Rating: 4 stars
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Morgan and Grant Kade-Kessler have settled into the quiet calm of domestic bliss. Within the confines of their small town of Durstand, they’ve made the kind of life that Grant never thought was possible. He spent years running and has finally found a place to call home and Morgan is the center of that. Grant sees Morgan’s autism, which outsiders might view as a limitation, as an essential part of the man he loves. After all, its partially his autism that allowed Morgan to spend the last year building a sailboat using only books and physical skill. Grant thinks the Starry Night is a wonderful extension of Morgan’s brilliance, but he doesn’t expect them to actually use it. Because Morgan doesn’t leave Durstand.
Until the day comes that Morgan insists they move the Starry Night and take her to sea. Grant is caught off guard, but Morgan assures him this is something they’re meant to do. As their adventure begins, Morgan must deal many challenge with Grant ever at his side. They’ll confront dangers at sea, a health crisis, and a violent storm. But Grant and Morgan know as long as they have one another, they can deal with anything.
By the Light of Dawn is the direct sequel to In the Absence of Light. These books must be read in order as In the Absence of Light establishes Grant and Morgan as a couple and explains the realities of Morgan’s autism. Unfortunately, By the Light of Dawn doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor and, while it still has sweet moments, I felt somewhat let down by this sequel.
Morgan and Grant are still at the heart of this series and in By the Light of Dawn, we find them married and closer than ever. Grant never forgets how easily he might have lost Morgan and Morgan knows he’s finally found someone who loves and accepts him completely. There are quite a few sex scenes in this book, sometimes to excess. For the first half of By the Light of Dawn, it seems like most of the on page action is sexual and, while that’s fine, these moments don’t read as particularly meaningful.
The overall plot strains believability and Morgan’s reasons for wanting to go to sea don’t make a lot of sense. It’s fine when you just roll with it, but after the real depth of In the Absence of Light, this book seemed less structured and lacking in inspiration. I wasn’t as invested in Grant and Morgan’s journey and, while I still cared about them as a couple, the story felt predictable and the end rather obvious. The writing remains fairly strong, but the pacing wasn’t quite as tight or regulated and that may have been a result of plot being uneven.
By the Light of Dawn suffers in comparison to the first in the series and didn’t have the same kind of emotional resonance that I hoped for. That isn’t to say the book is bad. Grant and Morgan are still strong characters and their romance is quite unique. And if you’re fans of the first book, you may have a different view of By the Light of Dawn, so this is still worth your time.