Book Review – Reclaiming Love by V.L. McElfresh

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance / Suspense
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60088-293-7

About the book:

“Kevin Stohler survived a violent and abusive relationship but escaped with a damaged psyche. Connor McCann walks into his life like a living dream. Kevin can’t believe Connor is interested, but he agrees to a date. Connor proves to be patient, kind and truly interested.

Before they can enjoy life together, something has to be done about Kevin’s ex, Josh Harding. Josh has stalked Kevin for three years, and the stalking escalates as Kevin’s feelings for Connor grow. Kevin fears that loving Connor might kill him. It’s a risk he’s willing to take to reclaim a chance at love.”

MY REVIEW:

Talk about a walking basketful case of issues – Kevin Stohler has trust-, self-confidence-, body-self-image-, sex etc etc issues a-plenty. And those are just the invisible scars, because he does have plenty of physical scars too. And they’re all traced back to a violent BDSM relationship with an ex-boyfriend from which he barely escaped with his life. And who secretly still continues to stalk and harass him. Therefore, when seemingly too-good-to-be true Connor McCann appears in his life, Kevin can barely even try to strike up a relationship. But he really really want to, and somehow finds the courage to do so.

I think that V.L. McElfresh does a pretty good job illustrating the character of a much-damaged abused shell-of-a-man in Kevin, who nonetheless, with the love and help of his close circle of friends and most importantly, Connor’s love, tries to heal himself and accept a love that he richly deserves.

Connor is a bit more of a stretch to me – it takes a bit of suspension of disbelief to believe in a character so consistently loving, accepting, unselfish and pretty much perfect through and through. I mean, he doggedly pursues Kevin inspite of all the red flags Kevin puts up, even as he questions why he is doing it. And I have never seen a man so patiently wait and take things very very slow in a relationship (especially in this genre, where people can pretty much hit the sack by the second chapter), as he builds trust in Kevin and helps him deal with his issues. We all need boyfriends like Connor.

I’m also a bit conflicted at how, in the end, Kevin musters up the courage to face his demon (the ex) – I thought it was a pretty stupid & dangerous move, but one that he felt he needed to do to move forward – and yes, he almost dies again, but this time, he recovers not as a broken man, but one who is ready to put his past behind him and live again. It’s a bit of a really big gamble he took with his life.

For those who are worried about the BDSM aspect – I don’t really read BDSM novels myself as I don’t see the appeal, and that subject is actually treated with kid gloves in the story and is more of in the past – it is pointed out that the type of BDSM practiced by Kevin’s ex is not the norm – and that what he suffered was more of real abuse.

Other reviews of Reclaiming Love by V.L. McElfresh are found at Rainbow Reviews and Dee Carney.

Check out Reclaiming Love and help support V.L. McElfresh.

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~ by RandomizeME on July 29, 2009.

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