Title: Dormant Heart
Author Name & Publisher: Lane Swift (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 10, 2016 – 154 pgs
Amateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.
Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.
Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.
This was such a sweet story. It was about growing up, accepting yourself, accepting your surroundings, love and accepting what you cannot change.
Josh is a great character. Despite being down on his luck, he is given an opportunity to finish a final job for his boss and there, he finds a friendship that runs deep – so deep that it becomes much more than friendship. I really liked that even though Josh was having a difficult time in life, he was able to see the beauty all around him as well. When he meets Callum, at first, Josh is transfixed with Callum’s beauty and majestic nature.
Callum is a sweet, gentle soul who is somewhat tied to the land he lives off of. He has his pride, love of nature and love of life. When he meets Josh, there is a spark of attraction, but with him being nonverbal, he’s not sure how Josh will react. Despite being somewhat wary of how things will pan out with Josh, Callum forges on and through the love and support her receives from Josh and the secondary characters in this story, he’s able to discern a missing piece of his life – his accident that caused his muteness. Despite being thrown off when he realizes what caused him to climb the tree at such a young age, Josh is able to help him see that it was an accident, to find happiness with Josh.
The story is sweet, kind, with little heat, but a lot of friendship and love.
This gentle story is a sweet literary hug. We follow Josh, a young man full of thwarted ambition and desperate to belong somewhere, to someone, as he meets Callum, a mute young man inextricably tied to Hartley Manor and the country estate he grew up on.
There is little action in this story. Both young men need to grow up and must come to terms with past pain if they are to make a life for themselves as adults. A tiny drama is added through the failing fortunes of the Granger family, the aristocratic owners of Hartley Manor. But this is ultimately Downton Abbey gentle. Once Josh arrives at Hartley Manor, the story is timeless and the modern world doesn’t encroach on the gentle, seasonal life on the country estate.
The relationship between Callum and Josh is lovely. Josh’s obsession with Callum’s beauty quickly becomes friendship and then something more. Sweet and sometimes sexy, the relationship between Callum and Josh prompts both men to become better versions of themselves.
Lane Swift is a fiction writer, mainly of contemporary romance, sometimes featuring a mild dash of paranormal.
She lives by the sea in Hampshire, England, with her husband, two children and two guinea pigs, and can often be found at her beach hut, imbibing coffee and dreaming up happy-ever-afters for her heroes and heroines.
Over the years, she’s worked as a waitress, a lab technician, a science teacher and a telecommunications consultant. She’s also played women’s rugby, climbed one mountain and run one marathon, but has never managed to learn how to whistle.