Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Illumination by Rowan Speedwell

Illumination Title: Illumination by Rowan Speedwell
Genre: M/M Romance, Contemporary
Published September 30th 2013 by Riptide Publishing
Length: 307 pages

Rating: 4 Stars
Review copy provided by publisher

Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he's tired of the empty life of groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. After the final concert of their latest tour, he flees the after-party in pursuit of memories of lost summers and carefree days, until he passes out on the patio of a shuttered lake resort.

Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family's lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. When he discovers Adam asleep in a deck chair, he's furious but intrigued. Adam soon charms his way into Miles' bed, and they lose themselves in a summer idyll, safe from the compromises and claims of reality.

But Adam's life, with all its demands, is waiting for him. And Miles, uncertain of Adam's true feelings, is battling demons of his own. Somehow, the man who's never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.

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The initial meeting between Adam and Miles is very interesting. Adam is completely wiped out after a concert and passes out on Miles' patio, in another town. The next morning when Miles discovers this intruder, his reaction really characterize his personality. Miles mistakes Adam's rock star outfit for a sci-fi costume. He doesn't handle people very well and he's lonely, but he doesn't immediately kick Adam out of his home.

Adam is charmed by Miles, especially after he recognized him as his first love. Adam spends his breaks with Miles at the resort because Miles developed agoraphobia and social anxiety after a car accident. As they try to make their relationship long-lasting, they need to overcome their fears and bad habits. Adam's bad habit with drug use and excessive partying is revealed late in the story. The story would flow better if more time is devoted to Adam's struggle to overcome his bad habits.

I love the descriptions about Miles artwork and the illuminating manuscripts. I appreciate the nitty-gritty details on how the paints for the manuscripts are made. I love the imagination that must have gone into the creating Miles' character with his back story and the relation to different art medium.

The couple gets a HEA ending. They are still working on Miles' agoraphobia and Adam's drug use but they support each other in getting outside help. The ending is a magical moment where Adam gets his dream job (not being a rock star).

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It's very well researched and there are several magical moments that I would reread.

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