Author: Becky Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 62 Pages
At a Glance: I read Immutable with an eye for what the author was trying to teach, and that lesson seems to fall somewhere between the importance of honesty and the perils of selfishness.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: Every night, in the tiny cottage he shares with his dying mother, lonely young shepherd Callum dreams of having a lover by his side. A man to share his bed and his life. One day, as he gathers driftwood on the beach, he finds Breen, a beautiful, naked stranger. Breen makes love to him, leaving Callum certain he’s only a fantasy. But the stunning Breen is there again the next day—fulfilling Callum’s every wish. Then Callum’s hopes are shattered when he learns of Breen’s true nature. Panic and desperation drive Callum to commit a terrible betrayal to try to keep Breen from leaving him.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Review: Immutable has a fairy tale/folklore feel to it. Set on an island with old fashioned views, where everyone knows everyone, our main character, Callum, is unable to live his life fully and completely. He cares for his ailing mother until she dies, but in his time of darkness, he finds happiness in Breen, a stranger he found by the sea, who seems more than human.
I’m really glad the publisher provided a disclaimer that the story was bittersweet because it does not have a HEA or HFN. Since I was prepared for this, I wasn’t frustrated when the relationship between the two protagonists began to falter and ultimately failed. Instead, I read with an eye for what the author was trying to teach, and that lesson seems to fall somewhere between the importance of honesty and the perils of selfishness. As the story progressed, Callum was outright deceitful in an attempt to hold onto Breen. This made him rather unlikable, but since I knew the story was bittersweet, I was able to look past his selfish choices.
Breen too was less than forthcoming about who he was, but as the story unfolded, we learned that his behavior was part of his nature. As a mystical creature of the sea, he would one day leave and not return. When Callum discovered this, he took steps to prevent that from happening, which, in turn, created animosity and disappointment between the two of them. Only at the end did he realize the error of his choices.
Even though Callum did not end up with his love, he didn’t crumple to pieces and face an eternity of empty despair. The author leaves us with the idea that our central character, Callum, will go into the world a wiser person and, with some luck, will find the happiness he’d not found before. But we are also left with a sense of disappointment in him for having manipulated another person in order to suit his own needs. Even out of insecurity and longing for companionship, true love does not manifest itself in the form of trapping or compelling others to do things.
For me, this was a flaw in the story. Once Callum behaved selfishly, disregarding the needs of the man he loved, it became difficult for me to continue liking him and caring about the relationship. I was glad Breen left in the end, and hope Callum will remember the importance of honesty and the importance of giving rather than taking when in a relationship.