I think it’s appropriate to start out our Audiobook Month with two of my favs! Amy Lane is one of my all time favorite authors and her audiobooks rank among the books I can listen to over and over and over. Some of my favorite are: Clear Water, Bolt Hole and Beneath the Stain. Narrating two of those is Nick J Russo – he ranks as one of my top three favorite narrators and it’s Amy’s works that help him hold that position. So, with no further ado…. let’s start off our month of great listens with Bonfire!
Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.
Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.
It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.
(Book reviewed here previously)
I’m going to divide this review into two parts because it was amazingly emotional and really brought so many thoughts and feelings to the surface for me and I think it will for others as well.
The first part will be the review for people who don’t want any spoilers or any discussion about politics – because I know that can really set people off. The second part will be a bit more personal with some very biased opinions and a bit of spoiler action that you all can totally skip ☺
As you all know, I am a huge Amy fan. I’ve read nearly everything the woman has written and I not only admire her writing but think she’s pretty awesome as a person. From knowing a bit about her backstory, I can tell she wrote this book with her own experiences in mind. Larx is a high school principal – reluctantly – and a single parent. He was married before, but after exposing his bi-sexuality his wife left him and the kids. He’s moved from the city (other bad stuff happened there) to a small town to start over. Now, seven years later, he’s still single and thinking it will stay that way til his kids are graduated.
Aaron is the small town deputy, slated for Sherriff in the upcoming years. His wife died in a car accident and though he’s always considered himself bi-sexual he’s never acted on it and really never thought to do anything about it until his kids graduated. When he sees Larx – the man he’s known for years- running down the highway without a shirt a light switches on in his head and suddenly all those plans he had, change.
Part of what I absolutely love about this book is that the characters are closer to 50 than 40 and they feel so very REAL. They aren’t in perfect shape – Aaron struggles with his diet – they aren’t sleeping with everything that they see – neither has had any sort of significant anything for years – and they’re parents and their jobs first – not slaves to their lust! They live real lives and have real concerns and yet… Amy manages to find the romance in their lives and bring it out for all to see. It’s magnificent!
In addition to being real people, they have real kids. Neither of them was/is a perfect parent and their kids aren’t perfect either – well – Kirby and Christi might be but…. ☺ …. The kids fight, do dumb things and make mistakes. But – they aren’t evil incarnate either.
I did not see the ending coming… I mean I kinda did… but not exactly. Amy played the mystery out perfectly with just enough hints that you could see how we got there by the end, but it wasn’t hitting me in the face the entire time making me wonder how the MCs couldn’t see the obvious answer.
The good news/ bad news is the “bad guy” in the story is unfortunately very real and very possible. Maybe there were some exaggerations for impact sake, but, unfortunately the people like this exist and that’s up for discussion later.
As for the romance. Ahhhhhhh. Man, I loved these two guys together – so much! If I had any complaints at all it was that we didn’t get to see them together outside of a tense situation for very long. I wanted to see these two settled down and living life – quietly! – for a bit – just because they worked so hard for it (and so did I)!
We also get a bit of a secondary romance (or two!) and I really hope those characters get their own book in the future!
I can’t recommend this enough. It was sweet, exciting, romantic, touching, and also really, really relevant and thought provoking. For fans of the author this is a must, and for any parents, people from small towns, people with brains, or people with hearts – this is a must read!
Following, in the spoiler section, is stuff more political and opinionated and it might give away some parts of the story – so skip this or read it after you’ve read the book if you don’t want to be “spoiled”.
Well, you know I love Am[/spoiler]y and you know I love Nick so together – Oh Yeah!
Nick is just amazingly well suited to Amy’s language. I love how his voice gives life to her characters. I absolutely fell in LOVE with Aaron’s voice and thought Larx’s voice suited him as well. Nick does the younger voices well, including the females. While it was different than I’d imagined, I loved his choice for Yoshi, too.
All in all a great way to enjoy this and a perfect choice!
6 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review