Friday, September 12, 2008

The Boys Back Home by Sierra Dafoe

TITLE: The Boys Back Home
AUTHOR: Sierra Dafoe
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 23k)
GENRE: Contemporary ménage erotic romance
COST: $3.50

Cassie Jordan is engaged. The only problem is, she’s never forgotten the two boys she grew up with, the two boys she loved, the two boys who chose each other instead of her. Returning to the small Idaho town where she grew up, Cassie hopes to finally get her feelings sorted out once and for all…

The opening of this fast-reading novella is thick with detail, describing the world which Cassie returns to with sparkling clarity. It’s swift to suck you in, and even more so as Cassie’s conflicted emotions tangle you up in knots as tight as hers. As she comes into contact with first Kyle and then Alan from her childhood, discovering that they’re still together, she’s buffeted by a maelstrom of feelings, and it’s very hard not to get as lost in them as she is. There is a quiet desperation throughout the entire first two-thirds of the story, in fact, as we learn that it isn’t just Cassie who’s been eaten up alive by her unrequited love for both these men. The nobility that’s at the core of both men, both convinced she wants the other, makes them sympathetic and heartwarming. It’s easy to see what Cassie loves about them. It’s even easier to fall for them, too.

The erotic scenes are simple but highly effective. There’s a combination of m/m, m/f/m, and m/f, so a little bit for everybody. Language tends to run the gamut from more technical terminology to very crude, but oddly enough, it all sounds so organic to the characters that it works in spite of its slight schizophrenia.

My one disappointment with this short novella was the ending. The melancholy and grief is palpable for much of the story, but it all turns on a dime with the resolution. Suddenly, Cassie is acting the sex kitten, and the characterization does nothing to match what we’ve already learned about her. It’s entirely possible there is this side to Cassie, but we never get to see or experience it, and the lack of a smooth segue between the two versions is disconcerting to say the least. It also felt, for as deep and genuine as the other emotions ran, the resolution came too easily. The author went to definite lengths to convince me of the trio’s grief; I needed more than, “Okay, it’s better, let’s live happily ever after now” in order to believe it was real.

In spite of the weak ending, this is one of the better short erotic romances I’ve read in a while. There’s a lot of strength in the author’s writing – passionate detail and honest emotions leading the way. I look forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the future.


9/10 – Tight attention to detail and believable dialogue makes it a swift read.


7/10 – Hot with believable emotions.


7/10 – Fairly solid, though it always felt like half the story was missing.

Entertainment value

8/10 – I completely engaged with the raw emotions of the first two-thirds of the story. It was only the sudden swing and too easy resolution that disappointed me.

World building

8/10 – Some excellent detail painting the modern day small town.



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