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REVIEW: Bars and Butterflies, by Grace Kilian Delaney

Bars and Butterflies

Title: Bars and Butterflies

Author: Grace Kilian Delaney

Genre: Paranormal Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay

Publisher: Self

Pages: 163

Reviewer: Pat

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

It’s been ten years since my young niece died, and it’s time to make my yearly pilgrimage to the basilica where her prayers were answered, and my nightmare began. I light a candle for her and her parents, a promise I made before they’d passed. An entire family—gone.

There’s no peace after death. There is nothing.

I leave as unsettled as I came, shoving the church door with such force I almost hit somebody. Not just somebody. The mysterious man I had seen at the basilica years ago. For the briefest of moments, he had helped me forget the pain and grief in my life.
He invites me out, and he reveals a disturbing secret: he believes he can communicate with the dead. It’s just my sort of luck the first guy I find attractive is delusional. But then, what he does and what I see are impossible and send me scrambling to learn more about him, to figure out how he tricked me.

Because what he did has to be a trick.

Step by step, I’m drawn into in his world until I no longer know the difference between reality and imagination. I can’t fall for him. None of this is real. It can’t be. Unless…

Gael Taylor is no ordinary human.

The Review

One of the best moments of reading for me happens when I unexpectedly open a new book by an unknown author and run into a world of beautiful prose and arresting images. Suddenly, what has been a leap of faith up through the first few pages becomes the promise of reading pleasure. 

I don’t know about other readers, but at this point, I’m torn between indulging in the prose and forgetting everything else I have to do or closing the book, afraid the newness, the freshness will die if I awaken the pages to the light of day.

Such is the feeling I had on reading the first few pages of this book. Should I run headlong into the story or squirrel it away for a time when I need good prose and didn’t have any at hand?

Since I was reviewing the book, I sailed on, and an amazingly enjoyable trip I took. 

Classical guitarist and music professor Aaron Ramirez was heartbroken when his niece and her parents died ten years before the story opens. At that time in the church where the funeral was held, he peripherally noticed a somber figure who also seemed cloaked in sorrow. This time when he visits the basilica in San Juan Capistrano on a pilgrimage to light a candle for his lost family, the mysterious man is again there, and they strike up a conversation which turns quickly into a mutual attraction.

As they get closer and closer, however, retired Doctor Gael Taylor tells Aaron that he believes his dead wife has guided his life to find Aaron. In fact, Gael says he can communicate with the dead. At first Aaron shrugs off Gael’s assertion as fanciful and not truth. But the more Gael insists on it and the more strange things happen around Aaron, he starts thinking that Gael is messing with his mind. But why? Why would someone he feels such a bond with do such a thing?

Aaron starts to feel like he’s losing his mind, while Gael seems to be aging so quickly that he looks like he might be dying. 

Delany’s lyrical style is imbued with a slight melancholy feel, just enough that skeptical Aaron’s unfaltering stance doesn’t become tedious, but instead translates into everyone’s search for the unknown. Delany asks her readers if it’s so difficult to believe in something intangible, the ghosts around us.

As I said at the beginning, this was one of those stories I didn’t want to see end with two characters I adored. Grace Kilian Delaney doesn’t have a big enough backlist, which is a real shame. I can’t wait to read her next book.

The Reviewer

Pat Henshaw:

* Is a she, not a he.

* Writes MM romances.

* Has interviewed Arlo Guthrie, Big Bird, Fred Rogers, Liberace, and Vincent Price.

* Has lived and worked on all three US coasts and in the middle of the country, too.

* Has been a reviewer, costumer, librarian, and teacher.

* Has ridden an elephant, touched the pyramids, and stood at the edge of a volcano.

* Believes love is essential to everyone’s happiness.

* She wants you to remember: Every day is a good day for romance! 

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