I get ARCs from all over the place, PR companies, authors, Booksprout, and various teams I’m on. I get almost all my MM ARCs from LesCourt Author Services. I love working with LesCourt because I get a chance at a huuuuuge selection of ARCs. Also, the team is just awesome. So, why the big shout out to LesCourt in this post? Well, because without the ARC opportunities I get from them, I would likely not have found Equinox by Charlie Godwyne. And that would’ve been a total loss, because this book blew me the fuck away.
So, here’s our story. It takes place in Augarten, which is a huge park in the second district of Vienna. It’s a real place, with an amazing history, including morning concerts by Mozart and Strauss, and you should definitely go read more about it. I did. And Charlie is from Vienna and wanders around Augarten on the regular, and it’s incredibly obvious that Augarten is a place they love so much.
There is a man who wakes up in the garten, right at the base of a tree. He thinks that trees are talking to him. He can see the magic of the garten, the trees, the sky, and everything, and starts to see all kinds of things. He passes out again and wakes up to a priest praying over him. He was praying to High Archangel Gabriel to protect our first man.
When the first guy starts to talk to the priest, he realizes that he has no clue who he is. He has no memory, doesn’t know his name, nothing. So, the priest decides to call him Gabriel. Turns out that the priest’s name is Solomon, and the head of his order had a dream and sent him out to find Gabriel. Apparently, Gabriel lit up all kinds of magical and spiritual warning systems when he showed up in the garten.
Solomon takes him to the woman who runs part of Augarten, who ends up letting Gabriel stay there, as long as he’s willing to work. Solomon tells him that he’s going to help Gabriel do everything he can to help him get his memory back. Meanwhile, Gabriel does everything he can do to help out at Augarten and starts to make friends. Solomon teaches him to meditate, sings Latin prayers over him, takes him to appointments, and shows up regularly. Then there’s Florian.
Gabriel runs into Florian one night at the garten, when Florian is praying. He worships Welsh gods, and prays in Augarten. Gabriel hears him, and the language sounds familiar to him. This ends up with them being friends.
We also have Ian, who is really important to Gabriel and Solomon. We learn a lot of things from Ian. Of course, he knows so much he doesn’t share. The asshole.
Charlie is a debut author. This is their first book. And it’s not often that a debut author writes something that is so incredibly mindblowing. The book is very cohesive, and the world is incredibly detailed. There is a very tricky mix of time periods, to the point where you aren’t exactly sure what the time period is, which is fabulous. There is also a big mix of spirituality, religiousity, magicalness, and realism. Charlie managed to put it together seamlessly. It all fits in together easily, like that’s the way that the world really works and the way that the world really should. All of our main characters have that mix inside of them, in their own particular mix, and they each have their own way to express that and express that mix. That spirituality is a huge part of the book, but it’s not shoved in your face or anything. It’s just part of the ebb and flow of the book and the book would be lesser to take that part out of it.
This is a slow burn, a pretty slow burn. I love how the romance builds up the way that it does. If the romance had been just jumped into, I don’t think it would’ve worked as well, because Gabriel needed a better understanding of himself. The slow burn was necessary, and it works perfectly for this one.
I really, truly, deeply hope that Charlie Godwyne has an Augarten #2 in the works, because I’m dying to find out more.
Ian’s angelic ass is sitting on so many secrets. I really want to know what all he knows. I have suspicions about him that I’m not telling.
OK, that’s all for this one. I can’t recommend it enough, I really can’t. Go check it out. Happy reading!