Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Ashes and Wine by Taryn Elliott

Ashes and Wine
Ashes and Wine by Taryn Elliott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The improvement from Taryn Elliott's debut, Uncross Your Heart and this book, released just a few short months later, was so stark that I actually DMed the author on Twitter to make sure she wouldn't be offended if I noted it in my review. She replied that she wrote them three years apart, so she truly hoped she'd improved in that time.

Yes, I am apt to rate this book more favorably because I know the author. But I think it's a good book apart from that, too. I read this only because I know Taryn. I liked it because it's great writing.

Ashes and Wine is about Royal Andreas and Tessa Winter, though it's more Royal's story. It's his dying father that keeps Royal from acting on the growing attraction he has for the redheaded bookstore owner he sees once a month. He gives in for one very passionate night, but Tessa, being a smart girl who goes after what she wants, doesn't leave it at that.

The second half of the book has its steamy moments, but it moves to the winery Royal's family runs, where the aforementioned father is spending his last days. The last part of the book is far more touching than titillating, as Tessa and Royal navigate the difficult question of whether a relationship based on support during hard times is worth pursuing in easier ones.

A lesser writer wouldn't have been up to balancing the horror of Royal's father's illness with tender moments between Tessa and Royal, but Taryn nails it. By the time the book wraps up, I had no doubt that these two could make it, and that they deserve to.

If you like romance, I would highly recommend you pick this up. You're missing out on an excellent new voice if you don't. And, if you don't like romance, consider picking it up, anyway. It's missing a lot of the tropes that probably keep you away, and it's a very touching story.

Though, if, in subsequent books, Tessa has nothing more interesting to do than a support role at the winery, I am going to have words with my friend. I understand why the question wasn't addressed in this book, but I am hoping to see glimpses of these two up the line.

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  1. Wow...what a freaking fantabulous review. I'm so glad you liked it.

    Heh. No--my girl doesn't give up her store. If Mercy get's her book you'll see my dear Tessa again. ;)

    1. Excellent. I certainly hope I get to read her story. Alaric is definitely intriguing. ;)