Series: Ilyon Chronicles (Book #5.5)
Author: Jaye L. Knight
Summary: The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.
When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.
Review: This was such a sweet story set in Jaye's amazing world of Ilyon. Even though I'm a big fan of dragons and action and all, it's been really nice recently to step back and get a deeper look at the characters in this novella and Bitter Winter.
Aaron has fallen hard for a pretty smile. But it's so much more than just the smile. His dearest wish is to rescue this girl Lacy from the scandalous life she's been thrust into, but he knows she needs this job to take care of her family -- particularly her mother, the one with the dangerous cough. For a long time, Aaron has been asking Lacy to attend the meetings with him, since he knows that she desperately needs to see the love of Elôm and experience for herself.
This packs in quite a lot for a shorter story. It's still a good length tale, but it's easily read in a couple of hours. We got a cameo in Bitter Winter, setting up the tantalizing details of this story, but with the huge conflicts going on in that book, there just wasn't time to go back and revisit Aaron's story here. I'm really glad Jaye made this a separate novella. The pace is nice, you don't have to worry about getting your head tangled around a bunch of characters and crazy action all over the place, and we get a tale that's all about true love. Which was amazing. Aaron is a great character and you couldn't help but root for him, and now all I'm waiting for is for his brother to get his act together. Ilyon fans, you know what I mean. My only complaint, really, was that the conflict with the congregation members seemed a little forced.
Advisory: This novella has got some more mature themes in it, but nothing out of the ordinary for the Ilyon books. Lacy is a prostitute at a tavern, not that she enjoys her work; it was the only way she could see for getting money to pay off her father's debts and keep her mother and her sisters from the workhouse. While nothing is described, there is no disguising her prostitute work. It is clearly shown as being wrong, and Lacy more than anyone else recognizes it as a sin. Also, [highlight for spoiler] Lacy reveals her pregnancy to Aaron, knowing her employer will force her to abort the baby and not knowing who the baby's father is. The book also contains the birth of said baby, though the narrating character is not in the room while it happens. [end spoiler]
Also, a quick scene in which a husband helps his wife undress. Nothing is described. But with a married couple, too, expect some kisses scattered among the pages of this novella.