A.F. Henley, Less Than Three Press

Music Is Its Own Language In A.F. Henley’s “Sonata”

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen

Ian James is thirty-six years old, working at a job for which the prospects of advancement seem pretty slim, people won’t stop taking advantage of him—or just plain taking him for granted—and he’s just gone through a bad break up with his cheating boyfriend, who finally left him for “Guy #3”.

Suffice it to say that in the major scale of life, Ian’s has hit some pretty sour notes.

Hanging out in bars isn’t his idea of a great time, but that’s exactly where he finds himself the night he meets Jordan, a guy who doesn’t look old enough to drink let alone be in a public bathroom propositioning guys for sex. But, again, that’s exactly where Ian finds himself—in a stall trying to make a personal connection with a guy who just wants to get off and get out, no strings attached. It’s all fairly disheartening and humiliating for Ian, and though he gave Jordan his business card, he’s not holding his breath that he’ll ever hear from the guy again.

And, of course, that’s precisely when the universe decides to chime in. Whether you call it fate, destiny, cosmic interference, coincidence, synchronicity, or just plain old karma, Ian and Jordan’s worlds suddenly shrink to the smallest of spheres, one in which they keep meeting unintentionally, much to Jordan’s resentment, but will eventually discover a bond in Jordan’s son Cole, a boy with a disability that has left him little more than a prisoner within himself.

Cole suffers from Asperger Syndrome, an affliction on the autism spectrum that makes any sort of interaction with him next to impossible, and often leaves the boy in an agitated state of inconsolable chaos. It’s through music that Ian is finally able to make a connection with Cole; it’s through Cole that Ian is finally able to reach Jordan, and it’s not long before Ian finds himself tangled in a wickedly complicated web of lies and evasions that brings Ian, Jordan, and Cole to the brink of crisis.

Sonata is a piece that begins seductively, is tempered with disharmony, and builds to a crescendo that left me more than a little shaken by its twists and revelations before it was done. A.F. Henley sets a measured pace in the telling of this story, one filled with deception and betrayal and falling in love while falling for the lies that build to a frenetic climax, then ends on a sweet note that left me wanting more.

This is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if you’re looking for a single-sitting-read filled with highs and lows and the in-betweens where love grows.

Reviewed by: Lisa

You can buy Sonata here:


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