James’ last year of high school has been rough. His mother died of cancer and family grief became the atmosphere of his life. He’s getting ready to go to Uni, and leaving behind his twin sister and father gives James a lot of mixed feelings. He’s also figuring out his sexuality and who he can trust.
When Cary moves into the family’s spare room, he changes the dynamics for everyone he encounters. Cary is fit and good looking, and he innately knows what he each person needs and soothes and inflames each person’s desires. As Cary encounters four different men during the Australian summer, he lifts them up, breaks them down, and pushes their boundaries. Sexual desire looks different on all these men and it’s going to be one hot and revealing summer.
I tend to find the books that are the hardest to talk about without giving anything away and The Lodger, That Summer falls into that category as well. The blurb only mentions James by name, so I will start with him. James is grateful to be finished with high school, but feels unsettled since his mother died and he has plans to leave for school. His father is supportive, but his father has his own grief to contend with. James hasn’t come out yet to anyone and he’s not sure where or when his truth will be spoken and he’s a riot of feelings.
We get four points of view in this shorter novel, but I will say that one of the central focuses is James and he holds the backbone of emotion for this book. We see the different relationships he has with his father and with friends of the family and how that plays into his journey, but also how it unfolds into the different characters’ own stories.
This book is not a romance and it is not intended to be one. It is, however, many other things. It is a highly charged erotic tale, a coming out story, a coming-of-age story, and a sexual awakening, but it also drives deeper to target and expose those hidden parts of a man’s soul. The catalyst is Cary, the lodger, who appears in their lives when these men seemingly need him most and can be what they each need him to be. He’s portrayed only through their eyes and, on the flip side, Cary might not be any of the people these men think he is.
Cary is on page maybe the least, but I will remember him the most. I knew how the ending would play out and that was fine, as Cary’s presence will still linger with me a while. I would definitely read a book from Cary’s point of view, although I am certain the illusion would be shattered and it’s really between those two realities where this story lives.
This book has already been released and a fine tuning proofread would only enhance it. It is great to have found a new voice in author Levi Huxton with this debut book. His candor created not only a melancholy spirit to parts of the story, but also an atmosphere that is tinged with tension, anticipation, and hope.