Title: By the River (Elementals Book 1)
Author: Katey Hawthorne
Cover Artist: Mina Carter
Publisher: Loose ID
Buy Link: Buy Link By the River
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Rating: 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A beautiful story of selfless love and coming home.
Blurb: After a bad breakup, Adam Kavanaugh returns to his sleepy old river town to find himself. His family hasn’t changed, but he has some work to do readjusting to small-town life, so much that he wonders if he’s made a mistake by coming home. But from the moment Leith Marshall pops out of the Ohio River and smiles at him, there’s no turning back. Between Leith’s swimmer body, sweet laugh, and gentle soul, Adam is head over heels. Leith lets Adam into his little world bit by bit, from his mother’s abandoned aquarium shop to his elderly father’s fairy tale delusions. Which might not be so delusional after all. Leith does have a certain affinity for water. It seems almost to listen to him. The current never pulls him downriver, the tub doesn’t splash, and the pool hardly moves around him even at an all out sprint. He can’t spend a night away from his river, and then there’s the way he sings. Adam has to admit, he’d steer his ship straight into the rocks for that. So maybe Leith inherited a few things from his mysterious mother. It doesn’t mean he’ll disappear like she did. That’s absurd. Right?
Review: I need to begin this review with the author’s own words–primarily because mine will only pale in comparison, for Katey Hawthorne’s are so very beautiful.
“I don’t even know what made me happy before you.” Adam was sure there had been many people. places, things but they might as well have been in another lifetime. Now all that mattered was this living room, this moment.”
It is an amazing thing when we meet that one person who can set right our world and make every piece fall into place, and finally, help us to breathe with ease, without fear. By the River, flows onto the page and carries the reader into the lives of two men, both of whom are unfinished works of art.
Adam has returned home to escape the dull and empty routine of dating mindlessly. He has had affairs with both sexes–unable to light on the one person that his heart can recognize as home. Leith walks out of sync with most everyone, and the water calls to him, keeps him safe, lures him away from a world where he does not fit in. The two men meet by the river and let the water carry them into each other, where they find safety floating in each other’s arms.
This story…was so many things. It was most assuredly a love story. The discovery by Adam that he truly did love his home–that he never should have left it for so many unsatisfied years. Leith’s surety that the water was a place he could never leave–that it made him whole, complete and safe. Their shared realization that in each others arms was their true home, a place where each found not only security but the freedom to fly, to journey, without the fear of being pulled under–their love would hold them up–keep them afloat.
By the River was a story of discovery and of myth and of the incredible power that love holds over us. Katey Hawthorne uses this somewhat quirky tale to illustrate to us that if we truly love someone we will risk it all to see them happy–even our own heart.
For Adam, the realization that he wanted to live for another man–see him happy, contented, and that he would do so despite the costs–regardless if he lost him or not, was a mind shattering revelation. Always before Adam had been the one to walk away from his lovers, now, he was giving Leith the ability to do that very thing–to be happy, even if it meant that happiness would take Leith away from Adam for good. For Leith, whose world had been so very narrow, where the water was his only friend, his only source of comfort, to find the man whom he could share that with—whom he could trust to be there on the shore when he returned—well, that was nothing short of a miracle.
I cannot tell you how magically lyrical this novella was–how amazingly sweet and sexy it read. With each page, Katey Hawthorne invites you in, and allows you to sit in the corner of her imagination and watch beauty unfold. She gently exposes our fears, the idea that letting go of someone we love is both risky and freeing at the same time. She takes the old, trite adage, “if you love something, set it free…” to insanely glorious new heights and wraps it up in a hot, sexy, poignantly sweet story that has you sighing with happiness at journey’s end.
I highly recommend By the River from Katey Hawthorne to you. But, as always, dear reader the choice to is yours. I desperately want to say “sink or swim” or some other nonsensical tag line here, but the reality is this novella left me speechless–it was that good.