- Book Title: Love Comes to Light
- Book Series: Senses Series, Book 6
- Author: Andrew Grey
- Narrator: Greg Tremblay
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (July 11, 2016)
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 4 minutes
- Genre: Romance, LGBTQ, Gay Romance, Contemporary
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Story: 4 stars
- Narration: 5 stars
Since I did not have the benefit of having read the book prior to listening to the audio version, I paid very careful attention to how the story ebbed and flowed, along with how well the narrative, the characters and the plot line built tension and emotional connection with me, the reader/listener.
My conclusion? Very well indeed. Much of that I chalk up to the excellent voice talent of Greg Tremblay who not only gives each character a unique “personality” but also consistency from beginning to end.
The tale begins with Arik and an opportunity to meet and work with a renowned artist, Ken Brighton. The fly in the ointment is Arik’s hand, which was damaged in a fire and resulted in the loss of feeling and fine motor skills that had defined his unique artistic gifts. Despite his fear he can’t possibly measure up, Arik is cajoled into staying with Ken and his partner Patrick for a couple weeks to explore doing a joint project with Ken.
Arik is young, gifted, burdened with a troubled past, damaged physically and mentally, low on self-esteem, prone to place blame on past events and his parents, and quick to judge others. He’s a reactive personality, fearful and reticent, and prickly about his size. And he’s whiny. But he’s also sweet and tends to bring out mother hen instincts.
The man Arik meets while staying with Ken and Patrick is a biker and bike-detailer, a bear of a man who scares the royal you-know-what out of Arik, just because of his size, his fearsome demeanor and gruff voice. That’s Reg—all prickly pear with a soft gooey center, the kind of man who spends time at a children’s center with society’s throwaway kids. I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of “rugrats” in romance novels, but the kids, all of them, simply melted this cold heart and left me in a puddle of goo.
Love Comes to Light is a lovely, and quite earnest, tale of learning to accept the limitations life sometimes lays down, and then finding ways to overcome those barriers, to live in the moment fully and completely. Both Arik and Reg were on parallel paths, with Reg having matured enough to deal with his own demons. He becomes the touchstone for Arik’s recovery, freeing him to become, not the person he once was, but the man he could be.
Thematically, the story focuses heavily on family, on the interconnectedness of friends and strangers, and on giving second chances in the face of perceived failures. In some ways it’s idyllic, almost fantastical, that there are so many nice guys, all committed couples, with kids, all having overcome improbable odds. Yet within that ‘it takes a village’ vibe, there lurks a modern world ready to intrude with substance abuse and violence.
Since this is Book 6 in the series, various characters from other books make major and minor cameo appearances, but the author does a sterling job setting the reader/listener into this small town location and bringing him up-to-speed seamlessly. Where the story stumbles is in dialog that’s often stilted, wordy, and desperately earnest and on message. Arik’s self-absorption, even in the face of others’ misfortunes, is annoying. Reg’s character is perhaps over-indulgent, if one were to fault him, but as they say… when it comes to matters of love, to each his own.
There were some sections I could have skipped while reading but had to continue listening because I couldn’t predict where the sermon ended and the story re-emerged. That’s a downside to an audiobook.
Over all Love Comes to Light is definitely a feel good homage to family and enablement. The ending is as expected and quite satisfying. The small plot gaps, the formulaic style, and the clichés are easily overlooked in this audiobook version because the narrator breathes so much life into the characters.
I’m giving Love Comes to Light Four Stars because any romance novel that can win me over with kids is doing something right.
As for the Narration, that’s an easy Five Stars.
Artist Arik Bosler is terrified he might have lost his creative gift in the accident that left his hand badly burned. When he’s offered the chance to work with renowned artist Ken Brighton, Arik fears his injury will be too much to overcome.
He travels to Pleasanton to meet Ken, where he runs into the intimidating Reg Thompson. Reg, a biker who customizes motorcycles, is a big man with a heart of gold who was rejected by most of his family. Arik is initially afraid of Reg because of his size. However, it’s Reg’s heart that warms Arik’s interest and gets him to look past the exterior to let down his guard.
But Arik soon realizes that certain members of Reg’s motorcycle club are into things he can’t have any part of. Reg can’t understand why Arik disappears, until he learns Arik’s injury was the result of his father’s drug activity. Though neither Reg nor Arik wants anything to do with drugs, the new leadership of Reg’s club might have other ideas.