Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication date: August 23, 2016
Length: 246 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
Like a depressed moth drawn to a wild flame, Chris hoped that flame would brighten his life, not burn him alive.
Chris Sinclair fades into a gray world after losing his mother to cancer. When forced to attend a concert as a last attempt to coax him out of his shell, he discovers that life might not be as bleak as he first thought.
Dante Heron holds the audience between the tips of his fingers and the delicate bow, playing the violin as if every heart is his to command. However, something darker brews behind the façade, and Chris is determined to solve the enigma.
When Chris is offered the job of traveling around Europe with the famous violinist, he surprises himself by accepting. With no idea what awaits him, he's thrown into a world where emotions rule and rules are bent.
They're a perfectly dysfunctional match, but then there's always calm at the heart of the storm.
Parents are our foundations. They raise us with love, support, and a knowledge we crave during the tough times, the times we need some advice that we don’t think anyone can give us. They are the people that are supposed to be there no matter what happens in our lives. Right there loving us. Encouraging us to push through. To lose that kind of love and support at any age is hard but at 17 years old it must be unimaginable pain.
Or maybe never having that type of love and support of our parents is worse. Living every day with the knowledge that you will never be good enough to live up to their expectations. That your life is now what they want it to be and not what you need it to be. Slowly dying inside with every day we don’t live our truth. Every day we push our heart and desires further and further away.
Not sure which one is worse but Chris Sinclair and Dante Heron live these truths every day. Will they be able to find their way out, to a place that they can be happy and whole once again?
I had heard some really good things about this story before I started to read it so I was really looking forward to it since Avylinn Winter is a new to me author. Plus I love, love angsty stories especially when it’s both MC’s going through some major stuff. The story is told through Chris’s POV but both characters were thoroughly fleshed out so you never feel like you are missing a part of Dante for not getting his “side”. I actually feel that having his POV would’ve made the story too heavy, even more so than it already was. Chris lost his mother at 17 years old and went to live with his model brother Ayd. This is when Chris, through an acquaintance of his brothers, is introduced to the very talented violinists Dante.
It took me a little bit to get used to Avylinn’s writing style even though it was a little hard for me in the beginning, once again I wouldn’t want the story written any other way because I think her style was perfect for these characters. This was in no way an easy read. It had its ups and downs, misunderstandings and lack of communication, but it also had love. A love hard won and fought for. Through personal trials and the banishing of old ghosts.
Dante was quite the riddle for Chris to figure out and he had some time to do it since he will be spending the summer traveling with him as his assistant during Dante’s concert tour. But figuring out a riddle of another person, a man that you find yourself attracted to, when you have never felt this for another guy
Is made more difficult by the distance Chris himself doesn’t realize he keeps between them. Chris’s journey of self-discovery about his sexuality, the loss of his mom, and where he goes from here was one of the best journey’s I’ve been on this year in reading.
Every once in a while and very slowly we get to see glimpses of the Dante that’s underneath all the arrogance and ill-tempered behavior. And what we see is a life full of pain and a young man who grew up being a violin prodigy whose parents wanted more and more from him each day. Living a life that no 13 year old boy is ever ready for. What draws Chris to Dante is the man he sees when Dante is up on stage playing his violin with such magic that eh falls under his spell every time he hears him play. But what he has to work through is how to get to that man when he is off stage and shuts everyone else out.
I will say again, I loved this story, BUT….yes there is a but. It took me sometime to figure out what felt off about the end of this story because how can a HEA feel off? Although it felt a bit rushed and maybe too easy it was the Dante we see after all the hard times are coming to an end. This Dante to me did not feel authentic to the one we met through the rest of the story. There was almost a complete shift in how he acted and one that I couldn’t understand and felt...fake? I loved the difficult Dante because he deserved to be that way. His life was super hard for anyone to get through without scars but he was a child for most of the worst parts. Which meant, of course, those scars are long lasting. The author, in the way she played out the HEA, basically erased all of that and it that made the ending feel off. Chris as well but in a smaller way that could just be my own personal preference.
I wish I could just come out and name the things that were off specifically since I think it would give a better understanding of my WHY’s but unfortunately I think you need to read this book to judge for yourself. And please do because even with my uncertainty about the ending this was truly a unique, beautiful, and intriguing story that I am so glad I got the chance to experience.
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