|Light and Shadow
Award winning architect Cody Andrews was in a relationship moving out of control. Although his partner loved the fast life in LA, Cody wanted to slow it down and try to enjoy life with his partner. After two years of fighting, Cody found that all he could do was leave the relationship to save his sanity and self respect. Moving out of LA seemed to be his best bet, so he bought an abandoned lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest and left his high powered life behind. Fixing up the lighthouse is enough to keep Cody’s mind occupied enough to forget everything he’d left behind, then he meets Nick Stanton.Light and Shadow by G.L. Roberts is a complicated romance between two men who connect and recognize each other as soul mates almost as soon as they meet. Roberts sells this connection as well as the growing physical attraction that develops as the romance progresses. The conflict comes in when the third party involved won't step aside and will do anything and goes to great lengths to stay in the picture.
Nick Stanton and his partner Ray leave Chicago for a relaxed vacation on the Oregon coast. For Nick, it’s a time to reconnect with his partner and mend their ailing relationship; for Ray, it’s a tiresome getaway with little-to-no excitement. While Nick tries to enjoy the coastal surroundings, Ray begs to go someplace with a hopping club or a circuit party. And then they meet Cody.
When they meet, Cody finds Nick and Ray to be a reminder of his own failed relationship. But Cody misses interacting with gay men, and finds Nick enjoyable and Ray to be tolerable. But the more time he spends with them, the more volatile Ray becomes. For Ray sees that Cody has everything Nick longs for, and everything Ray does not want. On a rain soaked and windswept highway a decision is made, and the lives of three men are tossed about like a tiny boat on an angry sea.
The title Light and Shadow is quite appropriate for this romance. The main characters are both artists-- Nick a well-known painter, Cody a well-known architect -- and Roberts references their combined talents throughout the story. She particularly highlights this novel's light and shadow theme when describing the restoration of the lighthouse where light comes to symbolize happiness and a hopeful future, and the storms that batter the coastline symbolize unhappiness and something a bit more sinister. All of the above is tied together by Roberts' characterization of Nick, Cody and Ray, particularly Cody who comes to symbolize the light and hope in Nick's future, as Ray plays the role of shadow.
Like it happened to Cody in his past, Nick is in a dysfunctional relationship with Ray. However, unlike Cody who chose to move away from a relationship that was dragging him into a pit of depression, Nick seems unable to walk away from manipulative Ray. Nick allows Ray to dictate how he lives and slowly all the life and light is being sucked out of him. Ray is manipulative, yes, but there is something else there. . . and I wondered while I read the story how long Nick would have waited to end the relationship, or do right by Ray, if he had not met Cody and fallen in love again. I believe Nick would have drowned in the shadows with Ray.
Roberts' romance is moody and atmospheric with a descriptive narrative that is quite beautiful at times. I specifically love her rendering of the Oregon Coast, the small town with its wonderful residents and her depiction of the lighthouse. As a reader, I was transported to the place. The story is narrated mostly from Cody's perspective, and while there is dialog, narrative prevails. For the most part this narrative works well, however I sorely missed dialog during key emotional moments when connections needed to be made with the characters whose points of view the reader doesn't often experience intimately -- as in Nick and Ray. As a result it was tough connecting with these characters, particularly Nick who is one of the protagonists.
Having said that, as a whole I found Light and Shadow to be an interesting romance that presented a bit more than the usual conflicts, a good long-term resolution that worked well for all concerned, and a beautifully moody and rich atmosphere that captured my attention.
Category: LGBT/Gay Romance
Publisher/Release Date: Seventh Window Publications/November 2012
Visit G.L. Roberts here.