Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Snowbound by Scarlet Blackwell

Snowbound by Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Length: 120 pages

Hayden Berry is lost in a small South Dakota town after crashing his car, when he is rescued by Deputy Sheriff Dylan Hubble and taken home for the night. One night turns into two when they are snowed in and instant attraction turns into life-long love.

But Hayden isn't free to be with Dylan and he leaves, the memory of that winter casting a shadow over the rest of his life...

The lonely roads between the small towns of the American West are a bad place to have car trouble – help may be a long time coming. For Hayden Berry, a wreck late at night in a February storm brings more than just rescue. Deputy Sheriff Dylan Hubble finds Hayden before he dies of exposure. Scarlett Blackwell's Snowbound gives them a chance to fall in love.

One day's shelter in Dylan's home while Hayden's car is repaired turns into two – giving Hayden a chance to revise his attitudes about his own sexuality. He's acknowledged his desire for men but never acted on it, having married a woman who's waiting for him at home. Dylan's very open about his desires – the two end up in bed fairly fast, and are very, very inclined to stay there, but honor wins out. I loved this section of the book, for admitting that previous commitments can't just be dropped because new bonds are formed.

When Hayden is at last free to seek out Dylan again, he's got to be prepared for Dylan's moving on with his life in the many years since they said goodbye. There is a happy ending for them but not until a secondary character behaves very strangely. The effect is not "totally romantic;" instead it calls everyone's understanding of healthy relationships into question. Another twenty or so pages of exploration and resolution to achieve their togetherness and I'd accept it and love it, but this happened very, very fast.

There were so many inaccuracies regarding the setting that I was gritting my teeth trying to stay in the story. Streetlights and sidewalks do not exist in the 20 to 50 mile stretches between small towns in South Dakota; we're lucky if they exist within a town of five hundred people, who all know each others' business. Leaving on a two thousand mile car trip in winter without a spare or emergency gear is to ignore reality, and leaving the car in a storm, even if it's undrivable, is a good way to die. This story is set in my, and a lot of readers' "back yard," and such things are glaring.

The first section of the book is glorious and passionate, but it still isn't enough foundation for the ending. The same kind of serious issue that kept them apart in the beginning exists at the end, but is not worked through. Consequently, the ending feels rushed and Hayden and Dylan's senses of honor, one of the shining things in the first section, is displayed but unused. The spell woven throughout Snowbound was undone for me by the speed, and I was very sorry to be snapped out of it. 3 Marbles

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