Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

Grade: B-
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: Moderate Kink
Genre: Historical, m/m, BDSM
Published: 8/19/14
Reviewed by Kate

This one is such a tightly woven story that I find it hard to write a summary of it without giving you the entire play-by-play.  But here goes : When Elijah was little, scarlet fever took his family, and his hearing.  Although he isn’t 100% deaf, most of the town thinks he’s an idiot.  Elijah knows that being deaf isn’t the only thing that makes him different from everybody else.  He’s also gay.  His first “relationship” is with Harlan Crane, the owner of the saloon.  But Elijah is also attracted to cowboy Grady Mullins and Grady’s interested as well.

Elijah is around 20, but is just starting to try and figure out who he is and what he wants.  Unfortunately most of what he wants conflicts with the way he was raised.  Lots of internal conflict for Elijah.  Lots.

His relationship with Crane is dirty and nasty.  It made me flinch whenever I had to read it.  Their relationship is about pain and humiliation and subjugation.  Even though Elijah discovers he needs the pain, there is nothing romantic about Crane and Elijah.

In Grady, Elijah finds something that he never knew existed.  Gentleness, caring, compassion.  And while part of him craves that from Grady, another part of him is terrified spitless at this new type of relationship.  Elijah’s relationship with Grady, which doesn’t start until half way through the book, is the only part of this book that would qualify as a romance.

This one felt more like a coming-of-age story, rather than a romance.  Outside of the relationships with Crane and Grady, Elijah goes on a heartbreaking journey of self discovery.  A journey which takes him through highs and low—although mainly lows.  The relationships with Crane and Grady are a definite, but minor, part of his journey

Lisa Henry has written a gritty, raw, page turning tale about a young, deaf, gay man on a self-discovery journey in 1870.  And while the relationships in this book were not my cup of tea, I would not hesitate to read another of her books.  In fact I hope to do so soon.

As a romance, this one disappointed me a bit.  As a novel, in general, I loved it.  What’s the last book that you read that didn’t hit the romance note right, but you enjoyed regardless?

One thought on “Sweetwater by Lisa Henry

  1. I just finished Divergent. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t think much of the romance. The romance wasn’t the primary focus, though, so I guess that was how it was supposed to be? It was good – very Hunger Games-ish, but it reminded me why I stay away from that genre: it was very dark.

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