“In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.” ― Jeanette Winterson
Title: Total Immersion
Author: Ellis Carrington
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 83 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Evan Stanton is in over his head. Injured from a fall on campus, he’s let his boyfriend talk him into a senior year total immersion trip—two weeks abroad—only his boyfriend ends up dumping him shortly before takeoff. Evan gets on the plane anyway, but he’s lost his hope and added to his pain.
Chris Bale decided to spend his senior year of college clearing his head after breaking up with the girl he’s dated since high school. He finds himself on a flight to Istanbul next to a surly kid with piercings and guyliner who couldn’t be more his opposite. They strike up a friendship anyway, and as they make their way across a foreign land, Bale realizes he’s too immersed in Evan to let go.
Review: Well, this was my first foray into the stylings of Ellis Carrington, and I can officially say I have found a new author I adore. I will be reading her entire back catalogue when time permits, as this author has such a profoundly beautiful way with words. It’s always amazing to find an author that speaks to all your likes this way, and the general flow and descriptiveness of her prose had me salivating over this story from the get-go.
In a dual narrative between Evan and Bale, this story unfurled a wonderful instant connection between the broken hearted, and broken bodied Evan, and the big hearted, caring Bale. What was originally a slow burning attraction blossomed into a fiery love story on the pages of this short instalment in Dreamspinner’s “Mended” Anthology, set against a back drop of a college-organized vacation. The settings were awesomely described, clearly a lot of research going into the setting, and the extravagant locations served to provide a romantic backdrop as the two men stoked the fires of their new romance.
Evan’s pain was sad to read, but was completely acceptable under the care of Bale, a man who took the broken individual in his hands and helped him along every step of their journey, pushing and spurring him on through the pain he was feeling after the accident that had left him feeling broken and rejected. With Bale’s help, Evan began to manage his pain in more effective ways than to drown it in pills and drink. Together, the two MC’s managed to form a complete duo, one I was rooting for, whilst finding out more and more about the past relationships that had led them to each other.
I don’t want to give too much away on this story. I sent out a mass recommendation to all the reviewers on this site this morning, because I was so moved and awed by this short tale of new love under a hot foreign sky. It is not every day you find a little gem like this one, and the changing locations and alternating narratives gave a very wide scope of involvement to the reader, introducing them into the minds and hearts of our two wonderfully complicated and brilliantly designed MCs.
So without further ado, I would like to award 5 stars to this story; one of the best anthology reads I have had the pleasure of reviewing in all my time at The Novel Approach. It is with great excitement that I recommend this read to anyone viewing this review, and with humble thanks to the author, I would like to comment that this story inspired me to totally immerse myself back into the genre, and kickstart my writing as well. 5 stars, people. Get your copy now.
You can buy Total Immersion here: