Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Phoenix"

Review - "Phoenix" by C.R. Guiliano

Betrayal, love and redemption

Highly Recommended

Thirteen years ago, Thad's world imploded.  He finally told his best friend, Haydin, that he loved him.  For that, he got punched in the face and cursed out.  Called horrible names.  Then, when he got home, he made the mistake of telling his parents what happened.  And got thrown out for being gay.  He left his Kentucky home for California.

Now an investigative reporter, he is recovering from wounds suffered by a deranged rapist he managed to track down.  In constant pain, at least he can walk.  And now, his parents have died and he is called home to Kentucky to bury them and see to the estate.  Whatever that may be - he thought himself disinherited.

Upon his return home, he finds he is the owner of his father's company, which is now highly successful and worth millions.  The guardian of his teen sister.  And to his surprise, and dismay, he will have to deal with the CEO of company.  Who is none other than Haydin.

When he sees Haydin out in public kissing his lover, his very MALE lover, it is more than he can bear.  Almost breaks his heart.  But then, meeting with Haydin on business, the sparks reignite and the two share passion.  Because Haydin has never gotten over Thad.  And is committed to having him as his.

Will the two lovers reunite for good, or will Thad be unable to forgive Haydin for ruining his life thirteen years ago?  And will a tragic accident come between the couple?

C.R. Guiliano is a writer I have been following for a little while, and I have been excited to see grow and find her voice.  And in this wonderful and rich story, she has come into her own. 

This is a nicely understated, heartbreakingly simple study of how one man can rise above the circumstances that shaped his life and somehow, find room in his heart for forgiveness and love.  Ms. Guiliano's characters are richly drawn, believable and textured.

With a heavier hand this would be melodramatic and angsty.  But she has reined herself in and let the story tell itself.   And a wonderful story it is.  Love.  Betrayal.  Redemption.  Tragedy.

Well done.  I hope to see more from Ms. Guiliano.

Tom

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