Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.
Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.
Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.
Josh is having a very, very bad day – in fact – the last three months haven’t been so great. His cranky boss – who seems like he’s up to something – sends him on an errand to the country where he’s meant to take pictures of a house that is coming up for sale. He wants Josh to drive his BMW – for appearances – and Josh ends up late, lost, covered in mud and crashes the BMW.
But… While on his way to meet the seller he runs into an angel in the woods – not really – but a man that looks like an angel – Callum.
Callum is mute since an accident took his voice at a young age. He has no other issues – other than some severe shyness – and he has a way with animals.
Callum and Josh strike up a friendship after Josh asks to photograph Callum with some of his woodland friends. (No – it’s not a fairy tale, but it is romantic and dreamy!)
The two have their issues to work out: Josh is worried about being in a relationship for the wrong reasons, Callum has never been with a guy – though he identifies as bi, both worry about Callum’s mutism and financially, neither man is in a great place.
In the end – after a lot of really moving and emotional time spent with one another – great things happen and our ending is so much more than just happy.
“If I could have got just one shot, I know it would have been perfect: Callum, kneeling down like he was—” I was about to say like he was an angel, but my brain caught up with my mouth in the nick of time. “Like he was out of a fairy tale.”
I’ve not read anything by this author before but I certainly will now! Lane Swift has a gift with words and an ability to evoke emotion that is remarkable. There were so many passages in this somewhat simple romance that read like poetry.
There is a bit of a mystery that gets solved and that’s very rewarding, but the most moving part of this story is the personal growth both characters achieve with one another.
I love that Callum wasn’t hung up on his sexuality. He had some moments of contemplation – but then he merely accepted his bi-sexuality and moved on. (I might even call him demi-sexual… it’s hard to define…but he’s definitely attracted to people not one sex in particular.)
Josh is so wonderful and though his background is harsh, his spirit stays strong. He made a wonderful complement to Callum’s steadfastness in that Josh is delicate and flighty and Callum is strong and solemn.
I devoured this book in one sitting because it was simply so beautifully written.
I can’t recommend this title enough and give it 6 of 5 stars.
Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review