A guest review by John
Lucien Durand and Colin Ferguson have lived and loved as partners in life and art for more than twenty years. But happily ever after is never easy. Over time, Lucien begins to resent how Colin’s work overshadows his own art, and their relationship falls apart. Colin leaves with nothing but a backpack, and Lucien goes on alone, getting some counseling, developing a practice in raku pottery, and waiting for what would happen next. He never expects that Colin will send his nephew James to train as a potter.
With James staying in Lucien’s home, a door will open between the former lovers, firing their hearts.
Ok, so here’s a book about pottery and I don’t know a thing about it and after I’ve read it, I know enough to be dangerous. This isn’t a how-to manual, but I learned about the different types of kilns-wood fired called anagama, gas fired called raku, and electric, and glazes that you put on before the pottery is fired. When you make a bowl or something, it is called ‘throwing’ it. That’s the extent of my pottery knowledge.
Fortunately that’s not all this book is about. Lucien is the main character and his is the viewpoint from which the story is told. He starts out in a dream where he is the fire in a kiln, showering heated kisses on different objects. He sees an angel that somehow crumbles under his fiery attention. This is an important symbol – pottery angels in a sealed up kiln, that recurs throughout the story and weighs heavily on Lucien.
That wood kiln that Lucien dreams about? It has been sealed since the day Colin left 5 years ago. Before that, Lucien and Colin had been lovers for more than 20 years and partners in creating pottery and art. Colin became a big name in the art world and Lucien didn’t handle it well. Then Colin left, moved away, and Lucien misses him.
There is also Colin’s nephew, James, who shows up just in time for a pottery workshop and offers to help with it in exchange for place to stay for a few days. There’s also the stray dog that James has befriended that is very pregnant. And a firefighter named Adam that loves pottery and has attended several previous pottery workshops. And the goat…….
This is a story that grew on me as I read it and grew even more when I reread it. I like the style very much. It is told in an easy, unhurried manner. There is some tension, but Lucien has learned a lot about himself in the past 5 years and it seems as though Colin has learned some lessons himself. Maybe not……. There is some sex, but it isn’t explicit, more like little hints of action. It really fits the story.
I really like this story from Sarah Black. I’m going to read more of her work. I first thought of this story as a 4.75, but after I reread it, it’s a solid 5. Highly recommended.