Book Reviews

Stitch (Gothika 1, Anthology) at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Paranormal / Fantasy / Steampunk / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 24-June-2014

Book Blurb

When a certain kind of man is needed, why not make him to order? Such things can be done, but take care: Much can go wrong—but then, sometimes it can go wonderfully right. Imagine...

In The Golem of Mala Lubovnya, a seventeenth century rabbi creates a man of clay to protect the Jews, and the golem lives a life his maker never imagined, gaining a name—Emet—and the love of a good man, Jakob Abramov. But their love may not survive when Emet must fulfill his violent purpose.

In Watchworks, Luke Prescott lives as a gentleman in a London that never was. His unique needs bring him to famed watchmaker Harland Wallace. Romance might blossom for them if Harland can come to terms with loving a man and keeping him safe.

In Made for Aaron, a young man in an asylum for being gay met the love of his life, Damon Fox. Twenty years later, Aaron thinks his life is over when Damon dies and then disappears from the hospital. Aaron is determined to find the truth, but secrets hide the unthinkable.

Reparations unfolds on the harsh planet of Kalan, where weakness cannot be tolerated. When Edward needs help, his life becomes entwined with exceptional cyborg slave, Knox. But when Knox remembers things he shouldn’t know, the two may pay a blood price for their taboo alliance.


Book Review

A dear friend of mine (you know who you are) can't read anything scary or disturbing. I adore it, which is why I'm always the one reading zombie apocalypse and serial killer stories. I'm just slightly twisted that way. Apparently, so are authors Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, Eli Easton, and Kim Fielding, as they've written this anthology of stories entitled 'Stitch', a play on the Frankenstein myths. I was deliriously happy to read it and adored every moment of spine-tingling chills combined with moments of absolute beauty and heartbreak.

The Golem of Mala Lubovnya by Kim Fielding

The golem was created by the town's Rabbi to protect his congregation against power hungry men. But the golem grows lonely, living alone in the attic, only looking out the window at the world, watching people go by, and especially watching the father and sons building the house below. The youngest son, Jakob, a stone mason, the golem watches particularly intensely. He seems lonely, too, even though he is surrounded by family and can walk about in the world. The golem is left in the attic for a long time and he wonders if his master has forgotten about him.

Then it seems that danger might come to Mala Lubovnya, so the Rabbi lets his people know about the golem. That is how the golem ends up working outside with Jakob, helping Jakob to build his home. Jakob calls him Emet, which means 'truth', and is what the Rabbi stenciled into the golem's clay chest. Jakob and Emet become friends and Emet begins to learn why Jakob is so sad all the time. For, you see, Jakob is not interested in girls and this is a sin against his God. Emet doesn't understand how two people loving each other could be worse than hate and violence, but he keeps his questions to himself, just happy to spend time with Jakob. And Emet and Jakob fall in love. Soon the violence comes to their village and it is up to Emet to fulfill his duty.

Kim Fielding is a much loved author of mine because of the beauty in her writing. In this short story 'The Golem of Mala Lubovnya', the author has created an incredible story, not just of love, but of life and what it means to live it.

Watchworks by Jamie Fessenden

I couldn't help but be reminded of Johnny Depp in 'Edward Scissorhands' when I started reading about Luke Prescott. Luke has a prosthetic/mechanical arm which has broken. His employer, Dr. Stewart, has become too old and his hands too arthritic to be able to fix Luke's arm. Which is why Dr. Stewart has retained the services of prominent watchmaker Harland Wallace. Harland is shocked when he discovers what he is to work on, but feels it's only fair to help the poor man. Little does Harland know the full extent of what he's getting himself into.

Harland is beyond traumatized when he discovers that Luke isn't a man, at all, but the most advanced automaton Dr. Stewart could build. Besides this fact, Harland is horrified to discover he feels arousal over this machine, this creature that isn't even a man. Harland tries to stay away but in the face of the doctor’s declining health, Harland is the only one who can properly care for Luke. It is during these times that Harland must face the fact that Luke may be a machine, but for all intents and purposes, he thinks, he feels, and he reasons, making him very attractive to Harland.

When the doctor passes away from his illness, the servants attack and desecrate Luke in their fear and hatred of him. Luckily for Harland, the doctor leaves everything to Harland in his will, thus ensuring that Luke will be taken care of. However, Harland must repair the damage done to Luke, to the man he's grown to love, before they can move forward.

An utterly fascinating addition to this book, Jamie Fessenden gave me a story to think about, to ponder what makes us who we are, and to wonder whether a soul can live within a machine. I greatly enjoyed this story and will need to look for more works by this author.

Reparation by Eli Easton

I'm a true fan of science fiction and of Eli Easton, so I was not surprised, in the least, that she delivered such an incredible addition to this anthology. Edward is a spore farmer on his home world of Kalan, a harsh and desolate planet that can kill the weak in an instant. After a carriage accident, Edward is rescued by Knox, one of his recon laborers, half man and half machine. Knox is different from the other recons whom Edward employs. Knox almost looks human, he can read, and he seems to recall bits and pieces of knowledge from the human part of him who lived before. This is not normal for reconstituted slaves, built from machines and human remains of executed prisoners, cyborgs, essentially.

Because of Edward's injuries from the accident, and the loss of his right-hand man, he takes a chance and asks Knox to manage the spore harvest, overseeing the other laborers too, while Edward works the factory. Edward also insists that Knox move into the house from the barracks to now separate him from the other slaves. Winter begins, the workdays grow shorter, and Edward and Knox's time together in the evenings in front of the fire, reading, talking, playing chess, grows longer. The attraction they both feel intensifies. But, as the days go by, Knox's memories become more clear and he understands that he was a prisoner, executed, and his brain put into a different body. Knox remembers his other body and begins to know who he was, before. Unfortunately, who Knox was before is the reason that Edward lost his father and his brother and why he is all alone now struggling to run the farm.

What an incredible story! I loved every minute of it, Eli. Knox and Edward are amazing characters and their love story is sublime. A true tale of heartache and redemption.

Made for Aaron by Sue Brown

Aaron's parents had him committed to an insane asylum when he was a teenager because Aaron is a homosexual. It wasn't illegal to be gay, but his parents were very religious and they had a lot of influence and money so people looked the other way. In the asylum is where Aaron met and fell in love with Damon, a nurse. They've been together for over eighteen years and have now married and made a life and a home together. Until Aaron receives a call from the hospital that Damon has been in a car accident and Aaron needs to get there as soon as possible. Except, when Aaron gets there, Damon is gone. He has disappeared. Damon was pronounced dead at the hospital and forty-five minutes later, he got up and walked out.

Strangely enough, just a day after Damon's Lazarus routine, their home is burglarized and trashed. The police are investigating but it all seems rather odd. What I thought was unusual was that Aaron and Damon didn't have any friends or family, no one Aaron can call for help or support. They both devoted their lives solely to one another. Damon appears to be the only person Aaron ever needed, and because of Aaron's trauma with the asylum, Damon took the role of gently asserting dominance over Aaron in decision making and dealing with any authority figures. A picture begins to form for the police and Aaron. A picture that shows there is no record of Damon existing before he met Aaron, no record of his graduating from nursing school, no family, no prior jobs. No life.

Oh how I would love to tell you what Aaron discovered, but, I can't. You're going to have to read this incredible final story in the book to get the answers. Believe me when I say, I thought it was going one way and then it zigged and zagged in a whole new direction. Absolutely fabulous, Sue!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Anthology/ 4 novellas, 294 pages/91306 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-April-2014