There are few books that leave me in such emotional shambles as Of Sunlight and Stardust. Christina Lee’s gay romance novel pulled no punches. It is a ravishing tale that will leave you wanting more yet begging for the heartache to cease.
From the Amazon Blurb:
After the death of his wife, Tanner Rowe takes a step toward making her dying wish come true and buys the house with the dilapidated barn she’d been inexplicably drawn to in the picturesque Upper Peninsula. But after a year, he still can’t get past his grief long enough to make the repairs he’d promised.
Recently out of prison, Cole Lachlan has little to his name. Homeless, broke, and without many options as a felon, Cole heads to Red Bluff with hopes of a second chance. There he meets Tanner, whose loneliness mirrors his own, and soon Cole is trading room and board for rebuilding the burned-out barn on Tanner’s property that hasn’t been touched in seventy years.
Turns out, the barn holds more secrets than either of them could have imagined. After unearthing a hidden journal from 1948, Cole and Tanner spend their evenings poring over the pages, reading about a young man pining after his best friend. The deeper they delve into this forbidden affair from the past, the more Cole and Tanner’s own relationship shifts–from acquaintances to friends…to undeniable attraction.
But as they begin to deal with the newness of falling in love in the wake of Tanner’s loss and Cole’s past, they also become more determined to unravel the mystery of the young lovers who’ve captured their hearts, the rumors about the fire, and what really happened that fateful night.
Loneliness has a way of making us mirror images of each other. Perhaps, that’s the real theme of this book. We wait for Tanner and Cole’s relationship to blossom, eventually leading to the steaminess we’ve come to expect from the genre. Yet, there’s a deeper mystery lurking further compels the reader.
I was a little skeptical about them incorporating the journal into the events of the plot, but luckily it worked in the end. Cole and Tanner’s dynamic plays well against Tom and Charlie’s parallel story line. You’re invested in both relationships.
Now to get technical. When describing Christina Lee’s writing, vivid is the best adjective. From the moment the story takes off, you will feel as though you’ve experienced this story before. There’s something familiar about all of it. Christina uses that feeling of familiarity as a weapon to gracefully cut you to shreds. And to her credit, the technique used is superb.
Of Sunlight and Stardust, simply put, is a must-read. If you want something that tugs on your heartstrings and demolishes even the most stoic of hearts, this is the book you’ve been looking for.