Ever since learning the truth about the maelstrom that lives beneath Widdershins and his own connection to that magic, Whyborne has been uneasy. He knows that he has to tell Griffin the truth, the fact that it is because of Whyborne that the maelstrom drew Griffin to Widdershins in the first place, forever changing his life. But Whyborne is sure once Griffin knows the truth, he will want nothing more to do with him.
Before Whyborne can come clean, however, a mysterious stranger and a magically affected assassin draw their attention to Griffin’s hometown of Fallow, Kansas. It seems both men once came from Fallow, and whatever dark magic connected the men has its roots there. With Griffin’s mother still living in the town and something dangerous clearly afoot, the men have no choice but to travel to Fallow, along with their friends Christine and Iskander, to find out what is going on. Griffin is nervous about seeing his mother again, but hopes that perhaps this will be an opportunity to reconcile after she stopped speaking to him when learning he is gay.
Once in Fallow, they find most of the town devastated by drought, while some lands mysteriously prosper. It appears the danger is connected to the Fidelis cult, the group Whyborne fought at the maelstrom and whose actions threaten Widdershins and the world. Now as they dig into the mystery of what is going on in Fallow, Whyborne and Griffin find that there is even more immediate danger, one that they must risk their lives to stop once again.
Ah, there are few reading pleasures that make me as happy as a new Whyborne & Griffin novel. This series is truly one of the best out there in the romance genre, with such a spectacular mixture of romance, paranormal creativity, and fascinating historical settings. I have said it over and over, but if you aren’t reading this series, you need to be. Right now. For reals.
Ok, so moving on to this book in particular. We pick up in the aftermath of Maelstrom as Whyborne struggles with the revelations of his connection to the magic below the town. It is weighing on him heavily as he feels responsibility for all the negative things that have befallen Griffin as a result of being drawn to Widdershins. On top of that, Whyborne is desperate to figure out a way to stop the return of the masters and prevent the destruction that will result if they pass back to this realm. He is burdened by worries, but afraid to tell Griffin the truth. It is an interesting issue as we can see again how Whyborne has little sense of his own self worth, how much his loved ones truly care for him, and how important and powerful he is. So Whyborne worries that as soon as anyone knows the truth, they will no longer want him.
But as much as Whyborne is dealing with, this is really Griffin’s story as he confronts his past by returning home to Fallow. He is still estranged from his mother, but has hopes that they can reconcile. Returning means Griffin sees what has happened since he left town, the aftermath of his leaving in scandal. He faces not just his mother, but other family who were affected, and townspeople who have not forgotten what occurred. Like some of the other books in the series, this one is told in alternating POV between Whyborne and Griffin (unlike others that are just in Whyborne’s POV), so we get a chance to really see what Griffin is thinking and feeling as her returns to this place that holds so many memories, both good and bad. I liked the chance to get to explore more of Griffin’s past, and to put some resolution on many of these issues that have been building over the series.
From the thriller end, Hawk once again gives us a wonderful paranormal suspense as the group encounters another evil plot that threatens not just Fallow, but Widdershins and even beyond. There is magic and danger and people who are not as they seem. I love the way Hawk gives us a magical mystery that once again connects us with pieces of both Whyborne and Griffin’s power. At times I felt things were a bit hard to follow, especially early on as I was still refreshing my memories of the previous book. But overall I think this was another well-done suspense story that both stands alone, and connects to the larger series lore. It seems that things are building to something big, and I can’t wait to see what more there is to come.
So again, this is a series you must be reading. And if you are, trust me, you are not going to want to miss this latest installment. With Fallow, Jordan L. Hawk once again creates a magical mystery with some of my all time favorite romance characters. Definitely recommended.
Cover Review: I really love this cover. It is a new style for the series, and while I have liked the previous ones a lot, I think this new look is really great.