My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What happens when your life is so horrible that to survive, you invent a separate reality, but is it really fiction, or has fantasy become reality? Reed offers a phenomenal story where truth and fiction collide in a macabre and eerie tale of two men whose love is as passionate and ill-fated as any tragic Shakespearean duo. This timeless piece could easily fit into any period, weaving its complex and illicit account of two men, love, murder, hatred, deception and loneliness.
The story of Ambrose and his waif is told over a period of several months through alternating letters. They begin with a sweet tale of winsome fancy, passionate love, happy ever after dreams and unending devotion. The waif has proven his love and devotion to Ambrose, doing everything to clear the way for them to finally be together as their hopes and dreams have always wanted. But was that just another pretty tale? Is the dream to become reality or nightmare?
The letters soon turn darker with anger, suspicion, accusation, and longing. What was once a loving dream is usurped into dark fantasy but which is real? What is illusion and what is reality? In the twisting maze of two confused minds, the only thing for certain is that Ambrose and his waif love each other, or do they? When the continued questions on both sides spark only more impossible answers, Ambrose and his waif are left wondering what to believe.
This is a dark tale of passion and love, chilling in its icy beauty and gripping in its appeal. With each letter offering an alternate reality, you are left reeling from one moment to the next, uncertain of what and whom to believe. It’s an incredibly well written psychological drama but is not for anyone squeamish or faint of heart. It’s gripping, dramatic and unpredictable; all in the space of incredibly short pages. As soon as I finished the last sentence, I started at the beginning again and re-read the entire story, as should you. With any truly excellent thriller, it only deepens with the subtly and context repeated readings can offer.
Reed and de la Croix have created a masterpiece with their story of love, cunning, passion, guile and need. It keeps you guessing with each subsequent letter, waiting with baited breath while your mind reels trying to understand both characters and the truth from the fiction. Stunning and ambiguous to the last word, you can’t help but ride along spell bound caught with Ambrose and his waif as they weave their way in a maze of their own making. If you can’t separate the reality from fantasy, don’t worry, Ambrose and his waif can’t either. And in the end, do you really want to?