Warning: Contains Spoilers
26-year-old American Desta Joy Walker begin his life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The country was his father’s first love as well as the place of his death. When Desta tries to follow in his father’s footsteps as an aid worker, he finds the shoe doesn’t quite fit. He reconnects with his heritage and understands the love his father held for Addis Ababa, but feels the pull of a social work career back in the U.S. He must balance his own identity and calling against his parents’ dreams. The stakes for his decision skyrocket when he falls hard for the gentle, beautiful Elias Fikru. Both under the pressure of family legacy and in a place where gay relationships are illegal, they risk everything if they choose to be true to themselves.
This was a beautiful mix of steamy-hot sex and sweetly beautiful love of all kinds. We fall for the beauty of Ethiopia through the eyes of the character, and our hearts break for him and Elias for the intense pressure and danger they face together. The blend of Ethiopian and Dominican cultures and their fierce family loyalty is a rich tapestry to frame the story and the decisions the characters face.
The only downside for the story for me isn’t a downside for many: The story is low-angst. That means there’s some very real, plausible sources of conflict and danger the author chooses to leave on the table and not throw at the characters. They would greatly increase tension, but for some, tension is not always the goal. Some people want their happily-ever-after without putting their characters through hell and breaking them, first. I would chalk this up to simple differences in taste, rather than anything actually wrong with the story.
Similarly, some reviewers have mentioned the sex scenes being “out-of-tone” for the slow, sweet pacing of the story. They are indeed high-steam and graphically erotic, but I wonder if the same reviewers would complain if the main characters were M/F? This is a sensuous story, where the food, coffee, and other richly detailed textures of life in Ethiopia are an integral part of the story. I think the author brings the same sensual details to the love scenes.
You can find this and the author’s other books at https://adrianaherreraromance.com/
Content Notice: Contains LGBTQ discrimination and ethnic discrimination