Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop

Title: Love You Forever
Author: Amelia Bishop
Purchase at Amazon
Cover Art: Dan Skinner
Genre: Contemporary, paranormal
Length: 68500 words
Formats: mobi, print

They grew up together, and fell in love along the way. But the night Cole & Rick came out to their parents their lives changed in ways they never expected. Before their romance could stand on its own, they were cursed by the gods to remain together, or die.

What happens when kissing your boyfriend becomes a life or death situation? When you have to stay together no matter how your feelings change?

Cole promised he’d love Rick forever. He had no idea how difficult that would prove to be.

****

Examining what happens when a young relationship goes from being the best and happiest choice in the world to being a condition of staying alive occupies this book. Cursed on the night of their coming out, Rick and Cole have two traumas to recover from, plus all the practical matters that go into maintaining the conditions a playful or spiteful character out of mythology can think up.


That Cole and Rick love each other is clear, but when it goes from being their joy to an obligation, things do get sticky. To their great credit, each of them makes sacrifices and changes plans to make this awkward arrangement work, but some sacrifices are greater than others, and some kill the soul with too much togetherness.

Drunken cursing should be a “get smacked by Zeus” offense, because Silenus comes up with something that’s a real problem in the modern world. Silenus is associated with Dionysus (Bacchus), and he’s usually portrayed in situations where a good time was had by all.

 (Frans Duquesnoy (1594-1643) Sleeping Silenus, gilded bronze and lapis lazuli, scene from a story by Virgil)

Except, this time, for Cole and Rick. They are loving, they are smart, talented, and thoughtful, but they are also bound by an obligation that wears like manacles after a time. How they deal with this and deal directly with Silenus lets the story unfold. It’s not the evolution that the mythological character foresaw, but better.

The story shouldn’t be seen as YA though we start with the MCs in their late teens, on the cusp of graduating and going on to college in their chosen fields. The entire arc takes decades to unroll, and there’s quite a bit of onstage and explicit sex, which puts the story in the adult realm. The book is frontloaded with sex, almost to the point of excess, but the story does settle into more plot and less groping.

Silenus and Dion only show up at moments of great emotional disturbance, to create issues or to be bargained with. The fantasy element of the story is secondary to the real world problems it creates, but is an interesting point, particularly as the young men need to find out who they’re dealing with and how they might gain the upper hand.

The writing style evolves with the characters and their situation, which was a nice touch—the older, wiser, and a little sadder characters don’t sound just like their 18 year old selves, and their characterizations let me follow along in their emotional journeys. They’re complex enough to add depth to the character driven plot, and to make the happy ending something they’ve worked for and deserve. 4 marbles

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