Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Before I even start reviewing the book, I have to say how much I love the cover. It is beautiful and definitely went towards me wanting to read this story.

The story inside the beautiful cover was pretty darn good, too! The fact that the MC's were both older, with their own responsibilities was great. I appreciated the lack of angst in them admitting their feelings for each other. It wasn't a completely easy ride, but they were honest with themselves and lacked the drama that younger relationships seem to thrive on in literature. It was a refreshing change.

In fact, I have to admit to loving both Aaron and Larx. They worked really well together and were the kind of couple that I wish were real, that I wish I knew. The book was written with an underlying message of inclusiveness and acceptance of oneself. It was written with the understanding that this is not always easy, or possible, but that self-acceptance is where the journey starts.

At times I was quite frightened by the truth of people's hate, especially how that hate can ripple out and affect many people in different ways. It scared me because this is a reality for far too many people still, even in this (so called) enlightened age. The murder storyline that gave the book its mystery element just served to highlight how far hate can reach and how many it can affect. It also showed the opposite of this though and how love and understanding can reach out and affect more people than one may realise.

I have to admit - sometimes I find Amy Lane's writing confusing. I'm not sure if it is because of cultural differences and references I don't always get at first, but oft times I have to stop and re-read a sentence to make sense of it. I don't think this is a reflection on the writing though, more a reflection on how different my life is from the author's. I always get a feeling of small town America from Lane's books, a place I've never been, but I like that I feel that I'm there when I read them. Part of what I love about reading is the escapism into the lives of others.

A great book that I enjoyed and am glad I read.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information see Goodreads

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