Ok so here we go again because if you recognize the song that this line is from you are once dating yourself...it was released in 1978...more than a few years ago.
Sorry for some reason this song always pops into my brain when Russia enters into a conversation or as is the case here becomes the setting for a book. I'm pretty sure there's more than one song about Russia out there. Anyways, about the book...
Like a lot of my friends I'm pretty much a sucker for a good cowboy story but this one's a cowboy story with at twist...you see our cowboys are in Texas or Wyoming or even Alberta...that's right folks we have cowboys up here in Canada...Calgary Stampede it's a thing and if you want to see cowboys well Calgary has them in abundance during...well never mind I'm digressing again.
The cowboy's in question aren't in any of those places they're in Russia...we're talking freakin' cold Russia. Seems they've decided to raise beef there problem is no one really knows how so they've done the obvious and that's to contract cowboys from the States to go over and train them and that's how Levi...wait, wasn't there a Levi in the last book that I read...yes, there was but he was an event planner and not a cowboy...so back to our cowboy Levi who's teaching a bunch of Russian men how to heard cattle because it's a dream of his that he's always had...NOT!!! More like because he needs to get away from his jerkwad, homophobic brother and a father who doesn't seems to care about him other than as someone to work the ranch and go earn enough money to build that new barn that they need...but that's another discussion for later.
So Levi heads off to Russia it's a cakewalk right? Six months there some breathing space between Levi and his family, go home resume life as normal and everything's find or at least it will be if Levi can survive the latest recruit who seems to want to be on the ranch even less than Levi and who's got Levi feeling more than a little hot and bothered but Pasha's not Levi's type after all, so it's not a problem and Levi doesn't do relationships so everything's good, right? Well than why does Levi want to hit something...or more like someone when he realizes that Pasha's being harassed and bullied?
That's right...bullied, it's not just a school thing it's out there in the world and Pasha's spent most of his life trying to avoid the bullies and now his father has landed him smack dab in the middle of a hornets nest of them. But Pasha's strong and he's a survivor. He's already lived through so much, he can make it through this. He just needs to keep his head down and avoid them.
I don't even know where to begin to explain how much and why I loved this book. First off let's start with the plot because Wow!!! Simply WOW! There's a hella' good story here. It simply blew me away. The more I read, the more I wanted. Neither Levi nor Pasha have had an easy life and both men are still struggling to make their way in the world and find their place. I loved them both...a lot. Sure I didn't always like that Levi was keeping his sexuality a secret and so sometimes his actions frustrated me but I could see why and he needed to be able to deal with things on his own terms and come to grips with it all. Still in spite of this he tried to be there for Pasha as much as he comfortably could and in the end he was all in, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.
Back to Pasha...I don't think I have the words to explain what an incredible character Barbara Elsborg has created with Pasha...truthfully the only thing I can say that even comes close to doing Pasha service is 'read the book' and get to know him and love him for his strength, courage and his sense of humor...Pasha kept me smiling and laughing even during some of the bad times...I love Pasha...plain and simple. I would be his mom in a heartbeat...hey, I could do it, he's 7 years younger than my own son.
I had a tiny little niggle with the ending hence the 4.5 stars instead of 5 and yet in spite of that I also loved the ending. it was a bit on the fairy-tale side...and they all lived happily ever after...so to speak but when I thought about it I also felt like if ever any book couple deserved this it's Levi and Pasha. They've faced down the big bad wolf...no literally there were wolves...see you need to read the book, they've survived more than one villain...bigoted homophobes and an obsessive stalker only to find out at the end of it all there's more and so much of what's happened isn't how it seems.
I'm pretty sure this one's going to be on my favorites list for this year...if not top 10 it's definitely going to be in my top 20, I guess we'll just have to see what the rest of the year brings.
A copy of 'Edge of Forever' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.