The 1Night Stand series continues to entertain with its decadent tales of unexpected romance. I'm excited to introduce you to the latest addition to the long-running series, Elysium by Thea Landen. Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this story of grief and moving on, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more by visiting the other sites hosting this tour. In celebration of Ms. Landen being here today make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $10 bookstore GC too!
Two years have passed since April Patterson’s husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, and she’s trapped in a haze of grief and uncertainty. Having grown frustrated by all other efforts to engage her in activities where she could meet new people, her cousin pays for a date via 1Night Stand. Not thrilled with the idea, April nevertheless contacts Madame Eve and requests the impossible: a date with her deceased husband.
Brilliant software engineer Drew Monroe created his company, Elysium, to help give closure to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, through the use of virtual reality. Though passionate about his work, being constantly surrounded by heartache and death has taken a toll on his mental health. When he accepts the case of a young widow referred to him by Madame Eve, her tragic tale depresses him further, but he commits himself to programming April the romantic date she desires.
April arrives at Elysium and prepares to enter Drew’s virtual realm. Will she find the solace she seeks within? Or will she discover she doesn’t need a fantasy world to discover happiness again?
I tried to think back and pinpoint exactly what had attracted me to Kevin in the first place. He’d had a way of making me feel like the only person in the room, even when I thought there were plenty more fascinating people around. I’d never believed I was special, and he’d done a pretty good job of convincing me I had something to offer.
Since his death, I’d heard all the platitudes about moving on and how he’d want me to be happy. Deep down, I knew everyone from grief counselors to well-meaning acquaintances were right. Perspectives changed so much, though, I didn’t know how to find happiness anymore. How could I feel the way I used to? Should I feel that way? Everything was so different without him. I was different.
Blink, blink, blink went the cursor. Somehow, telling a complete stranger about what I found attractive in a potential partner led me to completely idealize what I’d once had, and pretend we’d never argued about him leaving dirty socks on the bathroom floor or how I didn’t want to go on vacation with his parents for the Fourth of July. He wasn’t perfect, and no marriage is either. Yet whatever flaws we had were our flaws, and I missed those, too.
Hidden desires. Forbidden fantasies. I needed to write the email that night or else I’d never get it done. My fingers flew across the keyboard in a show of defiance, an act of desperation. Before I could stop, I issued a challenge.
I want a date with my husband.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
The 1Night Stand series has given me many hours of enjoyment and with Elysium it's also given me a unique and thought-provoking storyline. With its sentimental yet modern look at lost love and the process of recovery readers are pulled into the unexpected romance between a man and woman both hiding from life. Along with their pleasant romance there's lots of personal growth that gets them ready for love and to live once again.
April has been hiding away since the murder of her husband with only her friend Janie to keep her from drowning completely. She's always had self-esteem issues and it was only through her husband's eyes that she felt capable of anything. With him gone she's reverted back to feelings of inferiority and is content with her menial job letting the future pass her by. Janie's introducing her to the 1Night Stand service sets her on an unexpected journey towards change, acceptance, and ultimately fulfillment. I liked April from the start and her grief was understandable at first, but after two years her sadness became frustrating. Her self-esteem issues were also a bit frustrating and I was desperate to see her gain strength through whatever means necessary, even a one-night stand. Meeting the geeky Drew brought out a vixen side to her that was refreshing and was the catalyst to her transformation which took her one step closer to HEA.
Drew had been hiding from life too but for vastly different reasons. He's a kindhearted soul who wanted to help people deal with their grief. His talents with virtual reality gave people closure but their grief piled darkness onto his soul with his profound sadness palpable. His work consumed him to where he was becoming lost and I ached for him. He fell in love with April through learning her history and seeing the love she had for her husband and he slowly became jealous of a dead man. Drew's meeting April was sweet with his awkwardness very apparent but luckily she chose that moment to take charge of her life with the results both steamy and life-altering for both of them.
This was a quick read that was sentimental and brought a tear to my eye in its dealings with April and her dead husband. The emotions their love story engender were real and powerful and I wish as much time had been spent on her and Andrew's relationship. A large part of the story dealt with April's grief and why she fell in love with her dead husband. Her and Drew's encounter was very steamy, immensely satisfying, and life-altering but I didn't feel the impact of their emotional connection near as much. The ending too reinforced these feelings. The characters on their own were both likable with emotions that were easy to relate to and I was left rooting for them every step of the way. The flow of this story was nicely done too with the virtual reality scenes seamlessly incorporated. Overall Ms. Landen crafted a good installment to the series that gave me a little afternoon delight and I recommend this series to readers looking for a bit of escapism.
My rating for this is a B-/C+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction, fantasy, and adventure and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.
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