Daily Archives: August 22, 2013
DSPTitle: Love, Like Water
Author: Rowan Speedwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press July 2013
Blurb: Three years undercover with one of the worst gangs in the country left FBI agent Joshua Chastain shattered. Battling nightmares and addiction, he leaves the concrete jungle for New Mexico horse country, hoping to start over on his uncle’s ranch.
Foreman Eli Kelly spends his life rehabilitating abused animals, and Joshua is just another lost soul. But as Joshua slowly begins to put his life back together, Eli realizes that Joshua is a lot more than his newest project.
Joshua’s plan seems to work—maybe a fresh start was just what he needed. Then, just when he has finally found a sense of peace, crime and hatred nearly destroy all his hard work, forcing him to reevaluate what he wants out his relationship with Eli and his own life.
Review: Joshua is not your regular romance hero. He has spent time working in unimaginable conditions, hidden who is his to protect his life, and done things that have changed him fundamentally. This is a man that no longer feels… anything. The emptiness and loneliness are plain on the page, the reader can completely connect to his turmoil.
Meanwhile, Eli is almost the quintessential hero. He is a very patient, caring, and compassionate character, towards both people and animals. I’m not saying Eli is perfect, he is still a flawed character, but he seems to be the glue holding the other characters together. I would have liked to have seen more to the back story of Eli.
I had difficulty placing this book in the genre because it isn’t what one would expect from a romance. Really this is a character driven novel about second chances, with romance throughout it. Yes, there is a romantic relationship but it felt almost secondary to Joshua’s relationship with himself. There is a lot of sexual tension in this novel; these characters struggle in multiple ways to come together. This is no love at first sight, love conquers all plotline, Josh’s issues run too deep.
This book has a wonderfully vivid description of the horse ranch setting. As someone that knows nothing about horses I was fascinated by the daily goings on at the ranch. This was all lovingly detailed. But this is also an issue I had with the story, too much telling. In order to craft such lovely imagery and feelings Speedwell has fallen into the pattern of telling the reader what the setting looks like, what is occurring, and how the characters feel almost omnipotently, without much character input or personality. But with such lyrical sentences throughout the book this is easily forgiven.
A warning to readers with sensitivities, this book does deal with gang violence. Drug use, beatings, and murders from the past are discussed and alluded to. There is on page violence that some may find hard to read. All of these things lead Joshua to the man he is, the man Eli is as well, and furthers the story. But if you find it difficult to read violent acts, homophobia, and the effects of addiction this book could be a trigger.
Overall I very much enjoyed this story, it fit my desire for an angst filled read with multiple points of internal conflict. I really love reading about Joshua’s struggle to not just find love but be worthy of it. This is a beautifully crafted book, those that crave a hard fought HEA, will appreciate.
Reviewed by Jules