BR: The Wanderer
The Wanderer by Jan Irving
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for The Romance Reviews
Jude is a doctor in a small town, Sylvan, somewhere in Western USA, after the Civil War. He has a little clinic where he takes care of his patients and the occasional ill farm animal. Then, one day, a stranger comes into town. Gabriel, a gunslinger, is hurt, and seeking medical attention. But there is something growing deeper between him and Jude than a mere patient-doctor relationship. This sets into motion a series of events that turn the whole town upside down.
There are a lot of books out there that use a time period as a mere stage for their characters to act on. Ms Irving, however, embraces this certain time, and creates a historic feel, that amplify the small town atmosphere. You really believe the characters actually lived then, and that they’re not just planted there for convenience. Much thought has been put into the setting, which gives the story a certain credibility.
The thing that most touched me was the strength of Jan Irving’s characters. At first, I tried to label them, put them in a box, so I could place them. But I just could not make sense of them. They were not stereotypical. There was no box that would fit Doctor Jude, or the little blind boy Mouse. And I think this is one of the best parts of this book. The characters are special, they have a personality, they are individuals. You feel their pain, their happiness, their despair.
This story has so many layers. Growth, finally accepting of what you are is an important one. All main characters develop in some way or another. The one I thought was most touching was the change in Jude. He undergoes a complete transformation. He starts off as a lonely, introvert person. He lives on his own, writing poetry about love. Then, when love finally comes to him in the shape of the incredibly hot Gabriel, it takes time for him to cope with his shame, his resentment for what he really is. We learn with him, we see him coming to terms with the part of him that he has hidden not only from the world, but also himself. I thought this was beautifully, subtly done.
His relationship with Gabriel was interesting. It develops slowly, and sometimes you doubt if this is even going to work, but in the end you just know they are right for each other. There is some domination love play in this book, but I thought it was quite sweet. I liked how they acted like they were somewhere else, being somewhere else. Everything you could want from sex scenes are here. They were hot, steamy and variable. In some books you feel like you are reading the same scene over and over again, with just a slightly different setting. This was not at all the case with The Wanderer. Every scene is exciting in its own, unique way.
I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an erotic romance with a well thought-out story. It’s fast-paced, very nicely written with clear descriptions, and is just a great book overall. Its bitter-sweet ending was absolutely perfect. You will not be disappointed.