Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical/Science Fiction
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Summary: In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
Holy fuck shit, TJ Klune can ma’ fuckin write! Fo’ sho’. It’ll be hard to write a review without spoilers, but I’ll do my absolute best. Because the unknown is such an important part of this story. We’re in it right alongside Mike the entire time. We know something is off, but we don’t know what.
This is an absolutely beautiful story with themes of nature vs nurture, and questions like ‘what really is reality?’ We are who we are, but we’re also changed so completely by the course of our life. By our experiences. Is that the person we truly are? Or is it the one underneath, the one at our core that is truly real? When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar.
The reveal happens very slowly, so be prepared for that. You can’t try to force it or it’ll slip through your fingers. Instead, enjoy the soft moments between Mike and Sean, and accept the bits and pieces of information that leak through along the way. I went through about a bajillion and three different theories about what was going on with Amorea, and each one was a little closer to the truth. But besides trying to figure out the truth, your also trying to figure out if you want to know the truth.
Beautiful and thought provoking, I guessed pretty closely what the twist was, but even I didn’t see that ending coming. Time. Reality. Life. Death. Love. Loss. Expect to have all your preconceived notions questioned.
The narration by Kirt Graves is splendid, as always. I can’t even think of any critiques for it, except to say that like with Wolfsong, I think the narration added to the already amazing story, and I would highly recommend listening to the audio version.
I don’t want it to be over. But alas, I have to trust in TJ. As with all stories, our characters go on, even without us there. So I’ll move on, probably to something light and fluffy. But I’ll know that somewhere out there there is that special just-for-him smile, and it’s all going to be okay. For however long we have.