Genres: M/M Romance, New Adult Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on April 23, 2019
One’s world is the water and the other immerses himself in music, but they catch sight of each other and a special connection forms that makes two worlds collide and reform to include the dazzling light of new love. This was a random choice when the title caught my eye and the blurb pulled me in, but oh the joy this lyrical college romance gave me from start to finish.
Let There Be Light is the first of the Twin Hearts duology that are a pair of standalone parallel stories about the O’Connell twins. I discovered after I started that the Twin Hearts duo is a spin-off of the Avenues Ink Trilogy that tell the story of Royal’s parents, uncles and aunts’ earlier stories. I had no trouble starting here as it truly is a standalone story with the promise of Royal’s sister and his college best friend getting their story next.
Let There Be Light begins when Royal O’Connell and his twin sister, Indy, head off to a private Oregon college for their first time away from home. Royal has a scholarship for swimming and Indy for art. Royal grew up working class and wants to make his parents proud while starting to take some of the burden off them by stepping out on his own. He wants to get into counseling because it is his natural inclination to help and protect those who may be struggling like Indy, but he also lives for his time in the pool with the swim team when he makes his swimming his art like Indy with her brush. He makes a best friend out of the swim team captain and fits in with all, but one bitter rich kid who is jealous of Royal’s speed and talent as a swimmer. Then he catches sight of his friend’s roommate and his world is shaken to discover that the first person to ever interest or attract him in a romantic way is a guy. And, not just any guy, but a reclusive, shy, classical piano protege.
Camden has been told all his life that his interest in males is disgusting and learned early on that his parents only care about what he can achieve that they can brag about. He became a non-entity in his own family and absorbed that along with a need for distance and silence with just the music to live for and keep him going. But, then a sunny, light-filled, smiling swimmer sees him- really sees him and loves his music. Camden is pulled out of the shadows and into Royal’s life where they both reach out to a guy for the first time. Will Royal stand pat when they must face others or should Camden hold back and keep his heart safe?
This was a first time gambit into this author’s writing, but holy cannoli, it won’t be the last. The writing was lyrical without heading into cheesy purple prose-territory. It was reflective and gentle in pacing, but it dug deep into the two separate characters and the surrounding cast for how they would figure out a lot of firsts and how to handle their relationship let alone all the other challenges of college-age folk. The contrast in their two families back home and also the building of friendships, balance of their studies and work, and also time spent with them pursuing their talents was blended so nicely.
The guys are so very different, but the author gave strong depictions that made it easy to see their early, confusing attraction and friendship leading into more. These are young healthy college guys so they do some exploring in the bedroom once things get going, but that does not become a focus so much as grows alongside the other aspects of their love. It was all so organic. The attention to the larger story going on also has me eager for the twin story coming after this one and the earlier story of the three older O’Connell brothers getting their story.
The book is told in alternating point of views of Royal and Camden and I thought it was a great idea to have two narrators for the audio edition take on their parts. Both Teddy Hamilton and Aaron Shedlock did fabulous jobs capturing the essence of the story and the characters. I had no trouble picturing myself on a college campus among college students and then the few family scenes.
This one took me pleasantly by surprise. I really connected with the author’s writing and the narrator’s work. I will be going after more from this author. Her books are mostly m/f contemporary romances in this world of the O’Connells, but this one is an M/M New Adult Contemporary which I can enthusiastically recommend.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for providing a copy for me to listen and share my honest thoughts.
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