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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lost Treasure by Kate Sherwood

Lost Treasure by Kate Sherwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (197 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

When Kyle Champlain’s grandmother, Molly, passes away, he returns to Wetlake, Canada, to settle her estate. Kyle spent his summers in Wetlake as a child, and now he has the chance to renew his acquaintance with some old friends, including Ryan Summers, before going home to Chicago. But when Kyle tries to pressure Ryan into a business decision, their renewed friendship—and any possible attraction--is almost immediately on the rocks.

As Kyle begins to deliver the personalized bequests from Molly’s will, he meets an odd assortment of people from all walks of life and realizes he has a lot to learn about living and love. But he’ll have to fight his parents, suspicious beneficiaries, and Ryan’s fears if he plans to stay in Wetlake.

Lost Treasure has a bittersweet feel to it, perhaps leaning more towards the bitter. Kyle is no more responsible for how inept adults handled his sexual epiphany and how that mishandling shaped his personality than any other youngster. But he is responsible for how he behaves as an adult. While the reader can certainly sympathize with the pain of his past, it does take a bit to warm up to him. His obsession with his appearance and his inability to see beyond the superficial might be off-putting to some readers. His journey is both backward, through memory and his grandmother’s history, and forward, as he comes to some hard realizations about himself. This is a single POV story, so it truly is Kyle/Casey’s journey, seen exclusively through his eyes. Some romance readers expect to see both halves of the equation, but in this case, where self-discovery is the goal, it keeps the story more focused.

The writing is, for the most part, solid. Ms. Sherwood does have a tendency toward sentences made too long by splicing together too many conjunctions, but the descriptive passages were well painted. The reader does get a good feel for this small lake town, both geographically and socially. So much of Kyle’s journey is gently reeled out for the reader, the birdhouses, the clocks, the bowl, the reader truly feels a part of the reconnection. It might have been better if the gentle subtlety had been retained throughout, but the author chooses at the end of Kyle’s “scavenger hunt” to explain everything to the reader, which felt clunky and heavy handed. It does seem, as well, that the small town folks, with the exception of the prostitute and her pimp, are all more polite, better centered, better people than city folk, which also felt a bit like being clubbed over the head at times.

Taken as a whole, though, this is a heartwarming story told with loving detail. Kyle’s inner struggles become the reader’s own and reminds us to examine carefully where our priorities lie and why we are sometimes caught up in the wrong ones.

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