Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Kindled Winter - Rachel Demeter's exploration of phobias and fetishes

A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for rustic Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.
Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts…

Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.  

My thoughts:
I have to give this young and intense author kudos for admitting that she has a deformity fetish and working it into a cozy holiday romance. A Kindled Winter is a second novel featuring a male protagonist sporting some horrific and mystifying injuries that, thankfully, do not affect his libido. Another must-read is her Gothic historical romance Finding Gabriel. I think the reason so many girls find the Beauty and the Beast story so compelling is because it's in our psyche to be fascinated by deformity and the juxtaposition of the grotesque and the sublime. Many young girls fantasize about tending to a wounded soldier. Rachel Demeter's protagonists did not acquire their respective deformities in a battle but rather a moment of weakness and/or forgetfulness. That adds poignancy and tragedy. A disfigured hero who got his injuries in a line of duty would be a little too polarizing and redundant - chocolate cake with chocolate sauce. To her credit, she shows how one careless act in one split second can wreck her entire life, what an unfairly high price one must pay for a relatively minor transgression. I also see a pattern of her vocalizing her phobias and fears. Both of her novels touch upon the subject of losing one's child. As far as I know, she is not a mother yet - hopefully will be in the near future - but I can tell that she had tried to imagine what it would be like to lose one's child to unnatural causes. As a writer, you need to have that universal empathy and imagine what it would be like to experience certain emotions you haven't experienced - and hopefully never will - in real life. I said this before, and I will say this again. I hope this author unfolds her wings and sores above the constraints of the romance genre, beyond what the predominantly female readership expects. There is a lot more latitude and room for maneuver with rape, battle and disaster scenes than with candlelit foreplay.

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