Friday, August 10, 2018

Kat's Review: Over and Over Again

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on August 30th for a chance to win an ecopy of your own!

Over and Over Again by Cole McCade
Publisher: Cole McCade (July 23rd, 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Romance -- M/M

A ring of braided grass. A promise. Ten years of separation.

And memories of an innocent love with the power to last through time.

When Luca Ward was five years old, he swore he would love Imre Claybourne forever. Years later, that promise holds true—and when Luca finds himself shipped off to Imre’s North Yorkshire goat farm in disgrace, long-buried feelings flare back to life when he finds, in Imre, the same patiently stoic gentle giant he’d loved as a boy. The lines around Imre’s eyes may be deeper, the once-black night of his hair silvered to steel and stone…but he’s still the same slow-moving mountain of a man whose quiet-spoken warmth, gentle hands, and deep ties to his Roma heritage have always, to Luca, meant home.

The problem?

Imre is more than twice Luca’s age.

And Luca’s father’s best friend.

Yet if Imre is everything Luca remembered, for Imre this hot-eyed, fey young man is nothing of the boy he knew. Gone is the child, replaced by a vivid man whose fettered spirit is spinning, searching for north, his heart a thing of wild sweet pure emotion that draws Imre into the compelling fire of Luca’s frustrated passions. That fragile heart means everything to Imre—and he’ll do anything to protect it.

Even if it means distancing himself, when the years between them are a chasm Imre doesn’t know how to cross.

But can he resist the allure in cat-green eyes when Luca places his trembling heart in Imre’s hands…and begs for his love, over and over again? 

Where to Buy*:
Kindle -- KU Title
More Info:

Kat's Review:

Cole McCade is officially on my Must-Buy list. His prose is so beautiful, and his descriptions are so detailed, his settings and characters don’t so much leap off the page as envelope you and pull you into the story. Over and Over Again is the story of a relationship between Imre (pronounced most closely to Em-ruh) and Luca, two very different men who nonetheless complement each other well. Imre’s heritage is Hungarian and Roma, and he runs a goat farm and orchard called Lohere in northern England. Luca, whose heritage is probably just Anglo-Saxon, is about 26 years his junior, and at the point where the story truly begins, he is not the sweet, good-natured boy who Imre remembers.

There is a compelling reason for Luca’s personality change, and for the actions that get him - from his perspective - banished to Imre’s farm. He feels rejected and abandoned by his parents and a central conflict of the story focuses on how both Luca and Imre hold within them a feeling of having been betrayed and left behind by those they loved. Luca is afraid to take the wrong path in his life, and Imre is scared of holding on to Luca, only to lose him later. They are both concerned (though Imre more so) about the potential reaction of Marco, Luca’s father and Imre’s best friend, at the discovery that Luca and Imre have become lovers. (There is a discovery, and whatever you imagining, it is way worse and about 10 million times more awkward.)

One of the pleasures of reading McCade’s stories is how he creates a space for such grand romance and centers in that romance people who have not typically been granted the leading roles. For many people, stereotypes and misconceptions get in the way of believing that two men can be passionate and sentimental about each other. McCade dispenses with that by describing the freefall of both Luca’s and Imre’s descent into loving each other and the adoration they have for each other. 

****Mild spoilers.****

And the sex is both hot and beautiful. Imre is demisexual (and it’s always nice to see different flavors of queer representation!), and Luca’s experiences are limited, but they set the bed on fire. Much like Imre moves so slowly to stoke Luca’s desire, McCade’s book is a long slow burn. There is so much unresolved sexual tension and so much angst, that it’s almost a relief when they can finally admit to each other their feelings. At least their feelings about boning (which are very positive). So, make sure you know that this book is a commitment to get to the “good stuff,” but the build-up is very worth it.

****End of spoilers.****

Besides all the UST and angst, this book is about a farm in northern England. What is it like to raise goats? To have an apple orchard? How do you handle a blizzard? If you’ve ever wondered these things, you will find out. I find it very enjoyable to be transported into lives so unlike my own when I read romance, and it is clear that McCade has done his research on rearing goats (and mating them) and the dangers of whiteout conditions, and so much more. It’s almost overwhelming, the level of detail with which he portrays Imre’s life, and how Luca could so easily fit into it.

My only frustration with the story was with the characters themselves. I found myself telling them aloud that they just needed to have a conversation; they could resolve so much uncertainty! But their feelings and actions were very relatable. I’ve been on both sides of an age gap (while neither was 26 years, one would-be romantic partner was 19 years older, though it obviously did not work out), and I thought that Imre and Luca were both more understanding of the other’s concerns than I was/would be. 

It is scary to contemplate being with someone who is a quarter-century older. It’s likely that your partner will die before you, maybe even very long before you, and you’ll be left alone. Sure, you’ll have the memories of happier times, but I get Imre’s reluctance to put Luca in that position. And I’m also very glad they decided to take the chance. Because who knows what will happen tomorrow?  It’s definitely better to be with the ones you love for as long as you can.


~ * ~ * ~

Source: Bought

~ * ~ * ~

Thanks for the review, Kat! 


Until Next Time,

No comments :