Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Kale Williams
Length: 7 hours, 7 minutes
Emerson Rose has a lot going on. After his parents died, he put his college plans on hold to care for his younger brother and sister. His life is busy and intense, and the one bright spot is his best friend, Rhys. Emerson never had feelings for a guy before and his attraction to Rhys threatens to complicate their relationship. But while Rhys had always had feelings for Emerson, he thought he was off limits and for one moment when their lips meet, the world seems to make sense—until Rhys is in an accident.
Rhys Lancaster embraced his sexuality at a young age. Emerson was like family and even if he couldn’t have more with him, their easy and close friendship always seemed like enough. Until Rhys thinks that Emerson may be interested in him as well. But before the guys have time to figure out their next step, Rhys in injured in an accident and loses the memories from the last year of his life. While he remembers Emerson and his history with him, he doesn’t remember that they were getting closer.
Emerson is there for Rhys each step of his recovery, but Rhys feels that he’s missing something. Emerson wants Rhys’ memories to come back on their own, but the tension between them is too strong. With Rhys staying with Emerson during his recovery and trying to make sense of what’s going on his head, the one thing the guys do know is that life makes more sense when they are together—they just have to figure out how to get there.
This is a sweet, standalone story about Rhys and Emerson, two best friends that have a lot going on as they find their way to realizing they are a perfect forever fit. Rhys acknowledged he was gay at a young age, and nothing ever outwardly changed about their friendship, although on the inside Emerson didn’t understand the jealousy he felt when Rhys started dating. Rhys has always been attracted to Emerson, but never knew Emerson to be attracted to men and just when Emerson is discovering his demisexuality and the two of them are going to figure out their next steps, Rhys is injured.
Emerson is there for everyone. He was there for his siblings when his parents died, even though he was still a teenager, and he’s there for Rhys during his recovery and Emerson never takes or does anything for himself. He wants to figure out his sexuality and he wants to figure it out with Rhys, but that has to wait now as well. It comes through really well how close Emerson and Rhys are and their friendship is special and it’s easy to see how it can evolve into more. They look out for each other, they look after each other, they are attracted to each other, and they love each other—they just have to figure out how to be together.
While I liked the overall story, I did find the writing a little too cliché for my tastes. There were many times I knew what the characters would say next and there was a lot of repetition to their dialogue. Also, both Rhys and Emerson felt like they were always blushing or flushing or turning red in the face in almost every scene and they both always felt sick from emotional overload and that was way too excessive for me throughout the entire book. Both Emerson and Rhys came off as overly young to me as well, despite their responsibilities, so you would want to like that type of character. For a sweet story with some tension, A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies would work to see best friends becoming everything to each other.
Kale Williams narrated this book and one of the reasons I chose it was because I like his voice. He has a warm overall tone, with a performance that is smooth and enjoyable. Rhys and Emerson don’t have distinct voices from each other, but it was still easy to follow who was speaking. Williams adds a touch of understated emotion that worked great for the feel of the story. Two side characters who were not connected to each other, Emerson’s coworker and Rhys’ boss, have strong regional accents and it wasn’t clear why only they had accents and no one else in the story. I find Williams a narrator that I will listen to time and again and I will look forward to his next performance.