What is this?
This is not something I would have ordinarily picked up if not for this review, but boy am I glad I did!
It did start off a little slow for me. It set the scene, starting when Sarah was fifteen and giving Owen's back story (which is vital to the story), but took some time to set up.
But what the beginning lacked in pace, it made up for in beautiful language.
"Craggy, folded hollows peppered the landscape, looking like nothing more than a green blanket that had been crumpled by God himself."
I love this imagery!
So anyway, once it picked up, what was so great about this story? It was realistic and felt genuine! (Aside from the whole shapeshifting thing, of course.)
There was no insta-love. They didn't magically find their way to each other. It wasn't circumstances that kept them apart or caused problems, but their human feelings and insecurities. And it felt REAL!
The primary impetus of the book is Owen's fear to reveal who he is to another person, having been rejected by others throughout his life. A person learning to open up and trust another person is a very human experience. And it doesn't happen overnight like many romances would have you believe. Like the entire relationship between Owen and Sarah, it happens gradually over time as they get to know each other and slowly fall in love. And this process it not without fears, doubts, insecurities, etc as Sarah and Owen show us.
And then there is Owen himself. I'll just treat you to a little taste.
"I care about you, deeply. More than I've ever cared about anyone. And I am terrified by how much you mean to me. At the same time, I keep coming back to you, knowing that you could crush me if you wished. I can't stay away. I don't want to stay away."
Now, for the caveats.
The whole paranormal/shapeshifting aspect was set up really well, but then really didn't have much to do with the second half of the story, besides Owen needing to tell Sarah about that part of himself. I thought it would have been interesting to have played that bit up a little more.
Also, I think a little more could have been done to set the time period. Except for some somewhat old fashioned views on women's roles, there wasn't much else that let me know that the book was set in 1960. I think a little more could have been done to make me feel like I was in this period.
But all in all, this was a great book that I really enjoyed. It will likely end of being one of my regular re-reads due to all the great moments between Owen and Sarah.