Author: Isabelle Rowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Rating: 3.25 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/04/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction
We all find ways to run away. Some do it in seclusion, others in the arms of lovers.
Since the death of his long-time partner, Caleb Maguire lives a quiet life in Australia’s Victorian high country with only his dog and horses for company. Each day is the same. There are no surprises—good or bad—until a major snowstorm hits his mountain and Caleb is called out to rescue a stranded tourist. The late night snow brings with it a lost soul who forces Caleb to reassess his solitary life.
Paul Turner is a barista in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He lives life totally in the moment, but a life of no commitments is about to change for this city boy. Three days is all it takes for Paul to fall hard for Caleb, and Paul returns to the city with a promise he’ll be back after turning his life around… but only when all the roads are clear.
In the first few chapters, “telling” was winning out over “showing” in terms of setting the scene for these characters and their stories. This is especially true regarding Caleb and Paul, the two main characters. Things improved in this area any time some of the supporting characters, especially Paul’s best friend Stewart, were on the scene.
Here’s a simple breakdown of how this book presented itself:
The prose is often beautiful. Descriptions of physical place come alive with emotion anyone would recognize and feel a connection towards. This is where the bulk of my rating comes from. This and Stewart.
The characters are a mix of interesting, likeable, and overly mysterious.
The dialogue is ok.
The plotting messy and meandering.
Given the structure employed to tell this story, it was rather difficult in getting to know Caleb, our man on the mountain. Interestingly, it was the opposite in getting to know Paul. I think that’s mostly due to his interaction with his friends and… those who are not so good at being friends. There were moments of similar experience with Caleb whenever he interacted with the animals on his ranch, but they weren’t enough to get me there. It took a good portion of the book to get a handle on him.
I understood Paul’s frustration.
The story’s structure really did seem to work against in getting that very story told. This didn’t change throughout most of the book. It’s unfortunate because, as I said, the prose is beautiful, giving me a robust understanding of the where and the why about the characters living in and their interactions with their surroundings.
Paul is trying to figure out what’s next in his young life. Caleb is trying to figure out how to break through the other side of grief. Stewart, Paul’s best friend, is supportive, funny, and everything else a best friend should be. When he and Paul are together, not only did I learn more about Paul but, Stewart shines through as possibly the most well written character in the bunch.
There are some emotional moments, especially regarding the idea of family being the one we make. Both Caleb and Paul have and do experience this, finding themselves among people who care a lot about them and want the best for them, individually and together. There wasn’t enough of this, though, to get me fully invested in them and the story.
I wouldn’t call this a romance but more of two different stories, about making progress in life, that intersect here and there, paving the way for a possible life together for Paul and Caleb.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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