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Beyond the Shadows*

A Unique Long-Distance Relationship

We meet Penny and Erik as they are about to embark on a unique long-distance relationship. Reminiscent of Same Time, Next Year, they plan to meet at a different location on the globe every six months while they maintain their relationship electronically in between. Penny is an Australian single mom of adult children while Erik is a forty-something-year-old who lives in Amsterdam. They initially met at a Las Vegas convention and shared an attraction, making them both want to keep in contact long distance. After 18 months of just digital communication and an occasional phone call, they decide to meet physically twice a year. During their first time together in Italy, Erik questions whether he wants to take the relationship further physically, as he has some fear of losing her as a friend.

All of this is complicated by Helena, a past former lover of Erik’s. She is the jealous sort and doesn’t appreciate him getting involved with another woman, and she is able to cause problems.

The book goes back and forth between their visits as well as the times they are at their homes. I would have liked to have seen a bit more balance in the amount of time the author spent at each of their worldwide destinations. A great deal of time was spent in Italy and England, but Fiji was only touched on briefly. Fiction is such a fun way to experience the world, and it would have been more fun to spend a longer time globe-hopping with this couple.

As in other books I’ve read by this author, there are significant issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage, though some of that may stem from her being Australian and me being an American copyeditor; I am not too sure of Australian rules for such. It was, however, a little distracting at times, though it didn’t diminish my overall enjoyment of the novel.

The book is definitely a steamy read, as they do decide to become lovers. The book has a paranormal twist that I didn’t see coming in a work that is otherwise fully grounded in this world. It is nice to be surprised when reading, though, as it doesn’t happen often, especially in romance.

This book is a very unique take on one way to approach long-distance relationships. If you enjoy steamy reads about more mature characters and don’t mind a little bit of the paranormal, you might find this to be a page-turner.