Unconventional and Authentic
I’ve wanted to read this book for quite a long time…since I fell in love with Amy Lane’s The Locker Room. She has a way of writing M/M romance that feels so authentic and heartfelt. So when I managed to score a gift card, and was feeling like my summer slump was hovering over every book, I decided to splurge on this book to shake things up. And yay!! It was exactly what I was needing to read right at this moment!
What a strange and twisted little fairytale. I knew this book was going to have a fantastical element, but I think I’d forgotten just how fantastical since the last time I’d read the synopsis. I mean, the love interest is a man trapped in the body of a lion….for realz. I had my doubts on how I was going to fall in love with such a creature, but Ms. Lane pulled it off. It’s like a strange version of Beauty and the Beast, and I’ve always loved that tale. But I loved the many layers that the author added onto this story to make it so much more than a simple fairytale. Because while Aerie-Smith follows the storyline of a prince making a mistake and being cursed (along with his island/village), it is Naef/Knife who carries the burden of truly feeling like a beast. He struggles with both his outer appearance AND his inner self being twisted into something ugly at the beginning of the story. Huh, I guess it kind of has a Hunchback of Notre Dame feel too. Interesting…
As always, what makes me truly love a story is great characters with multi-dimensions. My heart hurt for both the heros in this story. Naef was filled with so much hate and ugliness at the beginning, but it was hard to blame him. Watching him deal with his physical transition when he arrived on the island truly surprised me at first…he just didn’t react as I’d expected, but it felt much more authentic. The growth that he showed, and his setbacks along the way, were written in such a believable way. And Aerie-Smith was his perfect counterpart, showing patience, but also pushing Naef when needed.
This story is about self-worth, kindness, inner beauty, sacrifice, and most definitely LOVE. In the end, I laughed, I bawled, and I was honestly pleasantly surprised with how the conclusion played out. *hats off* to Ms. Lane for this clever and thought-provoking tale.
“I was terrified of my weakness, of my sharp tongue, of my every flaw. I was terrified that this moment, my chance to live in happiness for however short a time we may have had, would be ruined because I was simply not carved out of the same wood as happiness, and that my grain was too twisted to ever take its form.”
Lenore is a quirky girl who would love to spend her life reading. She’ll read pretty much anything that has at least a hint of romance in it, though she shies away from historical for reasons unbeknownst to her. She proudly lists her occupation as Trophy Wife, and spends her non-reading time sewing and going to aquacize with her retired mother.
Find this book and other titles by Amy Lane here: Truth in the Dark
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