book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: Angel Martinez’s “Wild Rose, Silent Snow”(2016)


Wild Rose is a dreamy, cozy, fairy-tale read, wonderfully domestic and homey, with a swift, satisfying plot. The book’s wintery setting, with the snow outside and warmth inside, heightens the magic. The brothers seem all but cut off from the outside world in their rural home surrounded by trees and ice. They seem to be under some strange, isolating spell, which makes the appearance of the bear all that more magical. The mystery of Bear and the other compelling, intriguing strangers who appear form the main action of the story.

At the heart of the story is the caring, empathetic relationship between the two brothers. Though over the course of the book both brothers have their own love interests, it’s their friendship and connection that provides the most warmth. With one brother who struggles to talk, and another who struggles to read, the two rely on each other to get by and to be each other’s best friend. If only we could all have such a person looking out for us, someone who’s totally devoted to us!

I actually read this book without really reading the plot summary- the first few paragraphs were compelling enough that I pre-ordered it right away, and excitedly set out to read it when it finally arrived. And so, the introduction of the curse and the world of magic-users about a third way into the book did actually take me by surprise. Not Cade’s true identity, but rather his backstory and his complicated world, which I still feel sat rather uncomfortably with Snowden and Rowan’s smaller, domestic world. Though of course, perhaps that’s the point: a strange, outside world crashing into their home and changing them forever.

The first few chapters of this book, as the different characters and plotlines are introduced, seem a little disjointed until everything comes together: almost like the chapters are telling different, stand-alone stories. Everything does come together, however, and the dreamy quality of the writing makes it very easy to become completely immersed into the story. I would have loved this book to be twice as long; I definitely wanted to keep reading about this little world!

{Summary from}
A huge bear at the door, a handsome, naked stranger in the snow, magic fish, enchanted beards—and Rowan thought his life was odd before.

Content with the quiet isolation of their lake house, Snowden and Rowan Hadley survive on summer jobs and winter hunting, unable to move on since their parents died. Their peace is shattered by a strange, human-acclimated bear who insists on following Rowan like a giant hunting dog and again by the discovery of a naked, surly stranger in the snow.

Both bear and man lead the Hadley brothers into a strange, surreal world where sorcery and RPG software intertwine. Curses and magical traps lie in wait around every turn. Rowan and Snowden will need to adjust their view of how the world works, and quickly, if they want to live through rescuing their enchanted princes.

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