Title: Of Sunlight and Stardust
Author: Riley Hart & Christina Lee
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 18th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 270
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
After the death of his wife, Tanner Rowe takes a step toward making her dream come true and buys the house with the dilapidated barn she’d been inexplicably drawn to in the picturesque Upper Peninsula. But after a year, he still can’t get past his grief long enough to make the repairs he’d promised.
Recently out of prison, Cole Lachlan has little to his name. Homeless, broke, and without many options as a felon, Cole heads to Red Bluff with hopes of a second chance. There he meets Tanner, whose loneliness mirrors his own, and soon Cole is trading room and board for rebuilding the burned-out barn on Tanner’s property that hasn’t been touched in seventy years.
Turns out, the barn holds more secrets than either of them could have imagined. After unearthing a hidden journal from 1948, Cole and Tanner spend their evenings poring over the pages, reading about a young man pining after his best friend. The deeper they delve into this forbidden affair from the past, the more Cole and Tanner’s own relationship shifts—from acquaintances to friends…to undeniable attraction.
But as they begin to deal with the newness of falling in love in the wake of Tanner’s loss and Cole’s past, they also become more determined to unravel the mystery of the young lovers who’ve captured their hearts, the rumors about the fire, and what really happened that fateful night.
I really, really liked this book. The way two lonely men with difficult pasts found solace in each other was just captivating. With the issues these men had, I felt the pacing and the development of their relationship were done exceptionally well. It wasn’t a ‘meet and fall in love/have sex as soon as possible and lightly skim their troubled past’. The book also didn’t delve too deep into their past and rehash all their thinking.
The added story of Tom and Charlie gave that something extra, balancing the story on two edges leaving me feeling both good and sad. This is perfect for someone like me who wants safety and danger at the same time.
This book had a little of everything and it really touched me. I liked how the author blended the two stories into one whole, creating more layers with room for reader’s own interpretation kind of. It wasn’t an ambiguous ending though, and the epilogue gave comfort.
Just such a touching story with sadness, loneliness and tragedy, but also hope, love and trust.