I thoroughly enjoyed Afflicted I and II, as well as Cold and Heart of Timber. I learned through reading these books that when I pick up one of Brandon Shire’s titles, I will be in for yet another outstanding reading experience. However, I wasn’t prepared for Summer Symphony and the profound effect it would have on me.
Author: Brandon Shire
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Aeterum Designs
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Martin Zoric had vivid dreams of fatherhood, of a small hand pressed to his, of pink dresses and girlish laughter. Then his wife had a stillbirth and his world fell apart.
He listened to the unwanted apologies, stood by his wife as was expected of him, and kept his façade strong and firm for the entire world to see.
But does he have the strength let go and really grieve?
When Ren Wakahisa landed in Croatia he was hoping to escape the cultural pressures put on him to conform. His family wanted him to forsake love for duty. They viewed his happiness as secondary to familial prosperity.
Does he have the courage to be who he wants to be? Or, will he yield to their wishes?
Summer Symphony is the story of how two men find their answers and what they learn about strength, grace, and the endurance of love.
Martin Zoric, conductor for the symphony orchestra in Zabgreb, Croatia, is buried in grief over the stillbirth of his daughter. With his marriage falling apart and no idea of how to handle the overwhelming loss he suffers, he barely holds it together as he struggles to lead his ensemble of musicians. Ren Wakahisha, a renowned pianist from Japan who joins the orchestra for the summer season, is also fighting battles to be his own man and live life on his own terms. Despite vast cultural differences, these two men find a commonality through love and music as they search for the truths within themselves that could ultimately lead to happiness and healing.
Now that the tears have dried, I can write this review. Brandon Shire’s powerful words touched me in numerous ways, but he seemed to understand and convey two important things in particular: the grief and despair of losing an unborn child and the capacity of the human heart to hold love, affection, and passion for others. He ventured into this territory with grace and honesty through Martin and Ren’s story, and the raw emotion and depth of feeling portrayed left me feeling validated and inspired.
This is not a typical m/m romance with a lovely HEA tied up in sparkly ribbon. Rather, it is like a brief snapshot that varies in its emotional focus but never in its intensity, whether it is the sharp edge of acute pain, or a gentle expression of affection. It is a snapshot of a summer, a summer shared by two musicians, both searching for ways to deal with life’s most difficult obstacles in the face of societal and cultural pressures. In the process, they learn how to stretch boundaries and accept the realities of who they are and what steps they need to take to move forward to embrace life, happiness, and success. Filled with music, grief, and healing, Summer Symphony takes the reader through the tentative, delicate strains of the relationship between Martin and Ren, a tender, melodious love story that slowly builds and takes root between two very different men. The way they reach out to one another is achingly beautiful, and their time together on page is both exquisite and heartbreaking.
No, this is not a perfectly packaged love story; rather, it is an incredibly poignant tale of two men who come together in their shared passion for music and its connection to the healing powers of love and acceptance. Touching, captivating, and emotionally powerful, Summer Symphony will resonate with readers long after its final notes have died away.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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