Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he’s tired of the empty life of groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. After the final concert of their latest tour, he flees the after-party in pursuit of memories of lost summers and carefree days, until he passes out on the patio of a shuttered lake resort.
Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family’s lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. When he discovers Adam asleep in a deck chair, he’s furious but intrigued. Adam soon charms his way into Miles’ bed, and they lose themselves in a summer idyll, safe from the compromises and claims of reality.
But Adam’s life, with all its demands, is waiting for him. And Miles, uncertain of Adam’s true feelings, is battling demons of his own. Somehow, the man who’s never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.
Another new author to add to my TBR list. I knew absolutely nothing about this book or author before I picked it up. What made me decide to read it? I noticed that a reader/author whose opinion I trust gave it a 5 Star rating and that’s all the reason I needed.
This was definitely a character driven story. Usually there is one character in the romance dynamic that I like more than the other. That didn’t happen in Illumination. Adam and Miles both drew me into the story.
Miles was such an interesting character. It wasn’t just that his back story was revealed so slowly. I loved his quirkiness and his awkwardness. I loved how vulnerable he was and the strength he had that he didn’t even realize. His wit and his artistic nature made him even more interesting. He was broken and barely functioning but there was just something about him that made me love him regardless. I totally understood why Adam was so drawn to him.
Adam was, in some ways, even more broken and crazed than Miles. He had a full life, but he wasn’t living. He went through the motions, but didn’t enjoy any of the things that he had that would make other people envious. He was the cliche rock star who wanted an escape and Miles was his salvation. Miles’ safe haven was Adam’s escape from a life he didn’t know how to truly get away from other than keeping himself numbed with drugs and alcohol.
This story could have easily turned into a tragedy… and it came close. Extremely close. Miles and Adam spent almost as much time apart as they did together. There were a lot of tears, a tremendous amount of healing, some really sweet moments and some really awful ones. There were characters that I hated and ones that I loved and some that I totally changed my opinion about by the end of the story. Yep, it was definitely character driven and I love those kind of stories.
Another thing that I love is when a book makes you want to know more. Even though the author did a great job of describing the art form that Miles used, I couldn’t help but try to find out more about illumination as I read the book. (I also did some research on African Grey parrots, but that was idle curiosity – Grace was a scene stealer that I had to learn more about ;)) Needless to say, this will not be my last Rowan Speedwell read. *sigh*
If you’d like to see what other readers thought about Illumination, check out the following reviews: