws. It’s also short, yet moving. As for “Dinner Alone,” that poem makes dining alone in public sound miserable. As she’s imagining her lover also dining alone, he’s probably having dinner with his wife and kids. In “I’ll Miss You,” this verse particularly stood out to me in describing happiness as punishment:

“To ask me to be happy
Is violently cruel
For I am so very sad.”

As the author comes to terms with the end of the affair, the healing process finally begins. From enjoying the thrill of an enticing relationship to everything in between and finally accepting things weren’t meant to be and moving on, the author managed to make the love affair make sense in a poetic manner.

I think screenwriters and those who enjoy stage plays and dramas would appreciate this book.

Raven Jordan
Reedsy | Discovery Book Reviewer
Digital Editor & Writer Lake Highlands Advocate Magazine