Reviewed by Shelley
AUTHOR: A. F. Henley
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 48000 words
BLURB: Dustin gave up on being worthy of anyone’s affections a long time ago, drowning his problems in substance abuse and meaningless encounters. He has learned it’s better to avoid love altogether than risk the inevitable moment when it all comes crashing down.
Nicolæ has neither eyesight nor excess, but he does have a wealth of family and intuition. He is nothing that Dustin would have anticipated in a potential lover, but the more Dustin discovers, the more he finds himself willing to accept the risk – even if his conscience and the people in his life keep warning him away.
There’s something magical about Înflori … and his name is Nicolæ.
Out of the rain and gloom of a grey day comes a tinkling of bells, followed by the bewitching presence of a blind gypsy stranger offering an unexpected act of kindness. It’s just a cup of tea but it’s the man offering it and what he says, that leaves an inerasable impression on Dustin.
“Try to keep in mind that the sun still shine behind the clouds”(…)
“Simple, something you might say to a child, that the sun still existed behind the cloud cover, but the meaning kept hitting Dustin at the most random moments.” …
Dustin is our morose narrator; he’s tired, he’s damaged, and just … empty. All of his relationships seem to start and finish in a bathroom stall, no kissing, and no names or perhaps he’s too far gone to recall them. Yes, he’s one of those … but hang on, because there is a good reason for it all and when Dustin decides to seek out the enigmatic gypsy, his life begins to take on a new meaning. He just has to believe in the possibilities and trust … but it scares him to death, and it’s going to take a big hunk of something special to get there.
“He kept asking himself: are you there, sun? Behind the clouds in my eyes?”
Big in stature, bold in looks, his unpretentious life is as simple as sand. Nicolæ really couldn’t be more opposite than Dustin, and yet could he be Dustin’s hunk of special?
Nicolæ’s presence exudes an aura of all-knowing prophetic mysticism. He may not have his sight but there’s no one who sees better; his spooky intuition makes him a Prince of perception and just like Dustin, I was captivated by him. Nicolæ is just so freaking special it’s so hard not to fall for him!
“How do you know I’m watching you when you can’t even see me?” Nicolæ stifled a smirk, voice serious, expression not. “How does the deer know when to lift her head? How does the seed know when to sprout? Or the sun to shine?” “Pure fucking magic?” “Exactly.” Nicolæ chuckled.
For some reason Nicolæ finds Dustin captivating too. I mean, he can’t appreciate his good looks and won’t fall for Dustin’s well established throwaway game of seduction, and yet he sees a good man within. A man worth teaching and ultimately worth loving … maybe.
“You draw me, Dustin. But I have yet to understand if you draw me because you are beacon or because you are flame. And I have no desire in getting burned.” … “Can you control it?” Nicolæ’s hand felt heavy on his chest. “If it’s already started to burn?” … “Maybe not alone,” Nicolæ answered.
Înflori charmed me, Nicolæ enchanted me and Dustin grew on me. I need to congratulate A.F Henry for delivering a unique healing hearts story which allowed me to peek into the lives of the Roma gypsy’s. Their culture and superstitions have always aroused my fascination and perhaps this is what fuels my wonderment at meeting Nicolæ.
I could mention a few personal issues and plot weaknesses but the good outweighs the bad and I don’t want to steer you away from something special just because of some niggles. I recommend that you read this, it’s lovely. And please let me know if Nicolæ bewitches you too.
Shelley is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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