Author: Amy Rae Durreson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/01/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Fantasy, Gay, Historical, M/M Romance, Paranormal
Unlikely hero Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen’s life during the Screaming, a magical attack on his city, but his broken nerves have forced him into an unwanted early retirement to his country estate. Adem thinks his life is over, but retirement holds some surprises. First, there’s his new librarian, who turns out to be not just the first love he thought was dead, but also someone surprisingly knowledgeable about political intrigue. Then there’s the assassin in the orchard and the discovery that the Screaming was just the first attack on the city.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose package “Never Too Late.”
Amy Rae Durreson knows how to plop me down right in the middle of whatever place her characters find themselves. Her descriptions of physical surroundings are imbued with emotion and attitude. Beyond dialogue, beyond thought, the way the characters interact with their surroundings tells me just as much about them as anything else. This is no easy task.
The valley was too low and damp for vineyards, but hops grew here by the row, and the air smelled thick, green, and faintly sour.
Only someone who knows the area could have an opinion on what could or couldn’t grow in a certain location. This tells me the character has a relationship with this place, grounding them, giving them depth.
Anyone who has smelled something green knows exactly what that means, and it creates a connection with the character at a base level. And why is it sour, what’s causing that? My curiosity has been poked.
All of that from a single sentence in describing ‘place’. Yup, love it.
She’s also having fun with the character names. They’re gemmy. 😉
Her stories often include some humor and this is no exception, both in the names and the way Adem and Corun treat each other.
The premise is lovely and executed just as wonderfully, all set against a background of political nastiness that has manifested itself in life-altering ways for many within the kingdom.
But back to the loveliness: here we are, two guys in their 50’s, navigating the changes in their lives that come with entering that next phase, away from active service to queen and country and towards… retirement. From the get go, I was solidly with them, biting my lip as I smiled a knowing smile, and hoped, watching these two. What would their future hold?
Yes, that’s right, mature character alert. Again, Mature. Character. Alert. Well done, at that.
Corun kissed him again, another of those leisurely, all-consuming kisses that made Adem’s thoughts slow down as his heart beat faster and stronger.
Sweet. Purposeful. Exhilarating.
There were a few places where the transition between two settings or times felt abrupt. A few times I had to reread a couple of sentences to make sure I hadn’t somehow skipped something.
As I mentioned above, humor plays a role. How could it not with two guys who have known each other since they were teenagers? It also means there’s pain, and loss, and difficult issues and past decisions that must be confronted. They talk and kid with each other, all while trying to have honest conversations and make some progress, adding more dimension to their relationship.
Like some of Durreson’s other stories, she mixes what feels like historical with mystery and a taste of the paranormal, with a side of surprise for good measure.
I want more of Adem and Corun. There is a seriously awesome foundation that could become a series with these two. This is my official request, Ms Durreson: more of Adem and Corun, if you please. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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