Pre-release Review: Sonata by A. F. Henley

Posted: July 17, 2013 by sidlove in 3.5 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Elizabetta's Reviews
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Reviewed by Elizabetta

SonataTITLE: Sonata
AUTHOR: A. F. Henley
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
BLURB: At thirty-six Ian feels done with the world. When a night at a bar goes as poorly as expected, he wants only to return home to be miserable in peace. Instead, he encounters Jordan. Hot, young and interested, Jordan is everything Ian’s ever wanted and nothing he believes himself capable of actually obtaining.

Jordan has enough going on in his life trying to scrape together a living for himself and his autistic son. When he meets Ian, all he wants is a brief, erotic moment and nothing else.

But fate throws them together again and again, and Ian finds himself determined to do whatever it takes to give their story a happy ending – no matter what secrets Jordan’s past has waiting for him.


I’ve been stewing for days over this review, back and forth, forth and back.

I’ll start off by saying that there is a lot to like in this book, some moments that pulled at my heart. I’ll try to explain just why I didn’t love this. I really, really wanted to…

For starts, Ian is a desperate man, he’s wants a meaningful relationship with someone, anyone. He’s thirty-six, attractive, has a great career, except… he can’t seem to find that just-right someone. (why, oh why? He certainly seems eligible, no big skels in the closet). So, what does he do? He goes hunting at a gay bar. Where everyone knows you find meaningful interaction– and he finds it in a bathroom stall. Sarcasm aside– Ian feels out of place and out of time– maybe because he is.

“His clothes screamed out the warning of too-old-to-be-cool and yet still too young to be the daddy replacement the rest were looking for… Twenty-five or fifty-five, anything in between is simply viral.”

Ian does manage a hook-up with gorgeous Jordan in said bathroom stall, and he thinks he’s found the One. Jordan (let’s call him J), who is so young, so twenty-two, and so marvelously, sexually uninhibited and responsive, but seems to have some issues of his own.

Ian: “Do I know you?”
Jordan: “Nope… perfect, right?”
I: “I… I’m Ian… what’s your name?”
J: “Nobody.”
I: “Tell me your name…”
J: “Jordan… are we done bonding now? Let’s fuck…”

… and afterwards…

I: “Can I buy you a drink?”
J: “Nope… now you can piss off.”
I: “Maybe your number? I could call you sometime?”
J: “Nope.”

Yeah, that “and afterwards” is an abrupt cut-away from the sex scene. The very first one between Ian and J, and then we jump to post-coitus. Say, whhhaahttt?

Despite J’s less than fuzzy response to him, Ian is smitten. The story bounces around from the bar scene to a series of chance meetings between the two where J continues to play cold but Ian insinuates himself into J’s life (and tries really, really hard NOT to come off as all stalker-ish and creepy-like). He discovers that J has an eight-year-old son (you do the math), Cole, who is autistic (Asperger’s syndrome). There is so much mystery that surrounds J and Cole that you know Ian (a whizz-brilliant analytical mind) should very quickly figure out that Something. Does Not. Add UP.

But love is blind and J is so hot, and a slut for it, and there is a need there, and Ian wants him so bad.

“Sometimes you just know right away. There’s this…connection. You don’ know why, hell, you don’t even care. You just know that somehow, someway, you were supposed to know this person. That they’re important to you. And if it doesn’t happen, if something gets in the way, you’ll have missed more than you’ll ever know.”

This is what grabs me… Ian’s passion, his systematic breaking down of J’s barriers until he gets his relationship (mostly based on sex, they are smoking hot together), and his desire to take care of J and Cole. I eventually got into Ian’s determination, his fixation…

“I’ll believe you, Ian thought, when your eyes don’t watch every move my mouth makes. When your face doesn’t soften every time I kiss your skin. When you stop avoiding my eyes just so I won’t see the need in yours.”

And, meanwhile, Ian discovers a strong response to classical music in little Cole. It’s the one thing that breaks through to him, soothes the hysterics. J appreciates Ian’s interaction with Cole and Ian becomes more endearing for his selfless caring, for this important connection– it’s psychological as well as visceral.

There are some wonderful bits and pieces– well done moments of intimacy and intensity. (It even reminded me a little of Giselle Ellis’ wonderful Take my Picture another quirky story about two guys who are all rough around the edges and have to fight to fit together.) But, I have an issue with the stitching together of all the pieces. It was a frustrating journey. It felt like reading in fits and starts with abrupt scene changes and odd character actions. There were splashes of intensity that drifted to WTF-ery. Ian’s discovery of the mystery behind J and Cole forces an important decision on him with a resolution that seemed a bit too pat towards the inevitable HEA. This was an ambitious story with a lot of things going on in it; while the execution was less than fluid, there were those memorable moments. I will be checking out more of this author’s stuff.

Elizabetta’s Rating: 535px-3-5_stars-svg


Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: ELIZABETTA’S REVIEWS

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  1. Ilhem says:

    I love your review, it’s funny and helpful. It’s frustrating when you have this feeling that everything had to fit the plan at all cost.

  2. AF Henley says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to review. 😀

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