Monday, January 25, 2016

Release Day Review: Lover of Light by Mel Bossa

51r0qPvfHiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title ~ Lover of Light

Author ~ Mel Bossa

Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing

Published ~ 25th January 2016

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





It only takes a touch to shatter the line between hate and love.
Andy genuinely tried to be happy when his best friend, Dimitry, decided to marry his on-again-off-again Bulgarian boyfriend, Alexei—a beautiful problem case who’s obviously using Dimitry to get a green card. When Dimitry admits only days later that it’s over between him and the little gypsy jerk, Andy can barely contain his pleasure.
Then Andy’s boss announces he’s hired a new waiter. A real firecracker. When Alexei walks through the club’s door, Andy is completely unprepared to work with the man he blames for Dmitry’s broken heart.
In spite of himself, Andy becomes captivated by Alexei the musician, the singer—the man who still carries a light inside him despite his dark past. But Alexei’s time is quickly running out, and his health is fading fast. Though the love growing between them gets brighter every day, Alexei will soon have no choice but to return home to Bulgaria.
Unless Andy can convince him that home is waiting for him—right here in his arms.
Warning: Contains a bartender who thinks he’s got his enemy categorized as neatly as a row of shot glasses…until his heart is straight-up shaken and stirred by love.

Alan’s Review

If you’re looking for a light, frothy, standard gay romance, Ms. Bossa is not your author, nor is “Lover of Light” the book for you. Mel Bossa does not do frivolous. Everything she writes delves deeply into the human soul, the dark parts and the bright. Nor does this remarkable author do the trite memes that makes so much gay romance fiction seem so derivative. Ms. Bossa does unique, from her own unique perspective. She doesn’t make you laugh much, but she does move you to tears with her passionate forays into the depths of the human heart, and to joy with her characters’ triumphs over adversity. And that’s more than enough for me. Her writing skills and talent are both vast and impeccable, and every journey this amazing writer takes you on, is one you won’t soon forget. Ms. Bossa doesn’t write gay fiction, she writes literature.

All of that is true of “Lover of Light”. It’s primarily about three characters, Andy, Dimitri and Alexei, whose stories play out against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Montreal. All three characters share one common and enduring issue – they’ve all been damaged by their families.

Andy’s mother deserted him when he was young, running away with her boyfriend. His father never forgave him for being gay and never let up on him. He ran away at the age of sixteen, and has been on his own ever since, out of contact, for more than three years, with his beloved older brother and younger sister. He’s never forgiven them for taking their father’s side in the exile of Andy.

Dimitri is a holistic psychotherapist, deeply involved in saving lost souls, perhaps because he’s been unable to save his own. His father is a devout Greek-Orthodox and as a result, Dimitri has lived a life in the closet, terrified that he will lose what’s left of his family if he dares to live his truth. He’s been Andy’s best friend since high school.

Alexei is the wild card. Slender and small, this man is so beautiful that he sucks the air out of a room just by walking into it. He’s also talented, a remarkable musician, a singer with a powerful golden voice. It’s not a career. Alexei doesn’t have a career. He’s actually a Bulgarian citizen, son of a mother who’s been in and out of hospital all his life, a child abandoned to the streets. Without his looks, he would surely have starved to death years ago. He followed a “boyfriend” home to Montreal only to be abandoned when his boyfriend decided he needed to go back to his wife and kids. He’s one of Dimitri’s salvage jobs, one that Dimitri took too seriously, even agreeing to marry him to ensure his legal residency in the country. But Dimitri doesn’t stay too long with any one of his “rescues”. It seems that once they start to get themselves together, Dimitry loses interest and moves on to another damaged boy.

When the book opens, Andy is living with his lover of three years, Quinn. Quinn is a bisexual man divorced from his wife, but he spends more time with his ex than he does with Andy. He studiously ignores Andy, except when he’s afraid he might lose him. Quinn isn’t much interested in either sex, or anything happening in Andy’s life. It’s almost as though Andy were an accessory, an accessory that Quinn might miss were he gone, but little noticed as long as he’s around and fulfills his role.

The core of the book is about how Andy and Dimitri relate to the beautiful, but damaged, Alexei, and to each other. They all have a great deal of darkness to overcome. They’re all lacking in the self-awareness and honesty they need to deal with their own realities, until Alexei becomes the catalyst that changes everything.

It’s beautiful to watch them fight, make up, worry about each other, and love each other in their own particular fashion. It’s all part of the process of finding the light. It’s about illuminating the dark corners of their lives and hearts, and walking, unencumbered, into the bright light of the day. Ms. Bossa uses light, throughout the book, as the symbol of truth, joy and love. It recurs over and over again.

The first few lines of the book are: “The April sun filters through the blinds in my sister’s living room window, touching the hardwood floor… reminds me of the Gustave Caillebotte painting I love… I always thought his work was a beautiful testament to light.”

At one point, Dimitri confesses: “Alexei is a lover of life. A lover of light. Of everything bright and loud and real. I’m none of those things, Andy.”

Referring to the night bartender job he just quit, Andy says: “I’m never going back to sleeping days. I need light in my life.”

Even the very last line of the book keeps the metaphor going: “Because here comes the sun.” Trust Ms. Bossa - she writes exquisite and redemptive endings that drag the reader into the light along with her and her characters. “Lover of Light” is, ultimately, a beautiful book filled with love and joy.

If you like smart, well-written literature, with complex, authentic, evocative characters, you’ll like “Lover of Light”. If you like getting lost in a deep, insightful story, a story of passionate young men finding themselves and finding love, you’ll like “Lover of Light”.

And if you like top-flight, seemingly effortless writing by a stunningly talented author, you will love “Lover of Light”, just as I did.

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  1. Does the blurb of this book really use the term 'gypsy' as an epithet? Because that's really inappropriate and racist.

  2. About the term "gypsy". Note that it is not capitalized, and the author is not referring to the Romany people.

    As per the Oxford Dictionary definition # 2: A nomadic or free-spirited person.

    Also, in the U. S., we have gypsy cabs and etymologists refer to the "gypsy moth". And in neither case is any offense intended or taken.

    Plus, BTW, The Romany People are not a race, they're an ethnic group and therefore the word "racism" should not be used when applied to them. Xenophobic, perhaps?

    Doesn't matter, referring to someone who is nomadic or free-spirited is a perfectly legitimate use of the word "gypsy" (lower case), and neither inappropriate nor racist. He is using the term as an epithet, because Alexei doesn't have a home or a job and is making no attempt to get either, at that time. He is, indeed, nomadic.

    And, BTW, the man he refers to angrily as a "gypsy" turns out to be, well, I don't want to give away any spoilers, but let's say, "quite close".

  3. Ah yes, the classic 'I didn't mean the racist term I used in a racist way' defense. It is never an acceptable term.