Sin and Salvation

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Title: Sin and Salvation
Author: Laura Baumbach
Cover Artist: Deanna C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link:  Sin & Salvation
Genre: Paranormal M/M Romance
Length: Novella
Rating: 5 stars

A Guest Review by Sammy

Review Summary:  A love story that dares to ask the question: Just how far would you go to hold onto love?

Blurb: A selfish act of greed or a self-less act of love eternal?

Ian Flynn, a vampire finds his perfect love in 1823 Victorian England in the form of Trevor Sheffield, a young stage actor. He keeps his true nature a secret from his lover until one Christmas Eve when Trevor is brought to the edge of death by a street gang mugging. Rather than lose the man who helped him discover he still had a soul (and a heart to break), Ian turns Trevor. Afterwards, he spends every Christmas Eve alone, wondering if he committed a selfish act of greed or a self-less act of love eternal.
Review: What if you did something…something you knew without a doubt would hurt the very person you were attempting to help–the very person you were trying to save? What if in that brief moment it hit you that what you were about to do was perhaps the most selfish act you would ever commit but the alternative would be to lose that which you had waited more than a lifetime to find? What if you had the ability to stop the hands of time, to halt death in its tracks and keep the one you loved by your side for all eternity? What would be so wrong with that?

Ian has fallen in love–something he never imagined for himself–indeed, something he had adroitly avoided for…well for decades. Until Trevor. Then one fateful night, violence is done, a life is stolen, a love is severed…unless, of course, you are a vampire…who has the ability to manipulate who lives and dies–for you are death and you can create another just like you–consign them to a half-life, a living hell, of sorts. All done in the name of love…

And now that Ian has brought the love of his life into this vampire existence, he must stand by and watch as Trevor reenacts the night of his human death over and over—each Christmas Eve, seeking somehow through the taking of another’s life to repent for continuing his own. It is a torture that Ian bravely accepts and that slowly kills him and Trevor each year it is performed.

Laura Baumbach, I will admit, has been an auto-buy for me for…well, since I discovered her books. It has been tough watching such a talented writer put her craft in the back seat while steering her Press (MLR) into the publishing juggernaut it has become. So, imagine my delight when I saw that she had released this little gem, Sin and Salvation. If I am not mistaken this is actually a re-release of an older work, The Bite Before Christmas. No matter what the title–it is a delightful story–a sweet tale of love that draws you in and leaves you wanting for more.

One of this author’s strengths is her ability to evoke real emotion in the reader. She captures your heart, has you secretly cheering on her characters–despite their flaws. Her stories are often a mix of sweet and sexy–with the emphasis often falling on sexy–this woman knows how to write sensual–remarkably well. And even though this is a mere sip of a tale, you walk away feeling as though you have known the main character, Ian, most of your life–and you feel for him–the tortured existence he has led–knowing that it is his very act of salvation that his lover views as sin.

This is a story that reminds us that we can never fully escape our past, nor our past actions. Sin and Salvation clearly illustrates to  us that living a life of what-if’s or never should have’s is like trying to find the origin of a rainbow…impossibly frustrating, and unfulfilled.

I highly recommend this novella, Sin and Salvation to you, dear reader! Come fall under the spell of this carefully crafted love story!!