Reviewed by T.L. Brown on Goodreads
It’s as if the author’s pen danced across the page.
Elen Chase’s writing is wonderfully lyrical. I was swept away by her expressive voice from the very beginning of “When We Were Sea and Stars.” It was a lovely enhancement to an already tender love story.
And it IS a tender story – of a hurting heart and a hungry one.
Readers will identify with the longing felt by James, not only for Roberto, but for a way to be someone worthy of love. There might even be readers who can understand the exhausting desire to wipe away past attempts to find love and acceptance. Remember yourself at 19? Even mild embarrassments felt like earthquakes. The ground under James’ feet became brittle following brutal experiences at the hands of others – and sometimes his own.
Readers will understand Roberto – older and presumably with a firmer grasp on what it means to settle into adulthood. In his mid-20s, he still questions his choices, believing he should be able to accept the status quo of his life. And yet, he feels something is missing. Roberto’s struggles are universal, and the reader may even identify with looking around and thinking: Is this who I am? Is this who I want to be?
Chase brings together a struggling young man and another who questions his own life’s path. Both need to experience real love, and moving past the first pangs of lust, they begin to find it.
For a writer, it must be challenging to use explicit dialogue and yet convey a depth of vulnerability and compassion between characters at the very same time. This seems effortless for Chase. Without dipping into depravity – even during some rough recollections by a wounded man – Chase allows us to feel deeply for the character instead of reacting to descriptions of past sexual indiscretions.
Some readers will hold this book and remember their own first loves… their own unrequited loves… and maybe even fondly, the love that wasn’t meant to be, but makes you smile a bit when you take a moment to remember your young self all those years ago. I know I did.
“When We Were Sea and Stars” gets an easy 5-stars from this reader. I fell in love early and hard for Chase’s book. If you seek a love story that not only takes you back to your own first adventures into the heart, but also paints a vivid picture of staying open to possibilities, then this romance is for you. Go out and get it. Don’t let it slip away!