Book Reviews

Out of the Ashes by Olivia Duncan Craig at ODC Press

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Fairy Tales / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 08-November-2012

Book Blurb

Young Noah hadn't any idea how quickly his world could turn upside down. One minute, he was living, happy and secure, with a doting father and grandmother to look after him. The next, his father is dead, his grandmother is confined to her sickbed, and the only other family he has left is his new stepmother and her two children.

Taken far from his home, worked hard and hidden away from the world, Noah hasn't much to look forward to, growing up. Until one day, Matthew, a handsome neighbor, comes riding up to him like a knight on his charger.

It's love at first sight, at least as far as Noah is concerned.

Now all Noah has to do is make his Prince Charming aware he exists, triumph over his evil stepmother, and claim the love he so richly deserves. He may not have a fairy godmother helping him, but magic can come in many forms. The only question is--will it be enough to give Noah his happily ever after?

Book Review

Life is definitely cruel sometimes. One minute all is well and we're happy; then in the next, some tragic event comes along and our happiness and well-being disappears. Just like in the fairy tale of Cinderella, Noah, in 'Out of the Ashes' by Olivia Duncan Craig, loses first his mother, then his father. He ends up trapped in a nightmare complete with a wicked stepmother who makes him work like a slave, determined to squeeze every ounce of goodness out of his life. But Noah is far stronger than she anticipated. The firm foundation set in his formative years has already begun to shape the person he will become. Even though his future seems bleak, Noah doesn't break. Inside, he's still a sweet, loving, generous, nurturing person he's always intended to be.

The abuse that Noah endured broke my heart. I questioned how he could remain in that situation for so long undetected, but it was more than fear for himself that kept him in place; it was his incredible, abiding compassion for his grandmother which kept him from acting. That was who Noah is. He didn't give up, he kept going when other people would have crumpled. Even without formal schooling, he had more sense than those around him. Noah has a humility that makes him an admirable person to those who care to value it. He refuses to be 'no one' as his step-family often proclaims. He doesn't know how he will do it, but he intends to prove them wrong. When he meets Matthew, he sees in him a person who recognizes him as important, even special. Noah is wise enough to recognize that Matthew is genuine, different from the others around him, and that Matthew is someone he could love. This gives Noah the motivation to want to try harder to escape the prison he's in and strive for happiness.

I love Matthew. He's the opposite of a poster child for the rich and famous. He's unselfish, sensitive, caring, compassionate, and thoughtful. I adore his family as well; they are good people, loving and supportive, wanting the best for their son, even if they don't agree with his ideas. Matthew has all the advantages a young man could possibly have, yet, he's looking for more, something meaningful and fulfilling. When he meets Noah, he recognizes him as a special person, one he'd like to know better, but the time just isn't right. Even still, Noah makes a lasting impression on Matthew, one he never forgets. Even though he doesn't know who Noah is when he sees him again years later, there's still the sense of the person he's with being unique, special, and appealing to him in a way he can't explain.  

This is a very endearing love story. There's a lot of angst in it, but because of Noah's determination not to be a victim and not let himself be de-humanized, it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. Noah's a gem and so is Matthew and I couldn't resist cheering for both of them. I also couldn't resist hoping that Karma would take care of his step-family either. There are so many important lessons in this fairy-tale-like story, ones we all need to be mindful of, i.e., appreciating what you have, counting your blessings, treating everyone with respect, and respecting yourself. There are also moral lessons to the story—love conquers all and good is more powerful than evil. I'd recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy a heart warming story and loveable characters with indomitable spirits, and, of course, as with any fairy tale, a happily ever after ending. Thank you, Olivia, for introducing me to Noah and Matthew and allowing me share their journey to happiness.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 162 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-July-2012
Price $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
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