Sunday, December 19, 2010

And Is Never Shaken by Alexi Silversmith

And Is Never ShakenCassian Ford is a successful writer in his forties, established at the local university. Andy Havers is a book restorer in his early twenties who just moved to town. They have nothing in common, and yet somehow everywhere they go, they seem to run into each other. Despite a bumpy beginning—an exasperated Cassian accuses Andy of being a stalker—the gap in age, and their many other differences, a passionate romance develops between them. But just when Andy is convinced he's found true love, secrets from Cassian's past erupt into the present, and Andy realizes it might not be him Cassian wants at all....

So many elements of this story piled on top of each other to make this a really good read. The same very things that brought Andy and Cassian together could drive them apart if they allowed it, which is a great trick, not often done right. The music and the quotes, some was new to me, some was familiar, added depth to the story. Watching Cassian return to life in Andy’s company, then seeing how it could possibly all go wrong, kept me turning pages.

This was a May/December story that really worked, and couldn’t have happened if Cassian hadn’t had some heartbreak in his past. I like that, when a story absolutely requires a character to be in it or else be different. Andy and Cassian had a lot to work through to become a couple, and it all might have gone more smoothly had they listened to each other better, but then, Andy’s youth and impetuous nature made that difficult, and again, nothing would have been the same without that. Win x 2.

The sex was sweet, but with a couple of weird assumptions, about who does what and what that means the receiving partner does, or doesn’t do.

What I especially loved about this was that Cassian’s erudition was an important part of the story -- and that Andy was well rounded enough to recognize and respond to things that were important to his lover. He didn’t just tell Cassian, “Turn off that irritating piano piece!” but could say, “Gnossienne #1 has always made me sad.” In a genre that contains a lot of characters more obviously sexy than academics, that’s refreshing. The author pays us readers a compliment, too, by assuming that we can either recognize Shakespearean sonnets or figure it out.

This was another story good enough to send me in search of more information. I recognized some of the pieces (Pam Singer played Meditation from Thais for me) but I didn’t understand why Gnossienne #1 made Andy so sad, until I listened to it. To save you the trouble, here’s a link to a good version.

Buy here.

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