Monday, September 17, 2018

[12-ENG] Review: Of Dreams and Ceremonies - Julie Bozza

Julie Bozza

Series: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy
Volume: 2/3
Publisher: LIBRAtiger
Genre/s: m/m romance
Length: 46 100 words
Pages: 139

Read in: English
Review copy format: epub

Although David and Nicholas just got engaged, they don't unnecessarily waste their time and start planning their wedding right away. There's a lot of work to do but none of them give up even for a moment. The fuss preceding the wedding ceremony looks like child's play compared to the legal problems standing between the lovers and their life together. Is their love enough to overcome all obstacles when their Australian "happily ever after" is at stake?
After the wedding, David and Nicholas spend their honeymoon in a beautiful English remote area near a stone circle in Cornwall that stimulates the imagination and around which people for years create thousands of theories. The proximity of this age-old construction, disturbing meetings and all the stories about witches, sacrifices and ghosts are enough to disturb the carefree love life of these two and then a tight circle of secrets slowly surrounds them.

"Of Dreams and Ceremonies" is the second volume of the "Butterfly Hunter" trilogy, which action is set largely in England. In her novel, Julia Bozza focused on two aspects of this country – people and the landscape – and I must say that she did a really great job. First of all, I think that she managed to fully present English inhabitants as they are. Most of them are in fact incredibly friendly and open to other people and their diversity. Also the fact that in her story she presented a very few people openly showing their negative attitude towards David and Nicholas' relationship completes the real picture of the English. I know for a fact that in this book the actual proportions of "nice" to "unpleasant" inhabitants of this country have been kept. As for the landscape, I really like that the author showed us this more natural beauty of England, with its sharp cliffs, restless sea, green meadows and a mysterious stone circle. In this way, Julie Bozza brought out all the magic in the British Isles and made the best background for the events of this volume out of it. I admit that this is exactly how she enchanted me. What's more, our return to Australia at the end of the novel has the similar vibe, as our main characters take part in the Aboriginal event. It's pure magic! It's hard to describe it though so you just must read it!

In terms of the plot, the novel can be divided into two parts, the first of which focuses primarily on the subject of David and Nicholas' wedding and all the things that go with it. I would even say that the author tried to bring out everything that is the best or exceptional in it. And so we have feverish preparations, enthusiastic plans for the near and distant future, problem of what to wear, as well as the whole range of emotions evoked by this event – joy, excitement, melting mood, embarrassment, fear. I admit that people who love this type of love stories will surely enjoy this part of the novel, while others may get a little bored. Nevertheless, I must point out that the author also develops the topic of possible difficulties that future spouses might come across as their civil partnership, although legal, will not be recognized as such everywhere in the world. The fact that to each problem presented by one of the protagonists the other one finds a reasonable solution, proves that Julie Bozza thought about the relationship between her characters really deeply and she really understands the situation they are in.

The second and in my opinion the best part of the "Of Dreams and Ceremonies" plot is the "secret of the circle". This part of the review won't be easy to write, as I don't want to reveal too much to you. However, I will do what I can to achieve the goal I have set for myself. So to the point! I admit that the way Nicholas reacts to the stories about the stone circle and his later behavior make the honeymoon part of the book have a good thriller vibe, which is undoubtedly a great advantage of this story. While reading we often come up with our own theories explaining the events taking place in the novel, and with impatience and thrill we look forward to its final part. However, at this point I must admit that we habitually expect a more "Americanized", effective ending, which we do not get. But taking into account the fact that our characters are not some American superheroes, but simple, ordinary people, the ending offered by the author is fully understandable and makes sense. It is also satisfying and doesn't leave anyone feeling unfulfilled, thanks to which this part of the novel definitely captures the reader's heart. Personally, I fell head over hills for their honeymoon and I can't wait for the moment when I will read this part of the novel again.

In "Of Dreams and Ceremonies" I also liked the fact that discovering his orientation, David needs time to get used to it and to get used to the changes it brings. Until now he considered himself to be heterosexual and this is exactly what shaped his approach to relationships, the way he sees himself and the awareness of how other people see him. Now, however, he must fully understand that regardless of his other half's gender, he is who he has always been, a man of flesh and blood, not a substitute for a woman. It may seem to us like something obvious, but it is not so simple. So many times I have heard the straight people asking questions like "Which of them/of you is a woman?" that I fully understand David's problem. I would even say that he must rediscover his own masculinity in the context of a relationship with another man. All this means that once again Dave is a very believable character who we could meet in the real world, not just in the work of fiction.

"Of Dreams and Ceremonies" is another worth reading and pretty good part of the "Butterfly Hunter" trilogy. The novel has a completely different vibe than the previous volume but I don't think that it lacks something because of it. It offers the readers the elements of a typical romance – however as for me it wasn't what I expected – as well as a bit of a thriller – and that's the part that fully conquered my heart. Therefore, it seems to me that more readers might take a fancy to this novel, depending on their literary preferences.

Headcanon: At least once a year, Nicholas and David spend their holidays in a haunted place and they try to solve it's mystery.

Fanfiction idea: Nicholas takes David on a date to the exquisite restaurant in the hotel where he books a room. On the spot, it turns out that the hotel is probably haunted. At night some strange noises are heard from the walls. David decides to check it out, and Nicholas, though terrified, goes with him. It turns out that before the renovation the hotel was a court full of secret corridors in which now lives a homeless man.

AU idea: Nicholas works as a wedding planner. During the meeting with one of his clients, Denise, he meets her friend David and begins to flirt with him openly until Dave agrees to go out on a date with him.

Julie Bozza


Here's some more about:

Series title: The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy
Author: Julie Bozza
Covers Artist: Gayna Murphy

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Check out the brand new covers for Julie Bozza's Butterfly Hunter Trilogy.


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The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring

The Butterfly Hunter Trilogy [Boxed Set]

About the Author

Julie Bozza is an English-Australian hybrid who is fuelled by espresso, calmed by knitting, unreasonably excited by photography, and madly in love with Amy Adams and John Keats.

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