Book Reviews

New Reality by Jessica Payseur at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Other Planets / Outer Space / Mature Lovers / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 08-November-2017

Book Blurb

It’s lonely running a small transport ship across the galaxy when you’re as old and as single as Connell Smyth. So when the dreams start up, Connell assumes they’re his mind’s way of working through what his life has become—until he discovers the man in his dreams might be much more than a figment of his neglected imagination. Connell can’t quite believe it could be real, but he can’t help becoming obsessed with this new lover on an unknown luscious planet.


Seventeen years ago, Wystan Kreeger’s survey mission crash-landed on a hard-to-reach planet. Sole survivor Wystan turns desperate after his computer, the only companion he’s had since, gives out. Even in the improbable event that the man in his dreams is real, he’ll face the same risk from the planet’s storm-charged atmosphere if he tries to track Wystan down, and he could end up just like Wystan’s former crew. But finding each other across so many light-years can’t be a mere coincidence. Now they must find a way to realize the happiness they’ve found in sleep during the light of the day.


Book Review

For me, romances with mature characters have a special appeal of their own. Partly it’s the idea of a “second chance at love”, and partly it’s the idea that you’re never too old to find happiness. This story combines those elements with a setting in outer space, an intriguing concept of communicating via dreams, and suspense around the question of how the two main characters can possibly overcome the obstacles they face. The result is a compelling story I really enjoyed.

Connell is a captivating character whose emotions were very real to me from the start: he has just lost the man he loved to a heart attack and believes he will be alone for the rest of his life. In his fifties, Connell doesn't think he has a lot to look forward to. His dreams - from the ones dealing with his memories to the ones about Wystan - are very vivid and feel utterly real. It is almost as if they are more real than reality for him, and that adds a nice layer of intrigue to the story.

Wystan has faced tragedy, ended up marooned on a planet all by himself, and the many years he spent alone definitely show. He has become hesitant, his interactions with Connell are anything but smooth, and the fear that he will never again be able to talk to another human being in reality – meaning outside his dreams – is almost overpowering. He felt just as real to me as Connell, even though most of the focus is on Connell.

The idea of communication through dreams may not be new, but in this science fiction setting and with the characters as they have been set up by the author, it felt like a new story. The mystery around Wystan's identity and location is well done, the suspense of "will Connell find him or not" held my attention, and the ending (after some appropriate difficulties) is just perfect. The contrast between Connell's gray and dreary everyday life and the color and vibrancy of his dreams comes through loud and clear and made the story more interesting for me.

If you like sweet stories with an edge, a romance that comes with a healthy dose of mystery, intense suspense, and conflict, and if you’re looking for an entertaining read with an intriguing storyline combined with great main characters, you will probably like this imaginative novella.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 52 pages/18162 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 08-November-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link