Reviewed by Marieke
TITLE: Dormant Heart
AUTHOR: Lane Swift
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 154 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 10th, 2016
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 not really a happy guy. He works and tries to get over his break up, even though he doesn’t love his ex anymore. It’s more that he feels guilty for not being sad enough. He has trouble moving on and sleeps on his friends and cousin’s couches. When he’s sent to take pictures of a manor by his boss, he thinks it’s either a test or an effort to make him fail.
When he arrives late and covered in mud and his boss’s car dented, he catches a glimpse of a guy in the woods. He’s instantly smitten.
The guy turns out to be Callum, who’s mute and kind of a loner. Josh asks if he can take some pictures of Callum with the foxes he’s seen him with, and Callum agrees. This is the start of a friendship that soon develops in more. But the first time Josh sleeps over, Callum is plagued by nightmares of a childhood trauma. Josh gets hurt and leaves and it’s up to Callum to salvage their new relationship.
This story gave me mixed feelings. On one hand it has so many lovely emotions and both main characters are very loveable. But on the other hand, sometimes it was a bit like being tossed in a lot of different directions. Like in the beginning of the book, you clearly get the idea that Josh’s boss hates him, but then halfway he tells him he’s fired but has a new job in a different city. His boss arranged it all before telling Josh, and later we get to hear that he liked Josh and never wanted him gone. But really, the way he talked to Josh in the beginning could not be interpreted any other way than severe dislike.
Josh is a mix of anxiety and fear, and out and proud, happy go lucky. It’s confusing. But the way some parts are written, you really go on the emotional journey with these main characters. Other parts are a bit rushed so the emotion lessens quite a bit.
Overall I really liked it, but I didn’t love it. It was kind of nice to read a British book, and the typical English language use and customs set a very unique atmosphere. The book being written in two parts––two different POV’s–– was very nice too. Callum’s POV was a welcome change and it gave a whole new feel to the story. His past however wasn’t shocking enough in my opinion to render him mute (but maybe I’m just too harsh here).
The ending was a bit too open for me. Although there was a distinct promise of a happy ever after, it wasn’t quite there yet. Most people will think I’m nuts, but my books have to end very happy, or I’ll be left unsettled. I read to escape reality and al it’s problems (like politics and war). I want the fairytale ending, which this lacked.
A nice book, good character building and wonderful scenery, but with a lot of room for improvements.
RATING: (more like 3.75 Hearts)