Monday, May 11, 2020

Sharing is Caring - Books: "To the Moon and Back" by Melissa Brayden

To the Moon and BackTo the Moon and Back by Melissa Brayden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I'm sure many lovers of the Lesbian romance genre have come to know, Melissa Brayden is always a sure thing. You can count on her books to always be a hit, never a miss. Though I can admit that To the Moon and Back was not one of my favorites by Brayden, it still in no way disappointed and was the exact read I needed during this time of uncertainty while stuck in quarantine, keeping away from COVID-19.

Brayden seems to have upped the angst factor in many of her more recent novels. From First Position (which had a moment embedded in its pages where I, quite literally, threw the book across the room [an act I had not yet committed with a book ever in my life as a reader]) to the push and pull of the relationship between the characters in Back to September (one of my top 3 favorites by Brayden, hands down) - angst has had a spotlight and fueled many of her newer novels to the finish line. However, despite this feature being about the wonders of theater and stage work, the spotlight dimmed on the angst, and it made for a perfectly enjoyable yet easygoing read, making it the biggest selling point during the craziness of the world right now.

Following the story of Lauren and Carly was pleasant and completely elicited the warm, fuzzy feelings like that of coming home after a long time away. As a theater kid myself (but not having been on the stage in over 10 years), this felt like a return to a world I know fluently but haven't had the chance to spend time in for longer than I should have allowed. Brayden's depiction of the theater scene is spot on, and not just because she gets all of the technical jargon right (coming from the world of theater herself), but also in her descriptions of the emotions that fill every actor or crew member that works themselves to the bone for the beauty and synchronicity of a production. You can easily count on Brayden for a story that feels wrapped up in the theater with a warm, well-cared-for blanket, and you know you will enjoy its run because you're in good hands.

The story of Lauren and Carly's romance was easy to follow and felt comfortable, but it also felt as though it could have been more. Alas, I realize that may contradict my statement about the lack of angst and conflict being a welcome reprieve, but the romance almost felt as though it went through a checklist of good ol' fashioned "to-dos" without much creativity. Now don't get me wrong, Brayden still crafts a beautiful tale of love and the trials and tribulations that can still come after the "happily ever after," and To the Moon and Back is no exception. But it lacked a certain oomph, one that has me clamoring to turn the pages faster to read more of the story as soon as possible so I can find out if these two fated characters find their love blossoming to the heights of soulmates before I allow myself to go to sleep at night. And though I don't expect every novel to do this, I have come to expect this from Brayden.

With all that being said, I still give this 4 stars, bordering on 4.5 because - let's face it - Melissa Brayden is the queen of Lesbian romance, and I will go down with that ship for eternity.

P.S. Melissa!! Can we please discuss the absolute necessity of you writing the play into an actual novel?!?! I was hooked from the start! What petition must I sign to get this made into reality??

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