Sometimes I think when I tell folks "I love romance" they don't really understand what I'm talking about. Romance is not sex. Romance is not marriage. For me, romance is love. True, everlasting, heroic love. It's also a moment in time, the touch of a hand, the scent of lilacs, a tiny bouquet of violets fit for a fairy queen...
Romance is about hope and courage and strength and loyalty. It's about simple acts of friendship. It's about forgiveness. It's about sacrifice.
Can a book have a heart and soul? Not just the characters, but a story? Yes, of course it can. Anyone who has clutched Harry Potter to her chest knows that truth. There are not many storytellers who can truly tap into that gift. You have to have the soul of a poet. You have to believe in the power of love.
And if you're a romance author, you need to believe in the HEA. Happy Ever After. It's not just a trite abbreviation. It's huge. It's the difference bewteen being cynical and bitter and hopeless and believing in happiness.
Let me just start this review by saying I don't read YA. In fact, I like much more mature characters, 40s and even 50s and beyond. But there are some things that defy age. Like friendship and courage and love. Goldfinch's story AIRE weaves fantasy and characters and setting and suspense into an extraordinary tale. Her writing is beautiful, the story is engaging, the suspense builds perfectly. But it's the romance woven into the story that brings it to sparkling life. And I realized, as I read this, that sometimes the most satisfying love stories don't need graphic sex. They just need longing and trust...and finally happy endings.
There is one thing I remember about The Language Of Souls --Goldfinch's first book that I read a long time ago. It's the kiss. The whole story leads up to one, perfect kiss. And it was filled with so much romance and love I was just amazed. This book has that same quality. I have never seen an author make a kiss so touching, and tender, and lovely, and perfectly satisfying. Like that little bouquet of violets. Sometimes our romantic moments don't need to be big or over-the-top or graphic. Small and simple and perfect are better.
After I finished this book I cried. For a long time. Goldfinch treats us to many happy endings in this story...for primary and secondary characters. I was charmed. I've never read a book that ensured ALL the characters were so well taken care of. It's my dream-come-true! Charming and adorable.
I am always on the look-out for something different and unique and special. This book surpassed all of my expectations. It is a gem that is so far my favorite read for 2013.
Blissfully, blissfully happy,