>> Saturday, November 19, 2011
In Sharon Cullars' dazzling new novel, two unlikely lovers give in to explosive desire. But guilt and long-buried secrets could destroy their future before it begins...Lacey Burnham has endured more loss than she would have thought possible to live through. Her husband died some years earlier, and now she's lost her 21-year-old son, Calvin, in a crash caused by his own recklessness. The story starts at Calvin's funeral, where his former best friend, Sean Logan, offers Lacey his support.
It's been five years since Lacey Burnham saw Sean Logan, and in that time her son Calvin's best friend has turned from a surly youth into a handsome, self-assured young man. Crushed with grief over Cal's sudden death, Lacey offers Sean a place to stay while he's in town--an innocent proposal that quickly becomes anything but. Lacey is stunned and confused by the yearning he ignites with a single kiss...
Beautiful, warmhearted Lacey Burnham was a haven of comfort in Sean's troubled youth. Now, against every shred of logic she possesses, Lacey is falling hard for Sean and for a heady carnal bliss she's never experienced before. But the ghosts of the past are waiting. And sooner or later, every shadow must face the light of day...
Lacey hasn't seen Sean for several years, since he and Calvin fell out, but she was always very fond of him. Sean, for his part, has also long had warm feelings for Lacey. Well, scorching hot, really, not warm. He only intends to offer her support when he speaks to her after the funeral, but before long, that has turned into something more. And Calvin's ghost is NOT happy about it.
This is only the second book I've read by Sharon Cullars, but she seems to write the most amazing edgy, scary paranormals. As in the fantastic Again, the sense of threat is palpable, and the ghost a very human one. Calvin's actions arise not out of evilness, but out of love for his mother and possessiveness. He doesn't mean to hurt her, but what he wants for her is not necessarily what's best. As Calvin found out what he could do from the realm where he was, things escalated and I felt more and more creeped out, all the way to a really good, climactic ending.
The other thing that I find really different about Cullars is that she makes me truly question whether her main characters are actually good for each other. In Again, the answer was yes, but I wasn't so sure with this one, and this meant it didn't 100% work as a romance. I just had a niggling feeling that I would have preferred this story as erotic fiction, if it had been simply about Lacey's healing and coming back to love through a beautiful, positive sexual relationship. It's not that I didn't want a romance with the premise of this book. I very much did, but I simply wasn't completely and fully convinced by it. It wasn't the age difference so much as that I felt Lacey and Sean were in different places in their lives, and their interactions didn't spell out "relationship among equals". I think I was fine with how Sean felt about Lacey, but I kind of got the feeling that Lacey had much more of a problem with seeing him as young and less mature than herself.
Still, even if it ultimately didn't succeed completely, it failed in a really good way. I see in Cullars' website that she has two other novels that sound just as unique as these two, and I'm looking forward to reading them.
MY GRADE: A B.