Reflections of Love
Is your heart yearning for Valentine’s Day, the only day of the year exclusively devoted to love? Mark the occasion with this special anthology of heart-warming tales that will convince you Cupid is alive and well. The stories in this collection reflect love in all its guises – from established couples to first encounters, from chocolates and roses to more untraditional wooing. Romance is the common denominator that brings the men in each story together. Make Valentine’s Day even more special with Reflections of Love!
This anthology from Dreamspinner Press, hosting numerous Dreamspinner authors, is a bit of an uneven book. Each story has romance at the core, with love culminating on Valentine’s Day. To be honest, most of the stories were so-so. At least three of them, according to the Goodreads page, feature characters who have appeared in other novels — so, having not read the novels, I was introduced to these characters with very little backstory. It’s hard to appreciate a character when you don’t know much about them. I’m sure these stories were greatly enjoyed by people who have read the accompanying novels, but I had difficulty getting in to them.
The writing, as well, was uneven. In this anthology, and really, in a LOT of gay romance books that I’ve read, there are consistent problems with wandering POV (point of view). We are very clearly in a certain character’s POV at the start of the scene and then it switches halfway through to a different character. It’s really quite jarring. However, about half the stories in this anthology had very minor violations, or none at all. There really is a mix of weaker stories and weaker writing with excellent stories with excellent writing.
Of particular note are the following three stories:
- Don’t Shoot the Messenger by Sean Kennedy
- Under Protest by GS Wiley
- The Wild Side by Janey Chapel
Kennedy has a superb handle on dialogue and somewhat quirky characters. He has never failed me in one of his novels and he certainly doesn’t fail me here. Don’t Shoot the Messenger was a fun, addictive read. His writing of when the two characters first meet is very vivid and I had no trouble picturing it in my mind.
Under Protest was a heartwarming tale of what could have been — with the opportunity of latching on to those coulda-wouldas once more. It was an enjoyable and captivating read.
The Wild Side was one of my favourites just simply for the characters. Ryan and Nick make a delightful combination.
So, yeah, mixed bag, but there are some standout stories in here.