"a wonderful story on every level!"

Robert Harris is forty-something and has seen enough pain and suffering to last him a lifetime, the least of which is witnessing the death of his older lover to AIDS some twenty- four years previously and at the height of the epidemic. Robert never got over losing Keith, his first love and every young man he has taken as a lover since has been a poor substitute to ward off the grief and loneliness. Robert is also wealthy, compliments of a substantial inheritance from Keith, and along with this and his own na´ve, forgiving nature, makes him a target of the greedy and unscrupulous.

Enter Jess, a despondent young woman Robert encounters one cold Christmas night when he leaves his house for some air after his young lover-of-the-moment, Ethan, abandons him under the guise of visiting some family. Jess was recently dumped by her lover, Ramona, an older black woman who took most of her belongings after the split, leaving Jess with a near empty shell of an apartment that she can't afford to make monthly payments on. She left her house earlier in the evening with every intention of killing herself and it is on the rocky, frigid shores of Lake Michigan where Robert finds her and talks her out of ending it all.

From the beginning the two have a connection, just don't realize why that connection exists or why it is so strong. Only after Jess has dreams of a much younger Robert and Keith and visions of Keith in her own reflection do the pair begin to put two and two together and realize that Jess just may be the reincarnation of Robert's long-dead lover.

As the pair grow closer and closer, tentatively exploring the feelings between them and pondering the possibilities of a relationship between a gay forty-something and a lesbian twenty-something, a desperate and meth-addicted Ethan makes plans for his future in rehab if only Robert will foot the bill.

Orientation has all of the elements of a great, suspenseful romance: sympathetic and true-to-life characters, chemistry between the leads, and just enough intrigue to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. Reed does an excellent job of drawing the reader into all of his main characters' lives and, as in previous works, has an knack for eliciting compassion for and showing us the good in even his villainous characters. This reader particularly enjoyed Reed's trademark ability to imbue a palpable sense of place and time into the narrative, skillfully injecting verisimilitude through his descriptions of Chicago for a winning combination of escapism and realism.

I recommend this story for anyone who believes, or wants to believe in the power of love and redemption. This was a wonderful story on every level!

Reviewed by: Gracie C. McKeever, author

Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted July 13, 2008


Christmas, 1983: A young man, Robert, tends to his soul mate, Keith, who is dying from AIDS. Robert tries valiantly to make this a special Christmas for his lover, but loses the fight late Christmas night.

Christmas, 2007: Robert ventures out late Christmas night and finds a young girl about to fling herself into the unforgiving waters of Lake Michigan. He rescues her, and the two form a bond forged from an odd feeling they share of familiarity, and even love. Neither understands it, since Jess is a lesbian and Robert has never been attracted to women. But there's more...Jess begins having strange dreams, reliving key moments she couldn't know about in Keith and Robert's life and courtship. Robert and Jess begin to wonder if their inexplicable feelings might be rooted in something much more mystical than a savior/victim relationship.

As the two move toward and pull away from each other, Ethan, Robert's younger lover, plots the unthinkable. His crystal meth-addled mind becomes convinced there's only one way to save himself, and that is through Robert's destruction. Christmas 2007 spirals downward to a shattering climax in which both love and lives hang in the balance.

There's a murder attempt...salvation...redemption...

And a new love is born.

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by Rick R. Reed

Amber Quill Press
May 1, 2008
Available: May 10, 2008
ISBN #1602729379
EAN #9781602729377
192 pages
Trade Size
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