Thursday, 16 July 2015

Book Review: Late Summer, Early Spring by Patricia Correll


Late Summer, Early Spring
by Patricia Correll
Dreamspinner Press
M/M Historical Fantasy/
Japan/Folktales/Supernatural
5 Stars
Review Copy from Netgalley

Blurb:

Hour of the Lotus

General Sho Iwata is devastated when the man he secretly loves, Prince Narita, is struck with a mysterious illness. Iwata's current lover, Hiroshi, is well aware of the general's unrequited passion. But that isn’t his biggest problem. His sister is Narita’s favourite consort, but Hiroshi believes she has been replaced by an imposter. When they discover the true cause of the illness, they will have to battle an ancient spirit and survive.

Fox Hunter

Lord General Iwata Sho sets out in search of the mysterious Fox Hunter. When he finds his former lover, Hiroshi, he discovers a changed man, scarred inside and out and consumed by vengeance. Together with Narita’s grown son Daigo, Iwata and Hiroshi pursue the malicious spirit as it leaves bloodshed in its wake. Iwata worries about what will become of Hiroshi when the fox is defeated—if Hiroshi’s revenge doesn’t kill him first.


Review:

I have to admit that I was drawn to this book by the beautiful cover of two Japanese samurai warriors, but it was the writing and the characters that made me stay drawn.

This book combines the two novellas Hour of the Lotus and Fox Hunter, but both go well together and could also stand on their own.

General Iwata has been in love with his Prince, Narita, but he also knows it will be forever unrequited, for Prince Narita loves only women. It's not overtly stated whether or not the prince knows about Iwata's love for him or not, but I think he probably does.

The prince is suffering from an unknown illness, something seems to be draining his life force and everyone in the palace is worried; from the wives and concubines to the soldiers in the Imperial army.

The prince's favourite concubine is a sister of Hiroshi, Iwata's current lover, which complicates matters somewhat. When Hiroshi insists that the woman purporting to be his sister is an imposter, Iwata believes him at once, for Hiroshi is not given to idle fancy.

The culprit is a kitsune - a fox shape-changer who has taken on the guise of the concubine in order to kill the prince.

The second book takes place eight years later, with Hiroshi having been gone those eight years trying to hunt down the fox and seek revenge.

I enjoy books that take you on a journey to undiscovered places and legends, and Late Summer, Early Spring, certainly does that. With vivid, lush descriptions, you can see, smell and hear everything the characters do. I also loved the names, such as the Nightingale Court for the wives and concubines. It conjured up something strange and exotic.

Hiroshi and Iwata are both troubled characters and you really feel for them. The love scenes are fade to black, but there is no doubt that the two of them are lovers and not just friends. Parts were bittersweet, but it was a wonderful story to get lost in for a few hours.

Perfect for fans of historical fantasy or paranormal stories.


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