Crispin Henry has spent many years afraid of his own shadow. A homebody to the max, he doesn’t remain in the background just because he is naturally shy, but because the losses he has experienced in his life make him fearful to leave home lest he lose again. But a determined group of friends and an even more determined sister continue to stretch Crispin’s limits—this time with a trip to Germany for the Oktoberfest celebration.
Luca has been traveling the world for more than a few years. After the death of his parents, he has feared putting down roots lest they be wrenched from him. So his is a nomadic style life that suits him just fine. He travels in between bouts of work and studies various religions, but not with any real fervor or belief. Essentially, he remains mobile in order to avoid the pain of ever leaving somewhere or someone he loves.
When the two men meet, it sparks an attraction neither are ready for, but cannot deny. But Crispin has only three days left in Germany and Luca has set travel plans that don’t include America and damn if the spark they felt goes insanely deep in a very short time.
Homebird by Amy Lane is most assuredly a character-driven story—with Crispin’s buddies heavily involved in the entire novel, one can’t help but think that more stories about them loom on the horizon and, in my opinion, that would be a lovely idea. I think, at times, I liked the group of friends, in particularly Cameron, a bit more than Crispin and Luca. It’s not that I thought their story was off putting but, more so, I felt it was incomplete. I say this because there was a lot of sex between them, but not much conversation Now, I get why Lane may have chosen to do that—in order to send home the idea that the lack of communication was indeed Luca’s way of not committing to remaining with Crispin despite loving him. However, for me, this made the novel a bit shallow and we got only Crispin’s view of the massive changes he was going through in opening up his heart for potential pain and loss again. All the while, Luca was undergoing similar emotional changes, but because he rarely spoke of his feelings—denying them and making it easier to pick up and go, we never got to really know him.
Then there was the side issue of Cam and his revelations to Crispin partway through the novel that also didn’t really get unpacked other than in Crispin’s mind. Admittedly, there was some conversation between Cam and Crispin, but honestly with the level of shock Crispin felt at Cam’s candidness, I expected a bit more. Homebird felt underdeveloped—like the story was all there, but needed a bit more time on page to really come to full fruit.
Author Amy Lane writes beautiful emotion using magically worded prose to describe the heart issues—the hopes and dreams of her main characters. Those moments in this story make it really sing and reminded me just how talented Lane is at capturing quiet moments that reveal much about the inner thoughts of her men. I think that talent is what kept this novel from falling flat. Every element needed to make this an outstanding romance was there, it just begged for more time to take root and fly; it needed more story to pad the bones of a love that hung on the edge of never taking flight.
Homebird is a good story; it is a beautiful ensemble piece with fascinating characters and friendships that make you smile. I do hope we get Cam’s story and get to spend time with these guys again. As for this novel, it needed just a bit more development in order to make it really sing.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.