Title: Edge of Forever
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 279 Pages
At a Glance: I didn’t end up loving this one, I had a couple of other little niggles that I left alone—but, meeting Pasha made it worth the read.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: When you stand on the edge, you might just find yourself falling.
Teaching Russians how to be cowboys? Levi thinks his father is joking when he tells him that’s what he wants him to do for the next six months. Working in the frozen desolation of southwest Russia he’ll earn enough to buy a new barn for their Montana ranch. But there’s a deeper agenda for sending him to the edge of nowhere. It will stop him sloping off on Saturday nights to gay bars and clubs for threesomes with strangers.
Pasha finally pushes his father too far and is banished to a remote ranch in the middle of a snowy Russian winter. Stripped of all the trappings of his privileged Moscow lifestyle, he has nothing at his disposal but a suitcase of designer clothes and a whole lot of sass. Pasha hates the countryside, hates physical work, hates the cold and hates cows. But de-prived of money, phone, and access to anyone who might help him, he’s screwed and not in a good way.
Levi’s counting down the days till he can return to the States and his Saturday night hook-ups. Then Pasha arrives at the ranch wearing eyeliner, retching every time he walks into a barn, and Levi is amused, irritated—and attracted. After a vicious attack on Pasha throws them into close quarters, both men are forced to re-evaluate not just who the other is, but whether they truly want to return to the lives they left behind.
When you stand on the edge, you just might find yourself falling in love.
Review: If I could rate this book just on the cover, it would get five big, hearty-eyed stars. Buuuut, unfortunately that’s not the way this works. Heh. Instead, all things considered, I’m much closer to three stars for Barbara Elsborg’s newest release, Edge of Forever. That cover is gorgeous, and the blurb hooked me big time, and I did like the characters a lot, but I struggled with some of the language, and the story went a bit off the rails toward the end. Like, wide-eyed, what-did-I-just-read off the rails.
As I typically do with a review for a book that I have mixed opinions about, I’m going to start with the things that made me go hmmmm. I like to get the negative or so-so stuff out of the way so I can end on a high note with the stuff I really liked… First, I want to talk about the content warnings. There were content warnings that went along with the review submission, but I didn’t see them in the front of the book, or on Amazon, so I’m a little curious about how readers will know in advance about the abuse, attempted rape, past child abuse, including pedophilia/dub con/statutory rape, that are all part of the story. Admittedly, the book overall wasn’t dark or super angsty; the content in question was almost brushed off in a ‘shit happens’ manner, which was perhaps a little troublesome as well. But, it’s there.
And, while I did feel like the writing was a bit flowery in places, I did overall enjoy the story and the characters. In fact, things were cruising along just fine—I was completely smitten with Pasha, and Levi was growing on me—until around the last twenty to thirty percent of the book, when it totally started to jump the shark. Things shot off in such a wild direction, there was so much over-the-top craziness and drama, I honestly had to just sort of shake my head in wonder. I can’t go into detail, obviously, but there was a point where I would have been completely satisfied if the author had wrapped it up from there, but instead she added in all this stuff that, in my opinion, served no purpose.
Ok. Let’s move on to the good stuff. Without a doubt, my favorite thing about Edge of Forever was Pasha. I absolutely adored him. He was so funny, kind, and endearingly ridiculous, it would be impossible not to love him. He was also much, much tougher than even he thought he was. I loved how he took to caring for the calves (even as he was retching every five seconds), and how close he got to Arvak, one of the horses. He was such a romantic, too; he wanted a relationship, someone to share his life with. It made me feel so bad every time Levi carelessly stomped all over his feelings. As I said, though, Levi did grow on me, and I ended up rooting for them both.
I also thought the idea behind the story was so cool. I loved the background Elsborg gives in the acknowledgements, about how she came up with the idea. And, Levi was the perfect Montana-bred, American cowboy. One thing I respected so much about Levi was how knowledgeable he was about every aspect of ranching. It was fascinating to learn a little bit about what actually goes into running a forty-thousand-acre production like that. And, Elsborg did a good job of setting the scene and giving a vivid picture of where the characters were. The descriptions of the ranch and scenery in Russia were well-done, but the author’s descriptions of Montana, and Levi’s obvious love for his home state, were even more enthralling.
This was my first time reading something by this author, so I don’t have anything to go by as far as comparing this to her other work, but even though this was sort of a mixed bag for me, I would probably give her another try in the future. I didn’t end up loving this one, I had a couple of other little niggles that I left alone—but, meeting Pasha made it worth the read.
You can buy Edge of Forever here:
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