Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
The Yearning is a really good ghost story. Generally, people fall into two camps: those who believe in ghosts and all of the possibility that belief brings, and those who think they’re silly and roll their eyes incredulously. I fit squarely into that second camp. So trust me when I say that this story is so good, it even made me a believer. Whether it be an actual belief in ghosts, or simply in the power that love has to transcend the lines of the living and dead, I’m not sure. But whatever it is, A.J. Rose made me a convert. While The Yearning contains the elements of every good ghost story — it’s suspenseful, creepy, and caused a shiver down my spine on more than one occasion — it’s also ultimately about unrequited love, and the ability that true love has to chase away the darkness, no matter how powerful. In other words, it’s intensely romantic, and it has one of the happiest, most well-deserved endings in all of HEA history.
Eric is a ghost. He died in 1955 when he was trampled by his horse while on a ride with his best friend, a man he secretly loved. He assists newly dead souls by warning them that, upon death, they have only a few minutes to attach to a living person, or they will not experience an afterlife. In order to anchor to someone, the ghost must mentally reach inside the person to feel their life force. He’s in the perfect position for this because he’s attached himself to Justin, a mortician, which is the reason he comes into contact with so many of the dead. The trouble stems from the fact that Eric has actually fallen in love with Justin, who will never know of Eric’s presence or the fact that he is living off the energy inside of him. To further complicate matters, Justin is in love with his best friend, Darren, who is completely oblivious to Justin’s affection.
In an effort to derail this hopeless love triangle, Eric starts making his presence known. He does little things, especially while attempting to keep Darren from Justin. When Justin can no longer ignore Eric’s less than subtle efforts, he tells Darren he thinks he’s being haunted. Eric finds he can communicate, though harnessing the energy that is necessary to make any part of his body solid and touchable, even as much as his hands, is draining. He does, however, manage to expend enough energy to be involved in the hottest sex scene involving noncorporeal entities in the history of the universe. You’ve received fair warning.
While Justin and Darren are trying to make sense of Eric’s presence, Justin is threatened by a dark force that wants to destroy him completely. Not only would Eric lose his anchor and any “life” that he now knows, Justin’s soul would be lost as well. All three men become involved in the battle between darkness and light, without a surety that any of them will come out of it alive.
I’ve sung the praises of A.J. Rose’s writing previously, when I reviewed Power Exchange, a much different type of book. What remains unchanged, however, is Rose’s competency as a writer. While some of the themes of this story are heavy, the tone of the writing ranges from humorous, to devastating, to deeply touching, within the span of 81 pages. The story is entertaining throughout, and will definitely be one of those books you can’t put down until you reach the last line. In addition to the entertainment factor though, Rose made me introspective about the light and dark forces in our lives, and the things that we do to invite and reject them. It made me think.
I can’t recommend this story enough. It’s a ghost story, a love story, and much more. You will run the gamut of emotions from amused,to frustrated, to creeped out, to contentedly happy. And it’s cheap. Not cheap like slutty, though it won’t disappoint in that area either. Cheap like inexpensive and accessible. And you’ll love it.