In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.
Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?
As I began writing this review I came to a horrible realization. There is no way I can sum up this story in a way that will do it the justice it deserves. It is truly beyond me. Edmond Manning really has given us something brilliant, unique and engaging, with King Perry.
I very quickly realized I was in for a treat when I read an early draft of the first few chapters of King Perry several months ago. My first indication of that was the rich and effortless flow of Edmond’s writing style. His prose has a timeless, almost spiritual quality to it, and as I read I felt as though I was being let in on something special--like a secret cove only the locals know about.
The story is told in first person, present tense by our mysterious and quirky narrator, Vin Vanbly. Vin’s history is only hinted at through his internal thoughts, which are insightful, humorous, and sometimes heart wrenching. I have to say that he is hands-down one of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time.
The story opens at an art gallery exhibit where Vin meets investment banker, Perry Mangin. After testing an unsuspecting Perry through conversation, Vin realizes he has found a lost king. The trick now is to help that king remember who he is.
Vin extends an invitation to Perry: spend one weekend following my every command and your life will change in surprising ways. Curiosity and compassion brings Perry to the appointed meeting place for the weekend kick off, an unnamed need--or maybe it’s that “what if?”--gets him on the boat to Alcatraz island and his King Weekend begins.
Through the course of the weekend Vin puts Perry through a series of tests and adventures--sometimes emotionally painful to endure--requiring Perry to dig deeper to trust not only Vin, but himself as well. Each test Perry passes cracks the doors of his heart open just that little bit more, filling up the empty and hurt places with love. Perry begins to learn that there is more behind Vin’s “tests” than appears on the surface.
To me, this story is not only about learning to love, to forgive, but also about judging people, situations, etc., by the surface, and that first impressions aren’t exactly true impressions. A few situations Vin puts Perry through appear, on the surface, perhaps not so good, but because Perry continues to stick it out he begins to recognize the game for what it is. Did they really just commit a crime? Or was the truth of the situation just evasive enough to cast doubt? And when that doubt had been cast, did he have the faith to see it through to the truth? No matter how that truth shook out?
Vin remains a mystery and his story will unfold over the next five installments. There were moments where Vin’s internal dialogue got me a little choked up, but mostly he had me laughing. I lost track of the LOL moments in this story.
It’s unfortunate that this book is filed under Dreamspinner’s Bittersweet Dreams line, because it is far from bittersweet. Granted, it is not your traditional MM romance novel. I’m not entirely sure I’d call it your traditional romance novel either, though it is most definitely a love story. It is original, unique, entertaining, heartfelt, hopeful and uplifting. The last chapter was beautiful and the note of happiness, of hope, of love, that this story ends on will leave you with a warm fuzzy and a smile. And that right there is a HEA.
Edmond has generously offered up a free ebook copy of King Perry for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment here no later than midnight (PST) Wednesday, March 7. We’ll run all entries through the trusty randomizer and announce the lucky winner on Thursday, March 8th.
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