By Kelly Wyre.
I found this book pretty randomly--oddly enough while looking for information while writing the review for The Stupidest Angel. It appears to be pretty obscure, which is a shame because I thought it was VERY well written, impressively. I'm thinking this author needs a bigger following. I admit that it's a very similar plot to The Eternal Ones at the start, but then again, I really like reincarnation romance plots. And I enjoyed the hell out of reading this one.
In this book, 39-year-old* famous actor Theo Monk is in tiptop health--and he's constantly having panic attacks, pounding the Xanax, hitting the ER so often that he should earn frequent flier miles, and feeling generally goddamned miserable and going out of his mind for reasons he can't even explain. Though his shitty family and super-shitty sorta-girlfriend Brooke (who he can't stand, but seems to be having a hard time 100% breaking it off with--then again, this chick does not take no for an answer) pretty much running his life and mowing over his desires doesn't help either. Sounds like typical angsty movie star drama, but in this case there's more to it that poor Theo isn't aware of. Anyway, after his latest hospital discharge, Theo throws all caution to the winds and on a whim, picks a remote location with an amusingly ironic name to escape the nags in his life--Nags Head. He flies cross country with nothing much beyond his wallet and randomly lands in North Carolina without being really able to explain why he's there. He's weirdly attracted to a store he drives by, called The Silver Fox, and eventually gets up the nerve to go in.
* I admit I was surprised to hear that Theo was so old, somehow--I guess I was expecting some callow hottie in his 20's. But I like that the characters are more mature--I think Hydee herself is about 30 at the time as well.
Hyacinth Silver Fox--yeah, she is born of hippies and is a hippie herself, but you'll get used to the name--is living in Nags Head, where she runs a funky store and psychic/life consulting business along with her two best friends. Lynne is a psychic who works in the present tense and has "the luck," or the ability to twist luck for the better at times. Adir is a young and very enthusiastic Native American who works with them at life counseling. Both of them are aware of Hydee's huge problem: she remembers and dreams of her past lives, and she's been involved with the same soul over and over again. She recognizes him (or occasionally her) in the eyes--and in this life, he's Theo Monk. Which on the one hand makes it easier to ID the dude when he lives across the country from you, but on the other hand has made it nigh impossible to meet him. Unlike what annoyed me in The Eternal Ones, it's explained that yes, Hydee has tried to meet him--she wrote him a fan letter as a kid (unbeknownst to her, Theo has saved it all these years!), and thanks to Lynne twisting her luck a bit, she's actually briefly met Theo and been in his vicinity a few times. With NO LUCK, or at least he never recognized her in the same way that she recognized him. Short of giving up her life and moving to his vicinity, what's a girl to do--especially when he didn't clue in previously?
It's a usual trait of his from life to life--she remembers, he doesn't, and he has always had issues believing in spiritual/hippie stuff compared to her. At this point in time everyone just thinks she has a whopping crush on the dude like any other girl--and Hydee's about hit her limit on trying to figure out how to solve this problem of finally meeting and interacting with him. And it's even more worrying that he seems to be going downhill as far as she can tell, but what can she do about it? He's too famous, she just can't get there, it's not going to happen in this life, dammit. Maybe it's time to go on depression meds so she can drug herself out of those memories--not to mention hiding her Theo posters/movies/general stash and putting up a "NO THEO MONK ALLOWED" sign up at work.
So naturally, when Theo walks into the store and sees it, he's all "What did I do?" Lynne is the practical cynic of the group of friends, and she thinks it's best that Hydee move on, and she's kinda angry when Theo finally shows up. But Adir is a fervent romantic and he's totally excited that Theo has finally arrived, and tells him to go find Hydee--hey, she can give him life counseling!--who's out shopping at the Food Lion.
And they meet. And it is good. And Theo would like some kind of spiritual counseling is Hydee up for it? Sure, come over for dinner tonight! And Hydee's doing a private happy dance-- and uh, she needs to go hide some things around the house first. Ahem! Meanwhile, Adir is squealing and wanting all the details. And even though Hydee tries to proceed with slow caution... yeah,they hit it off in just the way she's hoping. And it's delightful. And people who enjoy reading sex scenes will.... definitely enjoy reading the juicy sex scenes. And even beyond that feeling of "YES!!!!!!" and "FINALLY!!!!!!!" going on, it's nice to see Theo detoxing from life and not even thinking to chug his Xanax and relaxing. Though Hydee does wonder how the hell to tell the poor guy why they seem so familiar to each other.
And then the real world kicks in and Brooke finds her man, and.... well, what do you do now? I'll skip to the spoiler space below the cut to talk about that, but I'll just say here that I was happy with how things resolved.
I enjoyed the hell out of this. When you think about it, the plot is rather simple, but the emotions make everything work. I liked everyone but Brooke (for obvious reasons!), and outside of the romance, I really enjoyed Adir and a lot of his lines. I would deeply enjoy having a friend like him. Hey, while I'm at it, let's do an Infamous Quote Corner just on Adir's lines:
Infamous Quote Corner, Adir Version:
- “Faith in the impossible dreams of others is the only thing that allows us to hope for ourselves.”
- “He met her, he needs her, he's madly in love, and now he's coming over for homemade brownies and a handjob.”
- “You white people, always talking a good spirit game but soiling yourselves when fate actually shows up to the party.”
- “I don't know if you had to get to the breaking point for the spirits to take notice and send you Theo or what, exactly, but the stars aligned at long last. The lovers are united.”
- “Well, what's a good love story without a wee bit of obsession?”
- Lynne: “I am not freaked out!”
Adir: “Right. Uh-huh. That's rational and sane froth around your mouth then, huh?”
- “I just hope she remembers I’m a kind and loving pimp who needs his cut."
- “I don’t give my name to forces of evil.”
I'm going to give this book 4.5 stars--it's a tiny bit small of a story to give the full epic five, but enjoyment-wise it was pretty close for me and I think it's going to be a longtime favorite in my heart. It was lovely and made me wish I could do this sort of thing myself. Oh yeah, and there's a deleted scene here: