It is a different sort of world where tiny digitalized countdown chips are placed beneath the thumbnail of every infant. You meet your soul mate when your clock reaches zero.
There is a 1 in 1000 chance that your clock can speed up, which is what happens to Chelsea Cavanaugh. She’s known Daisy Yuen for quite some time, both best friends to another Rose Road couple. But where Daisy is dark, Goth, and artistic, Chelsea is nearly the opposite with her southern perfection and cheerleader looks.
Both are so very different yet each one carries pain inside them from their own brand of rough childhood. Each one wonders if there was a mistake made somewhere that put the two of them together as they try to navigate their transformation from friends to more.
Okay, to start I wasn’t really sure what to think of the characters. They were so incredibly different. Daisy is an artist who works for a popular video game company. It’s a steady job with decent money. She lives with her best friend from high school, Aiden Maar. Aiden is the damaged bad boy that everyone warns you about, former thief, bartender, and pained soul, he is a fighter as much as he is a lover. Some would have seen it as a cruel joke that his Rose Road was one Shannon Wurther, a police detective in Laguna Beach.
Chelsea is a doctor who transplanted herself from a small town in Georgia all the way to Laguna Beach. She was raised to be the perfect daughter. She got perfect grades, was a cheerleader dating the football captain, a sorority girl, and had a successful career as a surgeon working for her dad. But perfection is only a layer of paint and her snippy attitude and abrasive personality was off-putting to most. She was only in California because only one person ever made her feel safe and loved and that was her ex-boyfriend from high school and best friend, Shannon Wurther. The two were full of southern charm and about as different from their Rose Roads as you could get. And while the book has a good bit of the guys in it, it’s mostly to compliment the women. Shannon and Aiden have been paired longer and try to guide Daisy and Chelsea through their new and frightening journey.
The Writing Style
This is where the book truly captivated me and pulled me through the story like a thread through the eye of a needle. It wasn’t a simple story told with simple words like I expected to find. This was prose in its most beautiful form. Each woman has pain in their past and fear of secrets long held. Each one delves into their head and thoughts and pulls out something new every time. I bought the first book in the series even though it is about the two men, Shannon and Aiden. However, I purposely started with this book to make sure the story would stand alone. It absolutely does. You will find so many lines, so many paragraphs that will caress you from the inside. They are like color bursting forth from the horizon at dusk. The lines and letters of each sentence are a symphony playing your favorite song. And when I read them they sit inside my head and heart the way a good full-bodied wine will coat your tongue and back of your throat.
The beautiful, descriptive writing drew me into this novel from the very beginning. Taylor Brooke has a way with prose that I’ve rarely seen and always treasured. I loved that the characters were so real and flawed in different ways. They had secrets, they had pain, and all four were linked in unexpected ways. The author doesn’t write drama and angst just for the sake of plot fluff. They accurately looked at the premise of meeting one’s soul mate unexpectedly and addressed the obvious concerns. What if the person you are destined to be with isn’t who you expect, isn’t who you were raised to expect? What if you are both broken and unsure how your pieces will fit together? Taylor Brooke wrote convincing people, and made you love them for their flaws and their laughter.
There are references to past abuse, specifically childhood abuse for one character, and attempted rape of another. The attempted rape was not on one of the women, not that it is any less horrible but it may be less traumatizing for women reading it. They aren’t described in detail, merely referenced as past events. They are secrets that come out during the course of the novel. Also, as much as I loved the beautiful writing, Taylor Brooke did have a few extremely long sentences. It didn’t affect my reading pleasure in the slightest, but some may be annoyed by it.
It is really difficult to put into words how full I felt when I finished reading this novel. It’s like listening to the most beautiful music then going up on stage and trying to follow that act. How can I use my own words to describe how beautifully Taylor Brooke told the story of two women’s unexpected love when my words fail in comparison? If you like vivid, nearly poetic description, you may just love this book. But beyond that, the story is deep and well-written and the characters are deserving of a reader’s gaze. And the love that you will find as you dive into Chelsea and Daisy’s story is worth every second you spend traipsing your way through the book.
Excerpt from Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke
Daisy grabbed a coffee cup and filled it. She didn’t bother with cream or sugar. “Did I do anything stupid?”
“You pierced Aiden’s ear.” Chelsea shrugged.
“Okay, yeah, but like, you know, anything really stupid. Did I puke on anyone?”
Chelsea laughed in her throat and shook her head. “No, you were fine. You just cried a lot and held Mercy against her will for a couple hours.”
Daisy leaned against the fridge across from Chelsea and nodded slowly. “That’s good.”
“How much longer do you have?”
“I’m scared to look.”
“Could be anytime now, huh?”
“Yeah, Charm School, any time.” Daisy grumbled.
“I’m scared too,” Chelsea said softly. “I only have one more day to go.”
“Are you afraid you’ll be disappointed?”
Chelsea shook her head. Her crystalline eyes looked at everything other than Daisy. Unlike Aiden, and even unlike Shannon, Chelsea wore her faults in looks and passing glances. Every once in a while, she would let her emotions crack behind her eyes—a glacier fracturing in warm waters—before she could steel herself against it, and everyone would know if Chelsea was hurt or pissed or happy.
Daisy knew people from a perspective most didn’t bother with. She watched them the way she watched her own drawings and painting come to life. If Chelsea was one of her sketchbook creations, she would be made up of hard strokes from a densely packed paintbrush and scratches from a sharp quill pen.
“I’m afraid of being the disappointment,” Chelsea confessed.
Daisy though it might have been a lie, but it sounded like the truth. “What do I do now…? Do I go to the grocery store? To the beach? To work? I mean, what’s the protocol for this shit?”
“Go wherever you want to; fate will turn up in the right place at the right time.” Chelsea could’ve been reading from a script. Daisy wasn’t convinced that Chelsea believed her own bullshit, and if she did, she’d been spoon-feeing it to herself for long enough to stomach the taste.
Daisy lifted a brow and took a sip of her hot coffee. She thought of everything she wanted—to brush her teeth, to hide under a blanket until her Camelia Clock gave up, to go back in time and stop Vance from doing what he’d done.
Chelsea’s voice lowered into something sweeter, and she smiled, mouth stained with leftover red lipstick. “Do you want me to help you get ready? Fix your hair? Do your nails?” She paused to grin; pretty white teeth gleamed against her beige skin. This Chelsea, calm and genuine, was familiar in a way that relaxed Daisy. It reminded her of when they’d jumped off the cliff on Aiden’s birthday and the hours after, as their adrenaline settled and they watched the sunset in shared silence. Chelsea had never seemed more at ease than that night.
Chelsea went on to bat at the air with one hand. “I mean, not that it matters what you look like, whoever will lo—”
Daisy had never heard a sound like the gasp and choke that left Chelsea’s mouth. Her throat caught around the rest of what she was about to say, conjuring a wounded breath, as if she’d been kicked in the stomach.
The silence that followed pressed on Daisy’s shoulders, weighing her down. It hurt and it didn’t. It surprised her and it didn’t. It made sense and it absolutely didn’t.
Warmth spread from Daisy’s thumb into her wrist, vibrated her palm, tingled her elbow.
Chelsea’s coffee mug shattered on the kitchen tile.
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The Camellia Clock Cycle
Book 1: Fortitude Smashed (m/m) Curved Horizon can be read as a stand alone
Book 2: Curved Horizon
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781945053542
- Publisher: Interlude Press
Taylor Brooke Online
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The last time I felt this way about the emotion of a book was after reading None So Blind by L.J. Maas. But I wouldn’t necessarily this book was similar. It is definitely in a category of its own.
Note: I received a free review copy of Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site