Simon had always expected love to feel different than this. Whether it was his Catholic upbringing or the poetry he’d read – Simon had thought that true love would be uplifting, fulfilling, that it would give a meaning to his loitering, and add joy to his leisure. But not this kind of love. This love was a flesh-eating monster, sharp-clawed and evil-eyed, ravishing his mind with medieval cruelty.
Dr Simon Mráz is a respected specialist and lecturer at the Charles University in Prague. He is a serious man, responsible. His students call him The Cruel Doctor Frost not because he’s unkind, but because of his unwavering, ice-cold composure. As a psychiatrist, he values sanity. And sanity can be found in work, restraint, and self-control.
Not many know of that one time in the past when The Cruel Doctor Frost lost his cool. His ill-advised, secret affair with a student left Simon deeply wounded. Since that day, every minute of Simon’s life has been a struggle to remain sane, functioning. He’s managed so far – as long as he is needed, as long as his work makes a difference, Simon can scrape together enough strength to get up in the morning and run off the nightmares. But when his friends begin drifting away, his beloved protégé becomes independent, and the man who bereaved Simon of his precious sanity might return… Simon’s mind and body stop responding to his impressive willpower.
How do you express your feelings when you’re rendered speechless?
How do you explain something that is as profound as it is puzzling?
How do you capture the essence of a story that is boundless?
I’ve yet to determine but if you’ll allow me, I’d like to try.
First off, if you are new to Horvat’s literary seduction, I welcome you to the club and I’ve saved you a front row seat. Trust me, once you’re here you won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Second, plan your schedule accordingly. The moment you begin you are a prisoner of the pages. It’s almost as if there is some mystical and magical word osmosis because I felt myself absorb the story in a bone-deep-never-going-to-leave way.
This is Simon’s story. Simon is special. Simon is a brilliant scientist. Simon is very sad. Why is he sad?
That is the million dollar question.
Okay, not really. I’ll tell you…
Simon fell in love. Trouble was, he doesn’t actually believe in love. He is a scientist after all and it’s simply not logical. Despite this…it happened. But then his love was lost. And now, so is Simon. He’s not only lost but losing control and that’s not acceptable. The harder he holds on, the more he slips. And we sit useless and helpless on the sidelines witnessing his denied desperation. It’s not easy but I never said it was.
This odyssey consists of three parts. The very first scene we are introduced to Matěj and it’s obvious why Simon broke all his rules for the stunning young man. His allure is strong. The very next chapter we zip into the future. The timeline is complex and I urge you to pay attention (otherwise you may find yourself flipping back to confirm…not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. ha!) to the calendar as we sink into the story. It’s not clear exactly what has happened or why and this is when you need to pull out your patience badge. One thing is precise, the writing. It is stunning and seriously badass. Which leads me to the exquisite characters….
Simon is unlike any character I’ve ever met before and I have no illusions I will ever encounter anyone else like him in the future. He is quirky, obsessive-compulsive and socially dysfunctional. He can be insensitive, aloof and self-absorbed. And yet, I absolutely adored him. Sounds contrary to reason but…you just have to met him for yourself. Then you will understand. Simon threw himself into caring for Matěj’s sister, Marta, after he disappeared. This was the drive he needed to maintain his fraudulent well-being. Time has passed and she’s moving on and moving out. Once she leaves, the final tether breaks free. His drifting has progressed to raging turbulence and he’s going to capsize. Will he ever find his way back to solid ground? Well, you have to make it to part three to answer that.
I haven’t told you much about Matěj for good reason. I wish for you to experience his charisma first hand. To be honest, we don’t have as much page time with him as I would have preferred. But I’m sure Simon would agree with me. Matěj lights Simon up from the inside and without him, he’s fumbling in the dark. After almost four years, he’s left with only a spark. But as they say, it only takes a spark to light a wildfire. *sigh* Ohh, how they burn.
A depressed eccentric psychiatrist will steal your heart and return it slightly modified. Believe me, it’s to your advantage. Don’t expect a lot of time between the sheets. Also, I distinctly felt my foreigner status with this one but I’m certainly not complaining. I always feel as though I have traveled abroad with Roe.
This is heavy, it is hard, and it’s a heartwrenching deep love story that will blow you away.
This story requires a patient and distinctive palate reader. I can’t honestly say it’s for everyone but if you’re lucky enough to make the cut, I salute you *cheers* ….and…*hugs* I’ll be waiting here for more of both when you’re done.
AND! Don’t forget to check out the deleted scenes Roe was kind enough to share with us here!