Review: Blood Relations by Zev de Valera

Six years into a 'together but separate' relationship, Simon Melville is engaged to be married. Almost. While Simon's lover is making wedding plans, Simon has yet to say 'yes'.

Following the death of his father -- a man who cut himself off from his family at the age of seventeen -- Simon is stunned when he receives a letter informing him that he is now heir to the Melville fortune and the historic southern estate known as Melville Hall.

Intent on liquidating his assets and returning to civilization as soon as the ink is dry on the paper; Simon finds his plans altered when he discovers clues to his family's past and his own secrets -- long buried -- begin to haunt him.

Can Simon resign himself to marriage? Or will he rise to the challenge of a new relationship with his handsome cousin and risk the consequences of the Melville family curse?

I couldn’t put Blood Relations down once I started and it’s what happens every time I read something by this author. His writing just flows beautifully and his characters are so perfectly flawed and appealing at the same time I can’t help but get caught up in their lives. I do love me a nice fluffy feel good romance as much as the next person, but reading a story with “real” characters who aren’t perfect and don’t fit into any stereotypes is so refreshing and I can’t recommend it enough.

I’m not going to ramble about the story specifics because this is the kind of tale you need to discover on your own as you read. The fewer preconceived notions you have the better. I’m just going to talk about all the love I felt for the smartly written words and the people the author introduced me to. 

Blood Relations is a southern lightly-gothic story about family, love and trust. The really appealing aspect of the story is the multi-dimensional treatment of each theme. It’s about family both by blood and chosen, love in all forms and trust on every level. It’s not a ghost story, but the historical home and the artifacts left behind by Simon’s ancestors are characters themselves. Simon changed and grew as he discovered his family’s secrets (and who doesn’t love to uncover someone else’s drama?). As the secrets came to light both in the present and the past I was glued to my Kindle waiting for every new little nugget. I wanted to know everything and the author doles out the knowledge in a deliciously paced way.

Simon is a great character. Did I love everything he did? Nope. But you know what? Neither did he. So I could sympathize with him even when I didn’t agree with his actions. I loved Simon’s journey very much though. I felt like I was there with a good friend going through some big changes in his life. Simon is a grown ass man chronologically, but he’s not a man in control of his own destiny and until he gets the summons to “come home” he’s good with floating along, not making waves, letting life happen to him. The change is a real butt kicker though and he gets a taste of what life and love can be when you learn to trust yourself and others fully. It’s not easy for him, but the changes that come with going to the estate are cathartic for him.

Blood Relations has romance, most definitely, but it’s not a one note love story and the romance is not necessarily center stage throughout. It’s more realistic than that. Simon has a lot going on in his life and to think he’d just be concerned with his love interest wouldn’t ring true for the characters or the pace of the story. The romance is also not easily resolved or overly dramatic, the author truly kept the pace perfectly balanced for every aspect.

The overall atmosphere of the story is very romantic and I felt it as soon as Simon pulled up to the estate for the first time. Simon is the main character but the tale would be for naught without the supporting cast. They were just as memorable and had just as much depth as Simon did. Every conversation enlightened the reader to a little more information and I wanted to know everyone’s history and how they all tied together from generation to generation. It was honestly just so interesting and the kind of thing I eat up with a spoon.

Simon’s journey was a truly lovely ride and the only thing I want is an epilogue. Not because it needs one, the way it ends fits with the rest of the book. I just want one because I want to read it.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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