Author: Brandon Shire
Publisher: TPG Books
Pages/Word Count: 164 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Martin Zoric had vivid dreams of fatherhood, of a small hand pressed to his, of pink dresses and girlish laughter. Then his wife had a stillbirth and his world fell apart. He listened to the unwanted apologies, stood by his wife as was expected of him, and kept his façade strong and firm for the entire world to see.
But does he have the strength let go and really grieve?
When Ren Wakahisa landed in Croatia he was hoping to escape the cultural pressures put on him to conform. His family wanted him to forsake love for duty. They viewed his happiness as secondary to familial prosperity.
Does he have the courage to be who he wants to be? Or, will he yield to their wishes?
Summer Symphony is the story of how two men find their answers and what they learn about strength, and grace, and the endurance of love.
Review: Lyrical. That is the word I would use to best describe Summer Symphony by Brandon Shire. When you look for the definition of the word as it applies to a writer, it describes how the writer expresses his emotions in an “imaginative and beautiful way.” I am not sure I could find a better way to express how this story is written.
Martin Zoric is a broken man. His heart has ceased to feel any emotion other than raw and debilitating pain, even as he seeks to somehow find a way to grieve for his lost child. He and his wife live as shadows, barely able to connect, definitely unable to comfort the other. When she leaves him, Martin sees it as his final loss, his final failure, and systematically begins to dismantle any life he has left. But his career as conductor and composer must wait to completely dissolve until after the concert series with renowned pianist Ren Wakahisa ends. Then, and only then, will Martin be able to fully let go and somehow see if he can manage to survive the life-shattering despair that has gripped him ever since his wife miscarried the daughter he already loved.
Ren is gay. Raised in an oppressive society where the son must carry on the traditions and honor of the family, he is expected to marry and produce an heir. To fail to do so would bring unutterable grief and shame to his mother and his sister. But Ren cannot bend his life to conform to a half existence that is ultimately a lie. In Croatia, he will meet a man who holds the key to easing his doubts and healing his soul. Together Martin and Ren will create such music that will bring an audience to their feet, and whose melody will sweep away the chains that hold both these men in half lives that threaten to destroy their very souls.
Lyrical. Profoundly moving. Redemptive and glorious. All of these adjectives barely do justice to the incredibly beautiful prose that Brandon Shire creates to tell his story. This is a tale that goes beyond simple definition. Rather, it is a study in grief and longing and how raw emotion affects how we live and how we manage to move through each day. There is both passion and pain in Summer Symphony. We can feel the burden that Martin carries like a shroud draped over his shoulders. We come to understand that the very music, which once set his spirit free, now threatens to drown him in a well of sadness and despair.
When Ren arrives, he reaches into that well and shines just enough light to help Martin find his way back. As they fall under the spell of the incredible music they create together, their hearts seek each other out and they begin to heal the dark places inside both of them. This is a bittersweet love story with an ending that will leave you with both tears of sadness and great hope for the future. But the journey my friends, oh, the journey is sublime.
Summer Symphony is not your typical M/M romance; but it is an incredible story of love and healing that will leave you completely shredded by novel’s end. There is such strength in this author’s writing, and there is also such hope. I highly recommend this novel to you. Lyrical…beautiful. A must read!
You can buy Summer Symphony here: