Genre: Paranormal, Shifter, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Rhys has a simple life in the backwoods. All he needs is his trusty compound bow, impressive book collection, warm cabin, full food cellar, and himself. So, when Rhys discovers a sly wolf stealing his kills, which are supposed to last him through the coming winter, he’s forced to set a trap and kill the pest.
But, instead of the wolf, Rhys finds a mysterious (and naked) man named Everett.
After learning Everett has nowhere else to go, Rhys hesitantly invites him to stay and heal. But he doesn’t get much time to adjust to life with his eccentric (and stupidly handsome) house guest, not when winter arrives early and with a vengeance.
Cooped up in the cabin together for months, will Rhys learn to love himself and another? Or will hidden truths and empty stomachs snuff out the flames of love and life?
There is a distinct generational style of writer among authors who are young enough to be my children. That both of these authors seem to have roots in fanfic makes sense, given that it’s the birthplace of this entire genre of modern fiction.
This quirky romance is all about being “other.” Rhys has isolated himself in the high forests, living like a frontiersman and depending on his skills as a hunter/gatherer to survive. Interestingly, it takes a while before it’s clear that this isn’t set in some distant past, but in the present. I liked that, because it places Rhys in a broad historical context, while making it clear that his reasons for this isolation are very much about the world today.
Everett is also self-isolated for survival, but not by his own volition. He, like Rhys, has been rejected by his family. Narrow-mindedness and lack of compassion are what has made these two young men “other” and forced them to live alone.
Unlike Rhys, Everett hates being alone, and it is his presence that makes Rhys reconsider his own assumption that he wants or needs nobody in his self-sufficiency. The solution to Everett’s loneliness seems to be in being Rhys’s companion. Rhys’s loneliness has never bothered him—until Everett’s exuberant presence helps him see just how much he has lost by abandoning a life among other people.
At the core of this book’s success is the unblinking depiction of nature as a relentless force, both beautiful and merciless. Both Rhys and Everett are schooled in dealing with nature; but when their lives intersect, they have to re-calibrate the way they see the world or risk losing everything. This simple premise drives the story to its logical conclusion.
I’m avoiding spoilers here, but acknowledge that if you look at the cover, you’ll understand it all pretty quickly. The pleasure comes in letting the authors reveal their plan page by page.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.
By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.
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