Author: Hayden Thorne
Pages/Word Count: 57 Pages
At a Glance: Haunting and beautiful, Primavera will make you believe in the infinite power of love.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Images of a young man who died in a dreadful manner suddenly haunt the dreams of eighteen-year-old Adam Cassidy. Even more disturbing are Adam’s suspicions regarding those dreams’ significance. They started the night he came out to his parents, and, somehow, Adam once knew that boy and had something to do with his death.
The situation’s compounded when the shy and cloistered Adam turns to the church and prayers for guidance and solace. He sees the boy from his dreams, who, in turn, leads him to an old church that feels familiar to Adam. The feeling deepens once he enters the church and meets a nameless man who appears to be waiting for him in its shadows.
The longer Adam grapples with his religious parents’ shame and disappointment, the more elaborate and disturbing his dreams become until he realizes they’re relating a story that happened centuries ago. One that ended in tragedy and yet offers hope for a second chance at happiness if only Adam could unravel the tangled mystery of the church and its lonely caretaker while struggling under the pressure of denying himself to appease his parents.
“Blessed be the day, and the month, and the year, and the season, and the time, and the hour, and the moment.” – Francesco Petrarca
Review: Gorgeous. Hayden Thorne’s Primavera is simply that: gorgeous.
In a departure from her young adult fiction, this novella takes on a new adult tone in both its themes and its sexual content, telling a story of redemption and second chances set within both the contemporary and historical backdrop of 21st century California and 18th century Venice. This contrast works to set up not only the mysticism of the story but also to juxtapose the climate of the past—when Andrea and Paolo met and became lovers—and the present—when Luke and Adam met and went on to fulfill a destiny that’d been forged centuries before.
Adam’s coming out to his conservative and devoutly Catholic parents is the catalyst for their son’s journey, as they encourage him to “pray the gay away” and confess the sin of his desires in order to get beyond what certainly must be a simple crisis of faith. The story’s concurrent and conflicting themes of disapproval and acceptance cross the boundaries of time defy the laws of possibility, and broach the subject of the ingrained and dogmatic teachings of religion. In Adam’s confronting his sexuality, and accepting it in spite of his parents’ best efforts to subvert him, he is led to church. But, it’s a church unlike any he’s ever been to before. It’s the place where Adam finally meets Luke (outside of his own dreams), yet the church is itself a waking dream. It is the place where both young men will meet a mysterious stranger, a man who is looking for his own sense of peace and the forgiveness of a son he’d lost long ago. He will find that absolution by orchestrating a miracle.
The tone of this novella is bittersweet from start to finish, a contradiction of melancholy and happiness, as in life we all eventually learn that to gain we sometimes must lose. But through Adam’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance, there is also a thread of hope and optimism that love is, and will always be, the legacy of those who embrace it in all its forms—from the love of a father for his son to the love of one young man for another.
There is joy experienced through tears in Primavera—yes, you may want to have tissues handy while reading this beautiful story of a love that defies the physics of the universe. It is sensual and romantic, fantastical yet fully grounded in the reality of the expression of its message—that forgiveness and acceptance can heal, that faith in something that can’t be explained can be a leap well worth taking.
You can buy Primavera here: