Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Charles Heyer is more than stressed. He’s definitely overworked, but Charles has other issues he’s battling. Charles has synesthesia, where he sees emotions as colors, and his world is too colorful most of the time. He’s also battling mental health issues after a great loss and the colors that Charles sees these days are more often malevolent than soothing. After a breakdown, Charles is recuperating on a quiet French island and he is not ready to go back to London and his high-pressure job. When an encounter with a local turns into a good deed, Charles meets Florian, a beautiful and flirtatious local salt farmer.

Florian turns heads wherever he goes. He enjoys having a man warm his bed, but Florian doesn’t fall and a relationship is not on his schedule. He has enough to take care of with battling a corporation trying to take over the salt cooperative, as well as watching over his aging grandfather. A wealthy businessman from London is not at all Florian’s usual type, but one conversation with Charles and Florian is lost to him. The men spend the summer getting to know each other and life is better when they are together. While they might dream of a future, geographically they don’t work, and Charles’ life in the city comes to the island looking for him. It’s then that the beautiful silver colors that Charles sees when he looks at Florian turn darker and a broken-hearted Florian will have to rescue Charles from his own mind.

I found this book to be absolutely fascinating. It is one of those books that is difficult to put down as the story unfolds and I enjoyed the ride, as much as getting to the end. The location is great as well, set on a small island in France, and I was able to learn a grain or two about salt farming.

The book opens with Charles and he is struggling. Perhaps not as badly as when he was in the hospital, but his mind is never at rest. He’s tormented by recent trauma and he can’t always be sure that what he sees is correct. His synesthesia is a big part of him as color dictates his life and his feelings. He’s not ready to go back to his life in London and his job that doesn’t leave room for anything else and, as the story goes on, we see just the effect that Charles’ work has on him.

Florian has lived a different life than Charles. As a salt farmer, Florian has a physical job, but his life is much more relaxed than Charles’ world. Florian has great awareness of the people around him and his internal descriptions and thoughts make him a special character. He tries to let the homophobia he encounters roll off of him, as his neighbors think themselves funny and have no idea the damage it does to Florian. Now, he’s been put in charge of saving the salt cooperative and Florian has the best intentions, but has no idea how big business works.

Charles and Florian fall into sync and have a special kind of intimate relationship. Charles is also the exact person that Florian needs in his corner for business. They know what is going on between them has to have an end date, but Florian is so gone for Charles that he’s always thinking about how he can hold on to him. But Charles’ mind is a fragile place and what Charles goes through is agonizing to watch unfold. The book has its soft edges with the relationship between Charles and Florian, but it hits hard as Charles’ mind fractures once again. And it’s Florian that steps completely out of his comfort zone to save the man he loves.

The dialogue in the book is supposed to be in French. I appreciated the atmosphere and the subtle reminders that they were speaking French, but I would have also liked some more French words to solidify the setting, rather than having to remind myself they were speaking French.

The men find their happiest of ever afters and, with a book being written for Florian’s friend, I look forward to returning to this island of salt farming once again.