This book did not do it for me. I liked the premise well enough, but the execution had me rolling my eyes over and over again. It just didn’t have any emotional resonance. The words were there; the author told me what the characters were supposed to be feeling… it just didn’t ring true.
The story centers on Samson, a wealthy young Welshman who lives a life of leisure and debauchery. He flits from woman to woman, enjoying them for the moment, before dumping them and moving on to the next conquest. Unfortunately for him, he broke the wrong girl’s heart, prompting her mother to curse him for his actions.
Now he spends 50 years at a time as a stone gargoyle, only becoming human again for a month at a time between bouts of immobility. He has tried everything he can think of to free himself from the curse: he can’t even kill himself. So he just uses that month to live life to the fullest. He gluts himself on women and booze… filling up until the next cycle begins. But when he wakes this time, things don’t go according to plan. He comes across a rabid dog attacking two women and he intervenes. One of those women is Willow, who becomes his love interest in the book.
When I first met Willow, I found her very unlikeable. She was prickly and borderline rude to Samson, from the moment he saved her life, on forward. Yet for some reason, he is taken with her. He sees her differently than he did all the women in his past and he finds himself wanting to treat her as a gentleman. Their relationship moves forward, they adopt the dog, and Samson discovers that his blood has the power to heal. The story follows their uber-fast love story, Samson’s evolution into a better man, and the unraveling of his curse.
So many things just didn’t work for me. WHY, all of a sudden, is Samson ready to love? After, like, three days with Willow? She is not only unremarkable, but not even pleasant. I found their love story saccharine sweet, full of big talk about waiting for things to be “right” and spouting on about true love. But it has only been a few days. It’s unrealistic and over the top. Yes, I know it’s PNR, but the emotional connection is supposed to be believable and it’s just not. Not only that, but I just don’t see an organic link between the gargoyle curse and an angel/ healing thing. It felt convenient –and frankly, a tenuous connection.
Neither of the characters struck a real chord with me. They are fairly one-dimensional and were even less impressive in the confines of their relationship. I had to force myself not to skim when they started waxing poetic about their grand love. It was… not for me.
*Book provided for judging in RONE awards