Good evening to all my bibliophiles out there! Happy Sunday Funday! This weekend was a bit productive on my end, thank goodness! We got hit with a massive snow storm here on the east coast of the US, so thankfully, I was able to take an afternoon to myself to settle into a book without much interruption from real life. Unlike most, I enjoy the cold and snow so that I’m able to shut myself in for a bit and lose myself in a book universe and keep reality at bay if even for a little while. I’d assume my fellow bookworms could agree wholeheartedly. Who wouldn’t adore a pile of blankets, a cup of coffee (or tea) and a stack of novels?
Anyway, my TBR list is stacking up. I seem to buy or download books faster than I can read them. I’ve found it extremely challenging lately to decide what I should read next. I seem to want to read everything at the same time, and since that’s not possible, I wind up sitting in a funk. Yesterday, thankfully, I was able to delve into an ebook I’ve been waiting to read for awhile and I just couldn’t wait anymore. Since the Gabriel Series by Sylvain Reynard is one of my favorites, I decided to look up more stories with a similar plot line (if you’re interested in a student/teacher romance, give this list a go: popular student teacher romance books). Beautiful Burn by Adriane Leigh just had something I had to check out (I judged by it’s cover.. don’t hurt me).
I knew my instinct was right because I absolutely could NOT put this book down! It grabbed me right from the very beginning and I decided to put off everything I had planned for the day in order to see how it would all turn out.
Reed West is a high school English Teacher and Auburn Lawrence is his former student. They’ve always been lured towards one another, but their timing wasn’t right, and it was too taboo. Three years later, Auburn is at university while Reed is still teaching (and married… well, separated). When Reed gets the opportunity to teach a Creative Writing course over the summer months, he and Auburn cross paths for the first time in a long time. This go-round, there is no denying or ignoring their feelings, and the results are explosive.
Not only did I adore the story and the characters, but the writing was gorgeous. I always enjoy my romance novels, but most are quick, succinct, and even have a pinch of humor, sarcasm, or darkness. While this novel did have its bleak points, the writing never wavers and reads like a poem or a song. The descriptions of people, places, and overall ambiance reminded me of a few treasured classics. Since Leigh made numerous references to Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I assumed that was the point of her words and what they wound up creating in modern day.
One thing I had noticed other reviews say was that the story was good for what it was, and I wasn’t quite sure how to take that going into the material. Now that I’ve closed this book, I understand. It’s not the typical romance with some drama and an eventual happy ending all tied up in a sweet, little bow. The path Reed and Auburn took together led to an ending I wasn’t expecting, and wasn’t fully okay with either. Yes, there is the drama and angst, but there’s also a bombshell or two that just seemed to come out of nowhere.
Since I had read prior reviews, I knew to tread carefully when approaching this text. I just knew something big would happen in this story, but it wasn’t the “something” I was expecting.
Reed and Auburn are pretty amazing. They have such chemistry and they keep crossing paths, but once they decide to become something, will their attraction and magnetic force that pulls them together keep them together in the long run? You’ll have to find out for yourself. I really hope you enjoy a good rollercoaster! Keep the tissues nearby. That’s my only warning.