Grant Kessler considers himself a businessman, but when lies and betrayal leave him bloodied, he realizes the business has changed for the worse and its time to retire. He has plenty of money, but with the FBI still hungering to slap him with some kind of charge, he knows laying low for a few years is his best bet. He moves to the small town of Durstrand and buys an old fixer upper to pass the time until its safe enough to find an island and retire in style. It’s a perfect plan, until he meets Morgan Kade and realizes this sleepy little town might offer something better than any beachfront fantasy.
Morgan Kade has lived in Durstrand for most of his life. He works at a local bar, lives in his comfortable home, and creates glass sculptures in his spare time. He also has autism, but thanks to friends, family, and his own determination he has battled his way to independence and against ignorance. He is no one’s fool and though his challenges are not insignificant, he hasn’t let the rest of the world determine his fate. He makes his attraction to Grant clear, but not before teaching him a few important lessons along the way.
Navigating the waters of a new relationship is never easy, but when both their pasts threaten to destroy their chance at happily ever after, Grant and Morgan must put absolute faith in one another and finally embrace the light.
In the Absence of Light is a fantastic love story and Adrienne Wilder has given us two amazingly rendered protagonists. Grant and Morgan are remarkable in their depth and realism. Together they are the sum of two imperfect parts, each surviving but truly failing to live until they find the other. Morgan is wonderfully complex and his understanding of light makes beautiful that which the rest of us find so ordinary. He has courage and determination, especially when viewed within the scope of all that he has endured. Grant, outwardly seems more conventional. His business once skirted the edges of criminality, but he doesn’t want a life cloaked in blood and chaos despite the money it offers. This alone makes him admirable, but his capacity for acceptance, loyalty, and faith makes him exceptional. He is unconditionally steadfast in his devotion and adoration of Morgan and we love him because of it.
Aside from Morgan and Grant, there is a fantastic cast of secondary characters, not the least of which is the town of Durstrand itself. Wilder has done a wonderful job of capturing the quirks and intimacy of small town life. The overall story seizes the reader’s interest from page one and moves at a perfect pace. There is never a moment that feels slow or unnecessary. I fully expected a fair amount of angst from In the Absence of Light and while there was plenty of it, I was wonderfully surprised to find an equal amount of humor. There were several scenes where I actually laughed aloud and these seamlessly fit within the wider context of the book and prevented it from becoming too maudlin.
I really can’t recommend this one enough. Grant and Morgan are wonderful together and though theirs is not an easy path, we, as readers, are privileged to experience the full scope of their journey towards love.