Review: For Real

Review: For RealFor Real (Spires, #3) by Alexis Hall
Series: Spires #3
Published by Alexis Hall on July 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 442

FINAL DECISION: Deeply emotional, this book feels like being trapped in the minds of these two characters. How they fall in love and navigate their relationship kept me enthralled throughout, even though I’m generally less interested in erotic romance, where the relationship is developed through sex. This book is definitely an exception.

THE STORY: Laurence Dalziel is emotionally worn out. The man he loved left him six years ago, and he hasn’t found a relationship that can replace his need for BDSM submission and be emotionally fulfilling. At age 37 doesn’t have any optimism about the future when he meets Toby Finch, who is 19 years old and looking to mature into his need to be a dominant in the BDSM scene. Laurie and Toby connect almost immediately, although Laurie feels the weight of his age and Toby’s youth, freshness, vulnerability, and optimism. Laurie might reluctantly accept the sexual pull between them but refuses to allow it to mean anything more.

OPINION: This book reads like a literary story. Although definitely within the romance genre, it just feels different. I thought about the story of these two characters long after finishing this book.

I tend not to be a big fan of erotic romances. I’m not as interested in the extended sexual exploits that are essential to that sub-genre as I prefer my characters to interact in other ways. Thus, I was prepared not to like this book. Admittedly, I drifted at times during the erotic scenes, but I found that this book is deeply emotional in ways I didn’t expect. I would say that despite those scenes, I really loved this book.

Laurence and Toby both travel so much in this story. The book begins with the older, worn-out man who has lost much on his life’s journey. He no longer even hopes for something more. The younger man yearns to define himself and discover his future. But the book does not maintain these stereotypes. The reader learns that each of these characters is complex and has emotional needs that the other can help assuage.

The book defies the expected. Again and again, the story turns in directions that I didn’t expect. Deeply romantic and a book that centers the connection between these two characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: The only thing that made me uncomfortable about this book is that Toby is 19. I would have found even a 20-year-old less jarring, but perhaps the uncomfortable feeling is precisely what the author intended.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FOR REAL is the third book in the Spires series. It is not necessary to read those books before this one, however. The books are connected thematically but are not otherwise related.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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