Author: Anyta Sunday and Andrew Q. Gordon
Cover artist: Caroline Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link (Un)Masked
Genre: contemporary romance with fantasy elements
Length: 210 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius.
Summary: This romance with fantastical elements left me in the sad mood, even though the couple got their relatively happy ending.
Jay Walker has two wishes: to perform the play of his dreams alongside his best friend at Wellington’s Tory Street Theatre, and to meet that special someone. Someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for. Someone who might only exist in fairy tales.
When Jay meets accordion busker Lethe Cross, it’s like living a dream come true. Lethe’s music captivates Jay, and he resolves to meet the man who plays so beautifully. But then he discovers Lethe’s life is more like a nightmare. The phrase “down on his luck” can’t begin to cover it. Determined to help, Jay does some snooping for answers—and winds up on the wrong end of a centuries-old curse. The good news is there’s a way to break it. The bad news is it might cost Jay his life.
See the summary, this is all the warning you are going to get guys – for me this book was seriously melancholic and bittersweet, despite the happy ending that the couple gets, you may of course feel differently, but the blurb is silent as to any indication of what made me sad, so I have to be quiet as well. It was actually one of the hardest reviews to write, but I wanted to stay away from the spoilers. I picked up this book because I liked several self published books by Anyta Sunday that I have read on Amazon and was curious to see what she now writes for Dreamspinner. I have never heard of her coathor before I requested this book for the review.
I think this book can be characterized as modern fable, or maybe as modern fairy tale? There is an interesting play on soul mates in it – it is clear later on that the guys are right for each other, but at the same time this is kind of downplayed and they are getting to know each other and court each other as much as they can under the circumstances. I cannot say more without the spoilers, unfortunately. I thought that the story integrated some fantastical elements perfectly into “our ” modern world. Usually this annoys me and I want some backstory and reasoning, but in this story the fantastical element just *is* and it worked for me, which I guess is a compliment to the authors. The curse is interesting and quite original, but at the same time it incorporates fable-like quality in my opinion. I would say that their love story unravels over the very strong “shadow” of the curse and dealing with its consequences determines a lot of actions and reactions by the characters in the story. I thought it was very well done, but of course opinions may differ.
The friendship between Jay and his best friend Gristle occupies as much place in the story as Jay’s developing romance and if I were to offer any criticism, I would say that this friendship was more a chaste love story to me than a friendship – and it is both a plus and a minus in my book, because I am sorry, but I could not read Jay’s friend as a straight guy and authors clearly stated that he was straight. Their friendship was indeed very beatifully done, but I just wished for them to stop pretending already and I doubt that this was what the authors intended.
Recommended, although it will not be a reread for me any time soon – only due to sad mood it left me in.
P.S. So this review was giving me problems and I could not wait till it goes live – I went on Amazon and have read the reviews there after I was done with mine. If you *really* want to know how I feel plus all the spoilers, go to Amazon page and read the four star review there. Note, it has A LOT of important spoilers, but it described how I felt about the story to perfection.