Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: His Heart’s Desire
SERIES: The Looking Glass #3
AUTHOR: Penny Brandon
PUBLISHER: Loose Id
LENGTH: 148 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 9, 2017
As the keeper of a magic mirror that shows those lucky few their one true love, Simon dreams of the day it will show him his. He never dreamed it would be a punk-assed kid with ripped jeans and rainbow-colored hair. Devastated, Simon tries to push Alex away, refusing to tell him they were fated, but Alex keeps coming back, showing all the signs of a man drawn to his soulmate. Realizing he’s made a terrible mistake, Simon figures the only way to fix it is to be the man Alex wants because Alex is the man Simon needs if he’s ever to have a future.
Never before has Alex fallen so hard for a man who obviously doesn’t like him, but Alex is sure there’s a passionate man beneath Simon’s prickly exterior. Peeling away Simon’s layers is like ripping off a bandage, but it’s worth it when Alex finally has Simon in his arms. The problem is, though he may have Simon’s body, he doesn’t have his heart, and that’s the part Alex wants most. Until he finds out Simon has lied to him.
Simon has been waiting over ten years to finally look into the mirror in his shop and see his true love. But when a young man with dyed hair and raggedy clothing walks into the shop and sees Simon in the mirror, Simon knows that his hopes were for naught. It shouldn’t matter, for being Alex’s true love surely means that Alex would be Simon’s, but it does matter. To Simon at least. He feels like he lost his chance at something, something magical and important…and so he breaks the only rule he has had ever since he became the keeper of the mirror, and doesn’t tell Alex that the man in the mirror, Simon, is his true love. In fact, Simon does just about everything he can think of to get rid of Alex. But Alex, despite not knowing the reason for Simon’s weird behavior, feels pulled towards the man. And the more he learns about him the more he feels certain that there is something special there. But will finding out the whole truth make him more likely to fall for Simon, or will the lies and secrets that Simon can’t seem to keep hidden chase away his only chance at true love—and the only way he will ever be free from the mirror and the shop that he is bound to never leave while keeper of the mirror’s secret?
I was so happy to see that this book was coming out. Ever since I read the first book in this series, Choices, I have desperately wanted to know what happens to Simon. And finally, after waiting all these years I finally got to know.
For the most part I really liked this story. It has been a while since I have read the two previous books, but I still think this is the best written of the three. The story was really engaging, and I enjoyed the interactions between the two main characters quite a bit. I loved the whole idea that Simon was physically as well as mentally tied to the mirror and that he was unable to leave the shop. It really made Simon’s desire for see someone a lot more understandable. Most people want to find someone to love them, but the hold the mirror has on Simon is much more than just loneliness and want. He literally can’t leave. And while I can see that at the beginning of Simon’s relationship with the mirror that could have been a bit of a relief—to finally have a place to live and work that is not going to be snatched right back out of his hands—after years and years of it I think it would become its own form of subtle torture. It certainly didn’t help in the long run with his fears and mental issues. Just kinda delayed having to deal with them.
Alex was also very interesting. I found his job (basically he runs a type of undercover security company to catch shop lifters) rather cool. And I always love when I can read about the less talked-about professions in books. Personally Alex is a great fit for Simon. He showed off strength without becoming annoyingly pushy, which was nice, and while Simon might not have originally seen himself with someone like Alex, I kinda could.
I must admit at first that I was a little confused why Simon was so upset that he was not the one that saw his true love in the mirror. After all, it should go without saying that if Simon was Alex’s true love, then the reverse was also true. But I think that the book did eventually explain it.
He didn’t want to be the one who was seen as incapable or unworthy or needy. Was that how the mirror saw him? Would Alex see him that way, if Simon told him about the mirror?
He’d had something taken from him— that chance to know with unequivocal certainty that the man he was to love would unconditionally love him back.
I may not agree with Simon about his reasoning, but I did at least finally get why he was freaking out so badly. What he lost out on was the certainty, the absolute knowledge that Alex was destined for him. What he was left with was having to trust that Alex really saw what he saw, and as we learn in the book, trust does not come easy for Simon. What had originally been really confusing to me about all this actually became one of my favorite things about this book once Simon started to explain himself.
To be honest, this book should probably have a higher rating than it does. I really enjoyed it, and it is probably the best of the series. However…this one part of a conversation late in the book kinda pissed me off and cost the book almost a whole star.
“Do I really come across as that frigid? That’s twice you’ve indicted I might not like sex.” Simon meant it as a joke, but Alex seemed to take it very seriously.
Was this really necessary? Like, can we please stop equating not wanting to have sex with someone with some type of horrible deficiency as the person. If Simon didn’t want to have sex that wouldn’t in any way make him frigid. IT WOULD MAKE HIM SOMEONE WHO JUST DIDN’T WANNA HAVE SEX. Not wanting to engage in sexual activity for any and many reasons does not make you unfeeling or uncaring or a horrible person. The whole issue with Simon not wanting to have sex is a big part of this story, so I can see why the whole conversation came about, but really, was it absolutely necessary for the whole “of course I want to have sex with you, I’m not some frigid bitch” part to even happen? Would taking that part out make the conversation any less impactful in any way? I don’t think so. And all it did do was piss this one person off. So…yeah.
That aside…I still liked it, and do recommend it. I don’t think you need to read the other books in the series either. You might get a bit more about how the mirror impacts its viewers from reading them, but on the whole this was a pretty self-contained story. Don’t know if we are going to get a book four, but that ending has me really wanting to know what happens with Brody.
And, dammit, its like the whole cycle has started all over again!