The Thornchapel series is a continuing story and the books are meant to be read in order. This review will then naturally reveal plot points for the series.
Twelve years ago, Proserpina, St. Sebastian, and Auden shared a kiss that sealed their fates to each other and to Thornchapel. But right now, Auden is alone at Thornchapel as St. Sebastian has left and Poe has followed him. Their hearts belong to each and their love and their lives together are inevitable, but St. Sebastian cannot get past the secret that was revealed that forever altered his relationship with Auden.
Delphine and Rebecca’s relationship seems to be irrevocably broken and Delphine has also left Thornchapel. Becket’s calling to serve also faces uncertainty and he has gone on an imposed retreat away from Thornchapel. Only Auden and Rebecca remain and, while they are always there for each other, they desperately miss the others.
The door in the chapel that shouldn’t be there is open and they aren’t sure if it’s a threat or a warning. There have been sacrifices made to close the door previously and it seems the door wants another sacrifice and the group is not prepared to pay that price. Auden feels like a failure that he can’t keep those he loves close to him and safe. But their fates are bound to each other and Thornchapel has a hold over them all calling them back. However, it could be a call to their death.
The Thornchapel series is the type of series that is easy to get lost in and having read this series in quick succession, I was fully immersed in this world and the characters. Door of Bruises continues where A Harvest of Sighs ended and it’s a seamless move from one book to the next.
This book is an ensemble piece of an erotic contemporary story with a fairy tale woven in, and a story of fate and destiny and enduring, passionate love. The characters are tormented by their pasts and their presents and their hopes for their futures and, when the book opens, the group is fractured. An indiscretion cut through the heart of Delphine and Rebecca’s relationship and while they are estranged, they long for each other. The secret that St. Sebastian found out previously has him thinking he has no choice but leave Auden, but their pull to each other consumes them, and while they love Poe as well, they are supposed to be three. Their relationship is wild and fierce with a touch of obsession and a lot of passion and I have not yet grown tired of reading about them. Becket rounds out the group with a crisis of faith and a crisis of conscience and, while he gets the least amount of page time of the group, he’s an intriguing character that leaves a strong presence.
The book delves deep into the individual struggles and the interconnected relationships of the group, as well as the legacy of Thornchapel and its stories of rituals and sacrifices. The descriptions truly bring the location to life and the atmospheric writing sets each intense scene. The door at Thornchapel is open and as the group transforms with what it unleashes, they know it must be closed, and they each reach for their own conclusions.
The Thornchapel series is an impassioned, erotic tale mixing a modern story with echoes of the past and its thorns will find a way to enchant you. While there are questions that remain, the ending is haunting and it will leave you wishing to revisit once again as the final scene comes to a close.