This week’s M/M Monday features two books instead of one, but only one story. I read these both back-to-back, in just one day, and it didn’t feel right to not include them both in this post.
In Imago Jack and Lawson meet. Lawson has been asked by a professor to come find a butterfly he saw decades earlier, but the problem is the butterfly is not native to Tasmania, and everyone thinks the professor made it up. On the flight over, Lawson sits on the other side of the aisle from a gorgeous guy. Jack.
They are instantly attracted to each other and unlike in so many other stories, they don’t beat around the bush. Lawson is in Jack’s hometown for just one week, and if they want to get to know each other, they don’t have time to waste. So there are five dates in five days. Each a little more romantic and each making it just a little more obvious for both the men that this isn’t just a quick fling.
Jack and Lawson seem almost polar opposites on the outside. Jack is a rugged and built bear of a man whereas Lawson is lithe and smaller. Jack’s outdoorsy – he’s a Parks and Wildlife officer – and Lawson is a scientist, who studies butterflies. Not a match made in heaven? They are in this book.
Insta-love? Some would say so, but I’m a little hesitant to use that term. Yes, they do essentially fall in love with each other within less than a week from when they first meet, but. I felt that Jack and Lawson actually learned to know each other as well. Yes, parts of the story are very sappy and so, so sweet – I actually thought, “Hey, I’m smiling!” just a few pages into the story! – but they are living their actual lives while starting to build their relationship.
The title, Imago, is very fitting. In the beginning of the story Lawson is described as kind of geeky and introverted, and this image is further enhanced by his way of speaking and how he dresses – bow ties and all. But at the end of the story he’s blossomed, almost transformed, into a more open and not-so-proper-after-all man.
“Imago. It’s the final and fully developed adult stage. When a caterpillar emerges as a butterfly.”
This part of the story ends happily. Lawson gets a job offer in a nearby town and decides to take it. Alas, he and Jack can continue building what they’ve started.
Imagines takes places six months later.
Lawson gets an urgent call for help from another lepidopterist, who’s concerned that a butterfly is going extinct, and they can’t figure out why. Jack has been hoping to take a little vacation with Lawson, and they decide to combine the two.
This part of the story is a little less romantic than Imago, in a way. There’s not that “will they, won’t they” guessing, and we already know they are in a relationship. Now, very often this book would be the one where one of them is tempted by another and drama ensues. In Jack and Lawson’s case? Nope. (Thank you, N.R. Walker!)
In Imagines what they started only grows deeper and they truly learn they are IT for each other.
Lawson nearly dies. Jack carries him through a rainy, muddy forest and won’t leave his side at the hospital. He realizes he wants to marry Lawson and really build a life with him, as husband and husband.
Until now, Lawson hasn’t even wanted to move in with Jack. He’s thought it’s too soon, that everything happened too quick. But almost dying changes his mind. He wants to belong to Jack, body and soul.
“In entomology, we have a term we call imagines. It’s the plural of imago. And if imago is one butterfly reaching its full potential, then surely we, together, would be imagines.”
Maybe I’m sappy, but I utterly enjoyed Jack and Lawson’s story. Sure, a lot of it is kind of trope-y and just a little too convenient, and there’s no way nobody is this perfect for another person, but I don’t care. I had a dopey smile on my face the entire day and I felt hopeful. (Mind you, my next read needs to be a little less sweet…)
I can’t help but wonder if these two books could have been somehow combined into one, and the story told in one go. The way they are written now, it doesn’t fit, but a few changes to the middle… Perhaps. Still, both books are decently priced for their length and you get your money’s worth even now, so they are well worth a few bucks.
Both Imago and Imagines get four charms from me.
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