We’ve got our hands on another new one from Sarah Bailey in her Dark Romance universe! Strap in and hold on tight!
Our Darkest Scar by Sarah Bailey is the next selection in the “Our Darkest” series that continues the generational saga of the previously written “Syndicate Boys” series. Raphael (or “Raphi”) is a son from the unique family of the Syndicate, a child born after the struggles of the family’s journey to find peace. While he is Eric’s biological son, his household is essentially four father figures and a mother, all of which was fully explored in the previous series. Jonah comes from a more traditional household, as tragic as it may be. After the death of his father, and his mother all but rejecting him entirely, Jonah had to grow up fast despite still being high school aged. What follows is a journey spanning over a decade as both boys becoming men are learning to embrace their background and find their true selves.
As with the other books in this series, the storytelling is slow and deliberate. There’s a lot to say, but the story is best enjoyed at as slow a pace as you can reasonably read it. Time moves too slowly for these characters throughout, and if you can read at that same structure, you can feel their pain alongside them. Another important theme is the past, and more directly, the sort of family someone can be born into. As you could imagine for having such a unique family, Raphi is often bullied at school and exhibits signs of a deep depression. Whether we like it or not, children often inherit the baggage of their parents. The sexual dynamic of his family not withstanding, Raphi’s family committed some brutal acts in order to find their peace, and all of it seems to press on Raphael with each passing day. Jonah tends to rise above the fray, but can’t seem to help wanting to care and see after Raphi. This care and compassion makes Raphi still more vulnerable, and his sexuality and self identification also become harder and harder to understand.
Verdict: Our Darkest Scar by Sarah Bailey is a brilliant look at the dynamic of two male lovers that grow from boys to men, requiring them to confront their baggage in a painfully beautiful journey. It’s hard enough to find your true place as a child when you have a “normal” upbringing, but nothing involving these two could ever yield such a label. The powerful themes of a young man learning his sexual identity alongside the darkness within himself are explored respectfully and have a realistic, enjoyable payoff. The love scenes themselves are to the same high caliber we’ve come to know from this author, and take extra care to the details of this particular brand of love and romance. I’d love to spill my guts and say something crude about how “The Queen of Steam” excels at writing intense male sex scenes…but for this novel, there’s so much more to say. Read this story for its journey, the saga of true love that took a lot of pain to make happen. Savor and enjoy the entree of this novel, it’ll make the dessert taste that much more sweet.
Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advance review copy of Our Darkest Scar to TehBen.com for review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Author’s Twitter: @sbaileyauthor
Purchase Link: Amazon