I must say this has got to be one of my favorite romance novel themes: friends who become more. I’m not really sure why though. Maybe it relates to the whole When Harry Met Sally concept that men and women can’t be friends. The sex part always gets in the way.
What’s it About?
Brina and Eagan meet for the first time when she’s nine and he’s fourteen. They like each other from the very beginning, although their bond isn’t immediate, but it grows over the years. What links them is the fact that their parents are photographers and are extremely devoted to their work and to each other; so much so that both Brina and Eagan have to learn how to take care of themselves from a very young age. Despite their differences, age, gender, nationality, Brina is Italian and Eagan is American, they find comfort in their growing friendship. Then Brina becomes a teenager, and her feelings for her friend start changing and deepening. New desires stir within her. As soon as Brina realizes how those feelings complicate her friendship with Eagan, she runs away from him. A few years later, Brina is twenty and Eagan is twenty-five, they find one another once again. Brina is studying cinema in Rome and she’s also trying to become a musician. Eagan begins to work as an architect in the same city. Eagan wants to be a part of Brina’s life anew. Brina, however, is still in love with him; she finds it difficult to act merely as a friend and she keeps pulling away.
Goodness gracious I thought I had a sensitive nose, but I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance novel with two main characters who were so obsessed with smelling each other. Apparently, she smells like lemons, he carries around a cinnamon-like aroma, and they both get ridiculously turned on by the other’s scent. Personally I feel like lemon and cinnamon don’t really mix very well together, but heaven forbid anyone try and separate these two from getting their scent fix. Aroma obsession aside, the format of this novel was unique in that we are provided with a good balance between Brina and Eagan’s present relationship, and flashbacks of their friendship as children. Throughout their childhood, Brina always had a huge crush on Eagan, and because he was a very affectionate/flirtatious/handsy individual, we suffer right along with her as she tries to keep her true feelings for him in check. Her inability to do so, and the heartbreaking death of another childhood friend puts a strain on their relationship, and it is years before they take things to the next level.
Find a Hobby
Once Brina and Eagan reunite as adults and finally reveal their true feelings for each other, their coupling is hot, heavy, and intense. They are also quick to move in together. It’s at this point when their happy period ends, and things get kind of strange. Brina finally has what she’s always wanted with Eagan, but she gets depressed easily and, for lack of a better word, moody. It seems they love each other so much that they can’t stand to be apart, and both get rather temperamental when faced with any kind of separation. Even if it’s so he can go to work. Umm, maybe you should go out and see a movie? Take dance lessons? Find some healthy way to occupy your time when not engaging in sex with your best friend/boyfriend?
Both of their parents also had this kind of all-consuming relationship, where they couldn’t be apart for one minute, so they would both just leave their children behind whenever they had to travel. That’s…not okay. You need to be able to entertain yourself and not become a reculsive hermit should your significant other have to go away for work. At one point in the story Brina travels to Germany for a month of study abroad, and wants to cut off all communication with Eagan as a way of training herself to live without him. Dude, you don’t have to go from one extreme to the next! Going cold turkey never works! At least skype a few times a week so that you don’t become down and out miserable.
The majority of the novel is told from Brina’s point of view, but towards the end we are provided a glimpse of their relationship through Eagan’s eyes. The story then goes back and forth between Eagan and Brina. I must say this was carried out extremely well, as even the writing style was adjusted to reveal Eagan’s inner thoughts. The sentences become much shorter and more direct, almost Hemingway-esque in its execution. This really made it feel like a different character was speaking, and I wish we would have seen this tactic employed a bit earlier on in the story.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: A Touch of Cinammon, book 1
Should you read it? It’s kind of a strange dynamic that once they finally get together Brina gets depressed. Overall though it’s a very full and enriching tale of friends who eventually become lovers.
Smut Level: The two are eager to finally have their way with each other after so many years, but the scenes aren’t too shockingly descriptive.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $1.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 274 Pages.