Wendy reviews ‘The Edge of Forever’ by Barbara Elsborg. Self published May 31, 2018, 279 pages.
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 deprived 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. When Pasha arrives at the ranch wearing eyeliner, retching every time he walks into a barn, Levi is amused, irritated—and attracted. When 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.
A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but it won’t be the last. So many things about this story were spot on, I love it when an author clearly knows the subject matter. Everything from how people from different cultures navigate trying to learn a trade with a language barrier that some have to overcome, to how cattle act and respond. Barbara Elsborg. Nailed. It!
The characters… oh, man! I’ll start with Levi. I really felt like I understood him so well. From his family life that was worth escaping to another country (and one that wasn’t LGBT friendly) to still feeling tied to them and responsible for the ranch he left behind. He’s complex and smart. I love how he teaches the men he’s assigned to slowly become cowboys. How he tries to instill his sense of work ethic and love for the cowboy life. How he doesn’t hide himself but doesn’t overtly share more of himself with the men he’s charged with. Especially the sexuality aspect with people who’s culture is against being gay. He has a difficult time both in America and Russia. Being gay is not looked favorably in any of the places he finds himself. Not the macho cowboy world. Not in his family with his brother’s religious fanaticism that sent him to conversion therapy as a youngster and he fears may try to send him again as an adult. And definitely not in the combination of anti-gay culture and country in Russia. Like I said… he doesn’t have it easy and he’s complex. But he’s written so well that I never once felt like he was too much or not enough of anything. Then he meets Pasha and his entire world changes.
Pasha, who is anything but a cowboy when Levi first meets him, is one of the strongest men I think I’ve ever read. He may be slight in stature and flamboyant in his mannerisms and dress but he doesn’t shy away from anything. Even when he’s retching while cleaning stalls or helping birth a calf or getting beaten because he wouldn’t let himself be used. This is a character to be admired. He turns out to be so much more than the trouble maker model with rich friends and bad habits. I wanted this guy to make it almost as soon as he was introduced and it was a hard road (sometimes a hard read) as he made his way. The joy he and Levi found in each other, well, they really deserved to find a little bit of happy and I’m glad they did.
The secondary characters and the world that this author created were realistic and believable. Some characters that I admired and some that I found myself not liking a bit.
If you like cowboy romance stories, I hope you take a chance on this one. It’s good, really good and I think you’ll like the journey with Levi and Pasha.
10/10 Pots of Gold or 100% recommended
Barbara Elsborg lives in Kent in the south of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Vulcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.
After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.
Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they are to write.