Review: Bonds of Denial

Bonds of Denial (Wicked Play, #5)Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Denying an essential part of oneself is very difficult.  No matter how hard a person suppresses a part of them, it will never go away.  For Rockford, aka Rock, he's been so far in the closet, he's not even able to say it.  When the right man catches his attention, it's the beginning of him opening his locked closet door. Carter is a gay escort who struggles with his chosen job and what he really wants to do.  After years of making money in a stable fashion, change is scary.  When one of his johns catches his attention, it is the catalyst for Carter's change.

This story is heartbreakingly sad.  Ms. Aicher tackles two difficult topics here: sexual preference and the old profession in the world.  She does an excellent job of creating both Rock and Carter to be lovable characters.  The struggles they face in life because of who they are is a depressing statement of our society.  I never understood why people are treated differently because of their sexual preference.  I never understood why being paid for sex is bad either. Why is there more stigma applied to those who service in the sex industry versus those who consume it?  This is also another oddity which puzzles me. 

Carter's photography of neglected buildings is a beautiful allegory of how those who are cast aside from society are treated.  There are many meaningful truism peppered throughout this story.  The one which bonds with me most is the following.

“Each one is a different story of lost opportunity.” (loc. 2375-2376)

While this quote is in reference to the abandoned buildings, it also illustrates how people can also lose their way and become a potential unrealized.  Sometimes, it only takes one moment of kindness or one spark to ignite and help a person find their way.  For Carter and Rock, their chemistry together is that much needed spark.

This story is a coming of age for two men.  They are closing a chapter in their life to start a new one.  A better life filled with hope and a fresh start.  Ms. Aicher does an excellent job of presenting obstacles they face both from external and internal factors.  The external ones could come from family, friends and co-workers.  The internal ones are the self-doubt manifesting in lack of self-worth.  This internal conflict is so well portrayed in both Rock and Carter.  Rock's self-hatred for his desire of men costs him and leaves him isolated and lonely.  Carter's fear of a safety net, ever since his family disowned him, keeps him from realizing his dreams.  Watching the two of these men help each other is breathtakingly beautiful.

I love the message of this story.  While I cannot relate through personal experience, I can certainly empathize.  The ending of this tale is splendidly crafted with an expression of faith, love and belief.  This is an enchanting romantic story with a happily ever after.  The emotions one feels in this story starts with bitter pessimism which slowly yields to a wistful yearning.  The journey ends as Ms. Aicher brings us to hope of a better life.  For a tale taken on the ugly side of sex, there is very little sex involved.  This m/m romance is recommended for those who enjoy poignant self-discovery culminating into reaffirming love.

*provided by NetGalley

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      Bonds of Denial (Wicked Play, #5)




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