Author: Julia Bozza
Reviewed by: Lucy
Publisher: Manifold Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary
ISBN 13: 9781908312099
Summary: It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly.
However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found.
As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…
Review: How very lovely this softly flowing, sweet story is. It is extremely character driven (with the butterflies in question needing to be considered a character as well), with a setting that is at once beautiful and dangerous. It is written in such a way that it draws you in without you realizing, and I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting because I wanted to see what happened.
I completely adored Nicholas, youngest son of an English earl. He has a dream, to find the elusive butterfly. Even when he was being hard (butterfly jar), he made you care about him. He’s funny, unrepentantly out and not afraid to show his attraction, self-deprecating and really very forgiving. He’s a character I’d like to have tea with and just talk to, because I think he’d make me smile.
Dave is a little more complicated. He is organized to a fault, makes sure every contingency is thought of and provided for, and is in love with someone who doesn’t love him back that way. The one thing I didn’t like in this whole thing was that they whole of his and Denise’s story just isn’t really explained. They were together long? Were they a couple and she left him for Vittorio? We know they were a couple and slept together, and not so very long ago. It is known throughout the Outback area that Dave is a one-man woman, except that woman now belongs to someone else (and they say it was a year ago but Zoe is already a couple months old, so…) Denise doesn’t seem to be into Dave at all, except as a friend, so I really would have appreciated some insight into that. He still seems very connected to her. The meeting between Nicholas and Denise, loved it. I am not sure I like Denise much, to be honest, but she’s Dave’s friend.
Ms. Bozza doesn’t hit you over the head with things. They are tender, they are funny and sometimes they are subtle. When Dave does something brave and Nicholas thanks him, Dave responds. “Nnn”, he replied, quite coherently”. It’s just the thing you’d expect of Dave. Conversely, when Nicholas and Dave are discussing attraction, Nicholas is of the opinion that you are attracted to the person, not the gender, it’s just what I’d expect Nicholas to think.
It is mostly the story of Dave and Nicholas, getting to know each other and maybe falling in love. Obstacles, of course. Dave has never been with anyone but Denise. Nicholas has his own secret. Nicholas becomes his true self out in the Outback, and Dave becomes obsessed with the many smiles of Nicholas. We get to watch Dave the one-woman man stretch his wings as well.
This story is gentle, soothing after a tough work day or a very draining read. The ending is, yes, a little sugary, a little sappy and a whole lot of perfect. I want to meet Simon “treat him gently”, talk with Charlie, have dinner with the Earl and family (and wasn’t that an amazing scene, Nicholas, you are so loved). I want to wait a while and then read the story again and make myself feel good about life’s possibilities.