Twenty years ago, Jacquie Lyon left the small town of Skala Eressos with a broken heart. At the tender age of 17 she professed her love for one of her teachers only to have it rebuffed. She fled to Cambridge University and the safety of a life in academia. After twenty years, when she finds out her foolish indiscretion cost her dear Ms Rowland her job, she returns to the island where she grew up to make amends for her actions.
Dorothy Rowland came to the island as a young mother to pursue a stable life with her daughter. Teaching was her greatest joy. When a stolen moment with a student costs her the job she loves, she’s not sure what her future will look like.
When Jac turns up at her house, Dot is immediately drawn to the woman Jac has become. Jac’s feelings for Dot have never changed. Dot decides to pursue this last chance at love despite what the prying eyes of the small village might think.
Just as the two women settle into their profound and passionate new relationship, Dot receives news that the annoying cough she’s been dealing with is much more serious than she thought.
Jac’s devotion to Dot doesn’t have and expiration date, but Dot has other ideas. Will she allow Jac to stay with her in her last days or will her desire to do “the right thing” send Jac back to Cambridge? Dot has one last chance at love. Will she make the most of it?
Despite Dot being old enough to be Jac’s mother, they complimented each other beautifully. Jac is full of confidence and bravado, but underneath she’s a true romantic. I loved her steadfastness towards Dot. It’s as if Dot was in the back of Jac’s mind every moment of the twenty years she was living in England. Jac is true and strong, and the tenderness she shows Dot is a thing of beauty.
Dot blossoms with Jac’s love. She’s denied herself the opportunity to pursue a romantic relationship, placing her daughter and teaching position first. When she finally relents and lets Jac into her heart it’s like she fully comes to life. It’s heartbreaking when she learns of her medical diagnosis, but due to the love Jac has brought into her life, she’s able to face it with a certain amount of acceptance. Her decisions are based on preserving her dignity and enjoying what time she has left with Jac.
The Writing Style
The story is told from both women’s points of view and watching them fall in love is touching and poignant. The book has a languid feel to it. The reader gets the pleasure of being present as Jac and Dot explore their feelings for each other. Watching Dot open her heart to Jac is very moving. Skyborne does a lovely job including the reader in their intimate story.
My Favourite Parts
I enjoyed being immersed in the culture of the tiny Greek island and learning about the ancient Greek poets. Jac and Dot’s relationship mirrors the love and loss found in these early writings, and I thought this reflected the depth of their love.
While this is a lovely romance, the main characters don’t get to ride off into the sunset together. I know that’s a deal breaker for many readers when choosing romances. Also, when Dot rejects Jac, she seeks solace in the arms of her best friend from childhood. That’s a nice way of saying there’s infidelity in the book.
This was a bittersweet read for me. The love between Jac and Dot is so pure. Once they are together, the tenderness between them is beautiful. I think they were soul mates connecting over the course of many lifetimes. It’s hard when your main characters don’t get to have their happily ever after. In this case, Jac and Dot get to experience a love that’s the defining experiences of their lives. I’m glad I got to be a witness to their story, and the opportunity for introspection the book allowed me.
Excerpt from Sealed with a Kiss: Lesvos Island Collection by Sam Skyborne
She stepped forward and pressed her lips on Ms Rowland’s.
At first Ms Rowland didn’t move, not even to breathe. Then, Jac felt a hand press lightly into the back of her head and Ms Rowland’s lips part just a little, until finally they dissolved into the most exquisite kiss Jac could have imagined.
Jac’s heart soared, and she was about to step closer and take Ms Rowland into her arms when she felt two hands firmly rest on, and then grip, her shoulders and begin to push her away.
Confused, Jac opened her eyes. It didn’t make sense. One minute, Ms Rowland was kissing her back and now she was pushing her away!
In front of her Ms Rowland stood with her eyes still closed, breathing heavily, holding Jac at arm’s length. With an almost imperceptible shake of her head came the soft but resolute utterance.
“Jac, I can’t.” She opened her eyes.
Desperate for something to make sense, Jac took a step back and searched Ms Rowland’s face.
Ms Rowland slowly shook her head and turned back to the sink. “I think it’s time for you to go.”
“I mean it, Jac.” Dot said softly but more sternly. “I think you need to leave now.” She picked up the cup she’d been washing earlier.
“But Ms Rowland, I thought—”
Ms Rowland began to shake her head, stopping the words on Jac’s lips. Then she turned slowly back to face Jac, but stayed leaning against the sink, crossing her arms.
“What did you think, Jac?” Ms Rowland asked.
The seriousness of the question made Jac take another involuntary step backwards.
“Did you really think? Because, Jacquie Lyon, from where I’m standing it does not look like it.” Her voice was unnervingly calm. “You are my student. I’m your teacher.” Ms Rowland waited for the words to sink in. “Do you know how inappropriate this is?”
“But, I’m not your student anymore,” Jac protested, meekly.
Ms Rowland nodded. “Yes, technically, but I still have a duty of care for you.” She shook her head. “Jac, other than that, I’m also more than double your age. I’m a mother with a daughter. You are a school girl. You have your whole life ahead of you! In a few weeks you will be going to university, back in England.”
“I don’t care about any of that!” Jac shook her head fiercely. “I love you.” Even before the words had left her lips, she regretted them slipping out like that. She had dreamed of a thousand wonderful ways in which to say them, none of them like this.
Ms Rowland stood so still that Jac began to wonder if she had actually heard what Jac had said.
Finally, Ms Rowland dropped her head and took a deep breath. When she looked up again, Jac saw her guard was back up. Jac was locked out once more. Jac’s heart cracked. There was a cold resoluteness about Ms Rowland when she finally spoke. “Well, Jac, I don’t love you.” The words hit Jac like a freight train.
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Sealed with a Kiss
Sealed with a Swim
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9798670577335
- Publisher: Indie author
- Sam Skyborne Online
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