Guest Review: What Can Be (audiobook) by Mary Calmes

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he's again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love - from his family, from Craig, and from himself - for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.

A novella from the Dreamspinner Press 2011 Advent Calendar package I'll Be Home for Christmas

Listening Length: 2 hours and 29 minutes
Narrator: Robert Nieman

Guest Reviewer: Fantasy Living

This story was great…. The end.

But really, this story worked well for a short. Taking up a few hours at work and making it not so boring. The narrator worked well, giving Jacob/Eli a nice husky inner voice that created quiet reflection rather than chaos and drama.

This was a dramatic story. It was touching and intense, and emotionally draining. I worried for Jacob. I wondered what his damage was, and why he found it so difficult to trust, open up, and not flee from those who loved him.

The story unfolded slowly, with little pieces throughout that you had to really pay attention to before the big reveal. I had to suspend disbelief a few times because it didn’t quite add up.

I thought Craig was perfect for Jacob. I’m glad he didn’t accept Jacob’s brush off. It did make me wonder why, with someone so supportive, solid, and reliable, Jacob would take off in the first place, but given his issues, I guess it is plausible.

I wasn’t really a fan of the ending. Others may enjoy it, but it was a little too weird for me.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the step-mother (not in a she’s evil way, truly). When you see that someone is that damaged, and you have never met them until this point, you don’t force yourself into a situation that would cause that person to curl in on himself more, no matter how good and supportive you may think you’re being. But that’s just me. I’m not into being in everybody's business. If someone wants to tell me something they can, but I would never push, or try to instigate myself in a conversation that I have not been invited to.

The loving was sweet, and sexy. Jacob and Craig make a lovely couple, with hot dynamics in the bedroom. I’m glad for the HFN ending.

Dreamspinner Press

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