Before I get into this book review, I must confess two things; one is that this book is written by someone I have a certain of level of online friendship with and level of affinity for. In other words, the author Eden Baylee is just tops in my book, but I'll still try to review her book as unbiasedly as I can. The second thing is that I don't have too much familiarity with the erotic fiction. I've read fiction that was erotic in its own right, but wasn't marketed as erotic. But I know what I like and and I know what works for me.
Spring into Summer did just that. The novel is comprised of four separate stories, two set in the spring and two set in the summer. While seemingly disparate stories, they interconnect with ideas of love and the main characters' sexuality blooming and blossoming in ways none of them had imagined.
In A Season for Everything, the first story in the book, we meet Claire, listless 20 something trying to find footing in life who ends up with a friend in London. From there, she soons finds and falls in love with an older man who reveals he's dying. He instills in her a love of poetry and music and art and above all else a love for The Spring and the magic it can bring.
Unlocking the Mystery tells the story of an introverted real estate agent named Evelyn who hides behind her work and doesn't have much of a social life. She moves into a big secluded house and gets more than she bargained for when she finds a key in the house. When she asked a neighbor about it, she's presented with a box the key unlocks and finds herself immersed in letters from her former house owner's pen pal/lover in Ireland. When she finds a stamped envelope back to the man, she plots a journey to give him the woman's last letter to him.
Summer Solstice tells the story of Ava, a woman who was dumped at the alter a year ago and who was trying to piece herself back together. She's invited to a Summer Solstice party that turns into more, much more than she bargained for.
The Lottery tells the story Sierra, a young Canadian on a backpacking adventure though Thailand who tries to help out some lovely women she met there by convincing their employer of a gambit that can drive up business and gets way more than she bargained for in the process.
The stories from the ou
tset are obviously romantic in nature, especially the first two. Claire needs to find herself and finds it in Stephen. Evelyn thinks she knows who she is and through exploring herself and her own desires through reading this other person's letters, she finds out she can be a lot more. The sex, the erotica is there, but it's hidden underneath the build of the story. The interesting part of Unlocking the Mystery is that the erotica involved in this story is written into the letters written by the woman's pen pal/ long distance lover she's never met. It feels passive, buried this way, but it's anything but.
Where it really gets cooking is in the story Summer Solstice. Of course there's a battered heart at the center, Ava. But it's when she reveals her desires and dreams, first to herself in quite a scene, and then to others at the Summer Solstice party that things really heat up. This was my favorite of the entire collection and wouldn't let me go for a variety of reasons and it's where I can tell the author was having the most fun. And it left me wanting more in a variety of ways (*Spoiler Alert: Where did Keith go? No really, where did he go? He didn't just leave did he? He had to still be there. Were there digits somewhere? Please say he left a number somewhere. Gah! I mean I'm fine with resolved but not resolved endings like that, but they needed to end up together. Eden, you better tell me they end up together in your mind, otherwise I'ma have to write my own fan fiction that unites them because it obviously has to happen, OMG!)
In The Lottery, Eden takes everything that was boiling over and turns it down to a nice simmer and just lets it bubble for awhile. It was enjoyable and while not as titillating as Summer Solstice, wrapped everything together nicely.