elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: To Love Free by Chris Paynter

To Love Free by Chris Paynter
Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 242 pages
Publisher: Companion Publications LLC (September 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942204000
ISBN-13: 978-1942204008
Amazon: To Love Free
Amazon Kindle: To Love Free

World-renowned artist Madison Lorraine leads a quiet life in Islamorada, Florida, with her nine-year-old daughter, Mo. Madison hasn't painted in over three years since her wife and muse, Callie, lost her battle with cancer. Supermodel Gabrielle Valenci's arrival at her family home in Islamorada unsettles Madison's comfortable routine. Gabrielle has left a floundering relationship behind in New York and travels to Florida to undergo the last of her chemotherapy. Her prognosis is excellent, but her journey since the initial cancer diagnosis has been rocky. The appearance of a dolphin in their cove coincides with Gabrielle's arrival next door. With each unannounced visit, he inspires Gabrielle and Madison as he gently nudges them together. Soon, Madison is accompanying Gabrielle to her treatments. Although the bond between them strengthens and their mutual attraction grows, both are hesitant to take the next step. Can they learn To Love Free again? Sometimes, the fragile human heart is reluctant to heal. But Madison and Gabrielle never counted on the persistence of one determined, magical dolphin they call "Free."

Given its premise, this novel could have easily become both hokey and overfilled with angst in the hands of a  less skilled writer. But Chris Paynter knows exactly what she's doing  here, creating vivid, realistic characters and taking us deep into their lives. She makes us feel everything her characters feel, from the joy of new love to the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. The world her characters inhabit is rendered just as vividly. This is a very moving story.

To Love Free caught my attention from the very beginning and stirred my emotions through the entire book.

For me this story rang true. I enjoyed it from the very first page. It touched home as my dad died from cancer when I was 13. I would definitely read more work by Chris.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2015

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