Friday, 20 September 2013

Book Review: Northern Light by E.J. Russell


Review Copy from Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher
Northern Light
by E.J. Russell
Engtangled Publishing (Ever After Collection)
M/M Paranormal/Contemporary Romance
Novella
4 Stars

Nothing gives art fraud investigator Luke Morganstern a bigger rush than busting forgers, the low-life criminals who dare victimize true artists. But when his latest job sends him to a remote cabin in the Oregon Coast Range, he’s stunned to discover the alleged forger is his former lover, Stefan Cobbe, the most gifted painter Luke has ever known.



Stefan, left homeless and destitute after the death of his wealthy partner, doesn’t exactly deny the forgery -- he claims he doesn’t remember, an excuse Luke can’t accept.

But Luke’s elderly client suggests Stefan may be telling the truth and presents another possibility – a dark presence in the woods, a supernatural fury simmering for decades. Luke must face down his fear of the uncanny – and admit his feelings for Stefan – if either of them is to survive.

Review:

A lovely little story with a bit of a ghost story along with the romance. It had been a while since I'd read the blurb, so I'd forgotten there was a paranormal element when I started reading the book but it flowed really well within the narrative, it didn't feel tacked on just to get something supernatural in there.

Although short on length, the book is not short on story or characterisation. The story is told through the eyes of Stefan and Luke, so those are the two characters we get to know the most. Luke is still suffering after an accident which left him with a broken hip and a lover who decided not to stick around after that.

Years earlier, Luke left Stefan after suffering one too many bouts of jealousy concerning Stefan's rich patron. At the time nothing had been going on between them, but after Luke left, Stefan runs into Marius' arms, but is left distraught when Marius dies in a plane crash. Marius' family want nothing to do with Stefan and he is left homeless and penniless.

As Luke investigates the allegations of art fraud, both of them realise that something else might be going on and they work together to try and figure it out. Both of them are damaged characters, both in a physical and emotional sense and you are rooting for the two of them to get their happily ever after.

It's a story of lost love, second chances and doing the right thing when you're not even sure what the right thing is. A very enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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