Author: Lee Benoit
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M paranormal, inter-racial romance
Length: Short Novel
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
An unusual paranormal romance featuring two sweet and virginal men coming out of the closet together.
Jamie Cowan hoped his new gig as playwright-in-residence at an urban theater would be the start of a new life — a proud life out of the closet. Instead, he’s stuck in student digs with oversexed roommates and a morose parrot. He’s too intimidated by city life and city people to be honest about being gay, much less try to find a lover. Worst of all, he’s blocked, unable to write, and in danger of losing his dream life before it even begins — until an errand for the theater brings him face-to-face with the most beautiful man he’s ever seen.
Spider is a humble Dominican-American tailor. Meeting Jamie gives Spider a glimpse of a life — and love — he never imagined for himself. But Spider has a secret, and it’s not that he’s gay. Whenever the moon is high, Spider sits before his loom and weaves tapestries that predict the future.
Spider and Jamie’s mutual attraction is undeniable, but first they must overcome Jamie’s closet and Spider’s secrets. That’s when they learn that their past fears are nothing compared to a new one: an arcane threat that will test Jamie’s mettle and threaten Spider’s very survival.
Jamie’s had a lucky break, and been taken on as Playwright in Residence for a theatre in Sister City, straight out of college. He’s excited about his job, but frustrated because he’s suffering from writer’s block. As a result he’s spending his time during the day at the theatre doing odd jobs, and at night trying to block out the noisy sex coming from his housemates’ room. Whilst being sent on an errand to pick up staging curtains, Jamie meets Spider, a weaver and embroiderer. There’s an instant attraction between the pair but both are nervous and inexperienced and find it hard to be bold enough to make a move. Spider is also hiding a secret about his life and isn’t sure that Jamie will be able to fit in alongside that.
Let’s start with some of the things I liked about this book. Firstly I thought the relationship between the two men was rather delightfully sweet. They are both young, both healthily lusty, but are crippled by their inexperience and their shyness. This means that as the book progresses the pair do a slow dance around each other, with the physical part of their relationship moving in tiny steps. For example they kiss, but don’t move on from kissing for a quite a while, and then even when they move to the ‘next base’ they don’t immediately start having rampant sex. I have to admit, the slightly cynical part of me wondered just how realistic that was, but it was still nice to see two characters taking things slowly and getting to know each other before having sex, plus it fitted in well with their personalities.
Another thing I liked about the book was the unusual paranormal storyline, and the way that the two heroes discover an affiliation and a mutual need to create through Spider’s weaving and Jamie’s writing. This added an extra dimension to their relationship and strengthened their bond. If I have any grumbles about the paranormal story it’s that it was never very clearly explained why Spider had this compulsion to weave, or what the purpose was of the weavings he creates. I also thought that the inclusion of the Santeria priestess and other aspects to do with that religion muddied the waters about Spider’s ability, rather than helped to clarify things. Maybe that was the point, that the reader isn’t supposed to know why he weaves, but I found it a little frustrating that this wasn’t clearer.
One aspect of the story which I also found a little frustrating was in the very slow plotting and odd written style. The written style is rather dense, with a reliance on description and on dialogue rather than on clear character thought or action which made the book drag a little. It also gave the impression of reading through fog, which seems an odd way of describing prose but is how I felt whilst reading! Whilst this style mirrors the confusion and reticence that both Jamie and Spider feel over their developing feelings, it also meant that I was never really sure about the characters real thoughts or motivations.
In the end I had mixed feelings about Moonspun. I liked the characters of Spider and Jamie and thought the romantic tension between them quite delightful, but on the other hand, the story dragged a little because of the slow plotting and dense writing. However, if you’re looking for an interesting paranormal about finding your ideal mate and coming out of the closet then this book should be what you’re looking for.