Expected publication: August 6th 2020
Clementine has been taken by a creature of darkness.
Dorin is a fiend in love who must find Clementine before losing her forever.
While on his desperate search, Dorin pens eight dark and romantic monstrous tales, written only for Clementine. Each story serves a purpose, and that is, do monsters have the ability to love, too?
Dearest Clementine is a short story collection filled with dark romantic tales.
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In this collection Candace Robinson dares to explore what it’s like to find love (and lust) in the darkest of places. Be-splattered with lots of blood, these alternate realities are an imaginative slice of both human and non-human struggles, which ask us to consider whether all hearts beat the same. The letters Dorin sends Clementine, which appear between the stories, are a reminder of that theme that binds this whole book together. His devotion illustrates how hard it is to let go of the ones we love—and how far we will go to prove it, no matter how impossible the obstacles may seem.
“Sail into the Unknown”: This is a surprising retelling of “Pinocchio”. If you’ve read Robinson’s other works, you’ve already discovered her talent for taking a well-known story or character and making it her own. In this case, the main character’s seemingly hopeless circumstances suddenly appear to be looking up. It’s a lesson in never giving up hope, and in never turning away from your true self.
“A Piece of Him”: What’s an immortal girl to do when her beloved dies of old age? Use Frankenstein as a reference point to bring him back to life, of course. But don’t expect this one to involve harnessing lightning…it’s a tad more gruesome. Will it work? This shout out to Mary Shelley is about doing whatever it takes for a soulmate relationship.
“Lured in for Death”: This is a sensual tale of a depressed man who finds love with a demon who just might save his life. Despite the bleakness around them, ironically, their connection feels almost heavenly. Can they escape their own personal hells and find a way to be together forever? Some great imagery and lots of romantic steaminess in this one.
“Darkness Can Be Good”: A murder plot and a serial killer ghost who has a crush on you? Not the ideal situation, to say the least. Things get very emotional as this main character makes some heavy life and death decisions that pertain to her and her family. How will her flirtation with the ultimate bad boy end? You’ll have to read to find out…
“Laughter is Always Better”: So, you work at a haunted house connected to an urban legend about two restless spirits who kill two people every year to maintain their existence. And then you get trapped with a coworker you completely despise, but are inexplicably attracted to. What could possibly go wrong? I have to say, this is one of my favorite stories in the collection, thanks to the sexual tension juxtaposed with the paranormal.
“Our Hearts Wither Too”: You need a fresh heart every month to stay alive, but you’ve regretfully fallen in love with your latest would-be victim. Problems, problems. Can love really conquer all when this is your life? That is the question, isn’t it?
“Sometimes We’re Not Hungry”: Your girlfriend takes off during the zombie apocalypse and hasn’t yet returned, which means your only option is to pack up the cat and go looking for her. Yet, even if you do find her, what kind of future will that be? And, can love survive in such conditions? The answer might just surprise you…
“Wrong is Possibly Right”: The anthology ends with a story about winter creatures, one of whom is Krampus (but throw out your pre-conceived ideas about him—because this time around, he’s kinda HOT). Robinson does what she does best, building a world where nothing is what it seems. This is a case of not judging a book by its cover, lest you pass up what may be the great love of your life.
If you’re a fan of the paranormal, fantasy, and horror, you should be able to find something to love in this collection, especially if you crave a common thread of romance. Be warned that Robinson often asks you to suspend your disbelief in order to escape to alternate realms where strange is the name of the game. While we’re there we discover that whatever our darkest deeds might be, or how much blood may have on our hands, we all deserve to find love. These stories prove, albeit in the extreme, that there’s truly someone for everyone.