Anagama Fires by Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Short Story (90 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus
Lucien Durand and Colin Ferguson have lived and loved as partners in life and art for more than twenty years. But happily ever after is never easy. Over time, Lucien begins to resent how Colin's work overshadows his own art, and their relationship falls apart. Colin leaves with nothing but a backpack, and Lucien goes on alone, getting some counseling, developing a practice in raku pottery, and waiting for what would happen next. He never expects that Colin will send his nephew James to train as a potter. With James staying in Lucien's home, a door will open between the former lovers, firing their hearts.
Although fire can destroy, it can also rebuild. Lucien and Colin are successful artists and have been partners for twenty-five years. A horrible fight five years ago had Colin walking out without a word but neither man has let go. They can’t seem to find their way back to each other until Colin’s nephew comes to Lucien’s ranch and asks to be taught pottery. While helping the young man, Lucien decides to mend his relationship with Colin no matter what it takes. However when sparks fly, the resulting fire burns hot.
Anagama Fires is the story of long time lovers and partners that struggle to find a way to get back after a horrible fight. The story is very cagey with information though and it takes nearly half the novella to figure out what happened between the two lovers that has kept Colin in Thailand for five years. Unfortunately you never find out exactly what happened except that Lucien was desperately unhappy and took that out on Colin, who responded by simply leaving. After years of therapy Lucien is in a better place but angry with Colin for staying away so long and Colin plays his typical games from a far.
The two are the main relationship and they have a push and pull that may please some readers while turning others away. Colin is a strong personality, so much so that he dominates the book with his antics. He runs over anyone and everyone with little consideration or care, especially Lucien - and Lucien always forgives this behavior out of love. Lucien long ago decided that he’d rather be with Colin than not be, so he accepts Colin’s aggressive behavior. This puts Lucien as a much weaker personality, willing to bend over to make the relationship work and not likely to be a hit with all fans.
What works the best though is the incredible history and detail that goes into the raku pottery and the anagama fire. There is so much information afforded it may overwhelm most readers, but it’s clear the author knows the process intimately. Perhaps too much of that is included since it definitely becomes the main focus over the characters and side romance but it’s such an interesting hook that I can’t fault the story for it. The romance is touchy and prickly from a lot of angles but the pottery detail is intricate, complex, and thorough. This will definitely appeal to readers looking to learn about pottery with a dash of romance.