“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Author: S.A. McAuley
Publisher: Totally Bound
Pages/Word Count: 153 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: The ocean isn’t ready to let go of him yet.
Erik Hash, owner of a shark diving company in South Africa, loses everything in one night—his business, his partner, and his desire to live. The victim of a violent hate crime, he leaves South Africa and takes a job aboard a private yacht to escape.
When his partner reappears after three years, he wonders if there is something left for them to rebuild. But the ocean isn’t ready to let go of him quite yet.
Review: One of the saddest words in the English language may be “if” because it’s two little letters that when put together with the right words before or after can only mean regret. It’s only with the gift of hindsight we are given the opportunity to see how unattainable the past is and how difficult, if not impossible, it is to undo all the harm that’s already been done. The past is as impossible to control and redirect as the forces of nature, and no one knows this better than Erik Hash and Kiernan Callaghan.
An Immovable Solitude is a book filled with what ifs and if onlys, and is a romantic and tragic but ultimately triumphant story of two men whom fate, chance, destiny—whatever it is we call the cosmic forces that describe the incredible and seemingly impossible fortunes and misfortunes of life—seem bent upon uniting time and again, regardless of how many times they tear each other apart.
It’s a story filled with metaphors about life and love; the way the sea needs the shore; the way the land draws the sea in the ebb and flow of a co-existence that simply is and can’t be contained by an easy explanation; the way something can be misunderstood but must still be respected because if one isn’t careful, that something which is wild and unpredictable will bare its teeth and shred at will.
S.A. McAuley throws in a plot twist near the end of An Immovable Solitude that I didn’t see coming, a dramatic element that proves just how fragile life is, how little we control, and how easily we humans can become little more than collateral damage when the universe exerts it will. It’s a heartbreaking twist which provides the final make-or-break moment in Erik and Kerry’s relationship, and it serves to highlight the single biggest flaw in their long and tortured romance.
Having read so much of this author’s work, I can say with a fair amount of authority that she never, ever delivers a cookie cutter romance. Even when writing the “lighter” side of relationships, as in Treadmarks & Trade Marks, she infuses her plots and characters with unique interests and multiple layers which elevates them and consistently transcends the expected. An Immovable Solitude is no different. Erik and Kerry are a study in frustration, which, simply put, means they’re human, and it’s those imperfections that not only make them relatable but also makes it impossible not to root for them to find a way past all the hurt they’ve inflicted on each other.
The secondary characters in the book, even when on the page for only a short while, are equally engaging, sometimes equally frustrating, and add their own depth to the story to make it all the richer for their presence. It’s the hallmark of S.A. McAuley’s knack for telling an angsty love story that keeps me turning the pages, keeps me coming back for more, and keeps her on my list of must-read authors.