Title: Light and Shadow
Author: G.L. Roberts
Publisher: Seventh Window Publication
Cover Art: n/a
Amazon LinkBuy Link Light and Shadow
Genre: contemporary m/m
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A slowly moving, well-written story of endings and new beginnings.
The Blurb: Award winning architect Cody Andrews was in a relationship moving out of control. Although his partner loved the fast life in LA, Cody wanted to slow it down and try to enjoy life with his partner. After two years of fighting, Cody found that all he could do was leave the relationship to save his sanity and self respect. Moving out of LA seemed to be his best bet, so he bought an abandoned lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest and left his high powered life behind. Fixing up the lighthouse is enough to keep Cody’s mind occupied enough to forget everything he’d left behind, then he meets Nick Stanton.
Nick Stanton and his partner Ray leave Chicago for a relaxed vacation on the Oregon coast. For Nick, it’s a time to reconnect with his partner and mend their ailing relationship; for Ray, it’s a tiresome getaway with little-to-no excitement. While Nick tries to enjoy the coastal surroundings, Ray begs to go someplace with a hopping club or a circuit party. And then they meet Cody.
When they meet, Cody finds Nick and Ray to be a reminder of his own failed relationship. But Cody misses interacting with gay men, and finds Nick enjoyable and Ray to be tolerable. But the more time he spends with them, the more volatile Ray becomes. For Ray sees that Cody has everything Nick longs for, and everything Ray does not want. On a rain soaked and windswept highway a decision is made, and the lives of three men are tossed about like a tiny boat on an angry sea.
First of all, this is a quiet book. Architect Cody comes to a small town in Oregon to renovate an old lighthouse. He meets and gets to know artist Nick, who is here on vacation with his partner Ray. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, Nick and Cody come closer, realizing they are kindred spirits. But Ray can also see the attraction, and starts fighting for Nick the only way he knows how: by guilt-tripping Nick.
Ray is an interesting character, actually the most complicated and intriguing character in this book, even though he’s also unlikable, scheming and generally behaving like a spoiled brat. We only see him through Cody’s eyes, though, so his portrait might be negatively colored.
Cody left LA and his former boyfriend because, at forty, he was fed up with the fast life that Steve cherished so much. Cody realized he wanted to settle down in the peace and remoteness of a smaller community, Steve wanted to party on under the big city lights, and so they parted ways amicably.
There are parallels between Cody/Steve and Ray/Nick. For all that Nick is an acclaimed artist, he’s also quite shy, almost unsociable. Ray is the moon to Nick’s sun, bathing in his fame and doing all the socializing in Nick’s stead. Superficially you’d think Ray a sponger, but as for me, I think there must’ve been something in it for Nick too. However, as they are now, it’s really painful to watch them together, and I found myself rooting for Nick to make the “right” decision…for both of them, since Ray obviously isn’t able to let go, even though all they’re doing now is hurt each other.
This story isn’t about cheating, and Cody is no relationship wrecker. Still, I can clearly see why some might think so and despise this story for it. The “normal” m/m trope would’ve had Ray out of the picture already, and Nick, wounded and hurt, find solace with Cody. This isn’t the case here. Ray IS still there, very present, and all three men have to deal with the fact that people can fall IN love, but can fall out of it too. I thought the premise of this book realistic and well executed, and I can recommend it.