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REVIEW: “Stolen Summer” by S.A. Meade

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ABOUT:

The horror of Evan and Colin’s stolen summer may be over but the nightmares remain. Can their love survive the fallout?

The last thing journalist Evan Harrison expects to hear, when he returns from covering the war in Afghanistan, is that his best friend, Colin Williams, is in love with him.

Colin, an Oxford Professor with a poet’s soul and a roving eye, turns out to be a temptation Evan can’t resist. What he discovers is that sex with Colin is hot, wild and relentless. The two of them embark on a passionate affair and Evan knows he’s going to spend his days with Colin – after one last assignment.

A western journalist in Pakistan is too tempting a target for local insurgents. Evan’s ‘Oh-shit’ sense fails dismally when he is taken hostage and spends four months refusing to let his captors grind him down by clinging to memories of the lover he left behind. Freedom from captivity, however, doesn’t bring freedom from terror. The legacy of Evan’s ordeal results in meltdowns and nightmares that threaten to destroy his life with Colin. He can’t even seek comfort in lovemaking because the pills intended to save his sanity kill his desire.

Evan seizes a chance to put his nightmares behind him by taking one final assignment, covering unrest in Jordan. Colin sees Evan’s decision as the end of a relationship he fought hard to save. If Evan makes it back to England in one piece, winning Colin back will be the toughest assignment he’s ever faced.

REVIEW:

Goodness. I adored this book. Why hadn’t I read it sooner? This was lovely. I am going to hop on a small soap box for a moment though. ‘Kay? So, I know this is labeled as gay for you on a lot of shelves but I wouldn’t call it that. I think, or believe, both Evan and Colin are bisexual and have fallen for the same sex when the opposite wasn’t working. They’d both dated and had relationships with women but, the feelings between them have been there off and on for ten years, this wasn’t a flip deal of “today I’m ordering cock off the menu instead of vagina.” No, for me, this was a proper journey with friends to lovers, an intimate and emotional of journey of two best friends falling in true love and all the good and bad that comes with it.

Told in the POV of Evan Harrison, we meet the journalist while on the job on Afghanistan deep in the chaos of the Middle East post nine-eleven. Evan loves his job; the thrill and rush of the third world countries and being able to tell the stories of the struggles with patience and empathy. Yet, while he enjoys it, he wishes for more from back home. His current girlfriend Katy does fine while Evan is away in all areas and though it should bother Evan it doesn’t. What does bother Evan is not having contact with his best mate Colin and that the memories of what could have been and what Evan secretly longed for carry him through the days on the job when there is not human contact from back home. Yeah, Evan longs for Colin, dreams about shared intimate moments with Colin and could care less about who Katy is possibly shagging during his absence.

When Evan returns home, the issues with Katy are at a standstill and he takes the time to hang out with Colin when he comes down for a visit. This visit was amazing. The way the boys are as mates is natural and easy going. They really are the best of friends and yet when Evan tells Colin about his next assignment that will take him to Pakistan, a question is asked during a night of drink and honesty and Colin does what he has to, to turn their friendship around and then some.

I had to risk losing you to let you know.

This story was told beautifully. The writing itself was gorgeous but the relationship between Evan and Colin was amazing. There is no telling of the size of anatomy, or holes that are so tight etc. You don’t need those overused details because while the sex is hot, it’s intensely intimate, sensual and real. These two are so real and you feel the emotions flow through them and off the page. You feel Colin’s love for Evan; the ten years he hid his feelings for him and fell in love with his best friend. You feel Evan and his quiet, quick acceptance of Colin as his lover because it never felt wrong and felt like home. You feel it. You don’t need measurements between these two, you want the connection they have each and every time they touch and you get it. You so get it and it’s so beautiful.

While this story has is gorgeous moments it does have its angst. As the blurb tells you, Evan is taken hostage while in Pakistan and his time as a hostage is heartbreaking. There is not a lot of physical torment that happens to him during this time, but the mental suffering he endures it what could break a person down. If it weren’t for the memories of Colin that Evan holds onto tightly, he wouldn’t make it.

But I thought of all the days I had missed. All that time we could’ve spent together had slipped past. They had stolen my time, they had stolen our time.  I was missing it all.

The authors style reminds me of poetry at times, the way it is written. There are lines you would normally want to blend together with a comma if you were an editing freak, but after you read them, you understand the way they are written, with an eloquent flow of words leading you to an amazing realization, you get it. You just do.  I did and I loved the quiet soliloquys of Evans as he watches Colin sleep or simply watches the light come through a window. It’s gorgeous and emotional and brilliant.

The story deals with issues and the biggest one is the PTSD that Evan goes through. I like that the author didn’t make this story violent even though violence was all around Evan and could have led to him being violent. The author takes an approach to the trauma and takes it all inside the mind where most of suffers struggle to make it through the day. The wounds one sustains, aren’t always visible to the naked eye and those who are there to mend us, endure wounds of their own in the process.

 It’s one thing to put a body back together, but it’s another thing entirely putting a mind back. People aren’t meant to go through what you went through. It leaves scars.

Now I know this seems heavy and at times it was but this isn’t sad or melancholy. It’s an almost quiet tale with men trying to find their way from being friends to being in a relationship. The fight from both Evan and Colin was so honest and lovely to read. I adored them; adored that they argued, that they made up, that they teased each other, laughed together, cried together and they communicated. Yes, you read that right, even when the goings got tough and the words were brutally honest, these two communicated and that makes a huge difference. No big misunderstanding between them, just the things that happened between two people in a committed relationship when you learn it’s not all about you. When you think you are being open to your partner’s feelings only to realize you are quite a selfish arse. Yeah, these two are in a real relationship and this book – Evan and Colin, what they have to gain, to lose and go through was tangible.

Stolen Summer was an exquisite read, a wonderful friends to lovers tale where giving in and giving all to love, triumphs.

 

RATING: 4 STARS

OTHER OPINIONS:

Ami – 4 stars

BOOK INFO:

1338-210x336Title: Stolen Summer
Author: S.A. Meade
Publisher: Total E Bound
Pages: 210
Release Date: August 29, 2011
Purchase Links: Totally Bound, AReAmazon, B&N

About Sara

I'm a runner, a reader and a vegan food eater. I practice yoga and meditation. I live in a house full of boys and rescue dogs. I really need a vacation.

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2015 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Sara and tagged , , .

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