Synopsis, taken from the author’s website:
“My five stages of man – maturing from youth, the quest for identity, identity challenged relationships and the dignity of relevance – provide for me a contextual basis from which I can understand myself and how I fit. Though I find myself in the third stage of this journey, I feel a sense if peace in knowing that I can face my own continuing journey with a direction inspired by continuing self reflection…”
My Thoughts About The Book:
Before I set down my thoughts about this fantastic book, let me just say that I love the way that Dean introduces the idea of a story and it’s characters to an audience, through the medium of his blog.
He basically seems to set down his thoughts and ideas, in a short story form of installments, building on it weekly, until the novel has taken shape. The comments and words of encouragement he receives almost appear to help mould the finished storyline, even down to the final book title.
Dean is at present, potentially working on his second novel, with a work-in-progress title of ‘Gifts Of the Peramangk’. Why not visit his site sometime and maybe leave a comment of encouragement, together with your thoughts on his progress!
As for ‘The Hambledown Dream’ …. I loved it from the first page to the last!
When Dean first contacted me, requesting that I read and review ‘The Hambledown Dream’, I was at first flattered and pleased, then, after checking out the synopsis, a little sceptical and dubious, as for me, the notion of reading a paranormal romance, took me right out of my comfort zone, into an unknown genre.
I need not have worried … This debut novel of the genre for me, was a great initiation and something to be enjoyed. The only caveat that I would highlight, would be the explicit sex scenes and violence at the start of the book, which although totally in context wth the story, may offend some readers.
The book is described as a contemporary paranormal romance, but for me it was so much more. There was a hint of the supernatural, both physical and emotional transformation, and the obvious question of the notion of reincarnation.
Reincarnation, (derived from the Latin, literally meaning, “entering the flesh again”), is not something that I have a great belief in, but this book does pose the question to me, of how a body is selected to be the recipient of a departed soul or spirit.
In the ‘Hambledown Dream’, could it be simply that Andy had died on the ER table and the transformation took place purely randomly at the time of his resuscitation, was it a similarity in the ages of the two young men, because of their shared talents and love of music, the rescue and redemption of Andy’s tortured soul and body, or to guide Andy back to Sonya simply for Denny’s own gratification??
I’m sure that there will be a whole raft of differing opinion about the subject, so let’s just accept ‘The Hambledown Dream’ for what it is … A story of sex, sleeze, drugs and a life on the path to self-destruction; transforming itself into a story of love, passion, new beginnings, two lost souls reaching out for each other and a love so strong that even death cannot stop it.
The characters all have great definition, depth and presence, to the point where you can almost see them and feel their emotions throughout the entire story. The spiritual powers of emotion and music lay the senses bare and the mind a blank page, ready to write a whole new chapter.
The first part of the story, is fast paced and action packed, with emotions running so high in the sleezy underworld of Chicago, that the tension is palpable to the reader. You almost think that sooner or later, you will be left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and are looking sneakily forwards to the next page, just to see if there is any more danger that one person can attract.
The underlying reasons for this life of self-mutilation and debauchery, start to become apparent, as the story of Andy’s childhood and early years begins to unravel little by little, leaving the reader with a sense of sadness at a life wasted for the want of a small show of affection and encouragement, from those he held in the greatest of esteem.
Andy’s subsequent transformation and the remainder of the story, takes on a whole new meaning, as he comes to terms with how his life might have been, if he had lived in someone else’s shoes and how that change may still be brought about, if he is only willing to open his mind to the possibilities of a life without hate and self loathing; to embrace his talents for the gift they are and to realise that the help and affection offered by people is just that, unconditional and freely given.
The description and evolution of Andy’s musical talent and experiences, only draws the reader further under the spell of this captivating story. His ability to express himself through his guitar playing and the link between this and his eventual reconciliation with his estranged father, is poignant and at the heart of the story.
His need to reach out for his still grieving soul mate is inexorable, once he full comes to terms with, understands what has happened to him and accepts the siuation as it is. A love so strong experienced by two people, is dealt with sympathetically by the author, who draws them together as if by fate, with soft, flowing and emotional lines of prose, that are only enhanced by the paranormal and supernatural overtones.
In Dean’s words from the book “This is not over”
There is a great link on Dean’s website, to an interview conducted by Joanna, at ‘The Creative Penn’, where he talks about what it takes to be a man in the romance market. It makes for some interesting reading!!
A fantastic debut novel, can’t wait for the next book, Dean.
A well-deserved 5 out of 5
I was asked to read and review this book by the author, Dean Mayes. As such, this copy was supplied to me free of charge by said author.
This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any review I may have compiled. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this review.