From the blurb:
Bartender Lukas Schueller's life in Berlin falls apart when his boyfriend, Bernhard, disappears without a trace. A year later Lukas is finally picking up the pieces of his life. He's back on track with his Divinity studies and has found love again in Kristoph, a science professor at his University.
Things are looking up until the shocking truth about his former lover's disappearance comes to light: Bernhard was killed and cannibalized by a man he met on the Internet. Even more horrifying, he volunteered for it. When Lukas receives graphic proof of this, he is haunted by grotesque dreams and unbearable heartbreak.
As he begins to wade into the mystery of why someone would choose to be eaten by someone else, he comes face to face with what it means to confront his own fears and must try to build a new life with Kristoph from the ashes of the old.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Near the beginning of the novella, Lukas draws a Mobius strip (kind of like an infinity symbol) on his lover Bernhard's soft stomach.
About a year after Bernhard suddenly disappears Lukas learns that his idea of "two separate pieces make one whole unit"-- is not two people building a life together, but willingly, happily, becoming food for a hungry, hungry cannibal.
Lukas: "I love this. The never-ending loops of eternity. It's complicated in so many cultures, but I like the idea of it meaning two bodies coming together to become one. It's beautiful, isn't it?"
"That--" Bernhard's voice caught in the back of his throat. His voice clicked as it reset. "That's a really interesting thought. Two separate people becoming one physical being."
"Yeah," Lukas agreed with a shrug. "I like the metaphor." He traced the line with his fingertip. "Two separate pieces make one whole unit. Kind of like us."
Ugh. Ugh. That shit is FUCKED UP. (And yet parts of it are based on a true story--SOMEONE ACTUALLY DID THAT.)
And you wanna know what really creeped me out? It's not the idea of cannibalism, which causes a visceral reaction in us all (at least I hope it does) that sounds something like: EEEEEWWWW! And it wasn't the grody scenes that made me want to vomit. I mean, it's really no worse than those early episodes of season 5 of The Walking Dead. Or, you know, almost any scene in The Walking Dead.
The creepiest part is that on one level you could read this as a love triangle. Between Lukas, Bernhard & Dietrich Luhrman, the Master Butcher of Rotenburg. There are some scenes in here that are so lovingly and romantically written I just wanted to scream; it was so damn creepy.
Again. THIS IS SOME FUCKED UP SHIT RIGHT HERE. And it's not blood and guts that make it creepy as fuck--it's the emotions. The psychological scars Lukas has to deal with, Bernhard must have dealt with, and I AM FUCKING DEALING WITH, M'KAY? Caused by someone's idea of twu wuv.
Oh god. I am sincerely impressed with this novella and how the author handled the subject matter but I am NEVER reading this thing again. Never!
I'm now going to hide under the covers with my dog, listen to R. Cooper's A Boy and His Dragon on audio and play Candy Crush till my brain goes numb. *nods*
By the way, I will definitely be following Evelyn Esrig's writing career after this. How will she follow this up? A nice YA romance between bear cub shifters?
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Thanks for reading my review!