The best laid plans

Generally speaking I’m a go with the flow person, but when I make firm plans I like to stick with them. I also think that I’m lucky and privileged personally and professionally, but sometimes when things veer away from plan my spoilt brat side surfaces, while recognizing the ‘when life throws you lemons’ analogy I don’t think that it hurts to unleash the inner child, sometimes.

Last weekend was one of those occasions. The lovely Adrienne from Scuttlebutt reviews had stumped up for a ticket to the UK meet, and I was going to meet some of the gorgeous people I have been interacting with for the last six months. Disaster struck on Thursday afternoon, a project we’ve been working on reached critical mass and we had to get a proposal ready for Monday morning. Cue tantrum, and lots of whiny tweeting/ texting and emailing as my planned weekend was cancelled,  I was not alone in not attending, and during a rather pathetic tweet bleat (from me) about the lack of fairness, the conversation turned to books.

I asked the author I was talking to recommend one of her books, which she did, and I bought it (first book I’ve bought in the last 3 months to boot) Over the course of the weekend when I wasn’t working I was reading, with a brief foray to the pub.

The author was S.A Meade, and the book Stolen Summer. I honestly didn’t have any expectations, we had chatted on social media, and she seemed nice, so I ploughed straight in.

Stolen Summer is a delightful book. Evan and Colin are best friends, met at Uni, Evan a journalist and Colin an English professor meet up after Evan’s return from Afghanistan, prior to him going to Pakistan. While their professional lives are on the up, personally they limp from one lacklustre relationship to the next. Evan doesn’t really know why, but feels he’s missing something, Colin knows what he’s missing. One night Colin finally comes clean, he’s in love with Evan and has been for some time.

At this point, despite the beautiful lyrical prose, this could have been standard friend to lovers/ gay for you romance, but it so wasn’t. Evan goes to Pakistan, but rather than coming home after three weeks, he’s taken hostage. While in captivity Evan’s feelings for Colin are crystallised. The writing in this section of the book, revealing how Evan feels about the separation, his realisation that he might die was so touching, emotional and honest that I cried.

Stolen Summer is written from Evan’s perspective, and you really get to ‘feel’ his emotions, and yet at no stage was it one sided, Colin’s character came across just as intently. Evan’s journalism is crucial to the plot, his kidnap, captivity and the investigation into events in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jordan is fascinating.

I enjoyed this book so much; I was torn between reading it greedily like I’d been deprived, and savouring the delicious prose so I ended up doing both, gulping and re reading.

On Sunday afternoon, after returning from work and a quick whisk to the pub by my husband I sat outside. My family happily engaged without me, but close to hand I sat in my old (un restored) rocking chair, the afternoon sun warm and mellow and finished Stolen Summer. A peaceful perfect moment.

I can’t praise SA Meade or the book enough, if you haven’t read it you should.

When I read something that affects me I have a mental playlist, and this was no exception. Having been to see Hozier the week before his music was fresh in my mind, and this song, especially with the visual seems such a perfect match.


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