When I was a child, people would say that if you acted crazy, you would be sent to Williamsburg, referring to the insane asylum there. For some inexplicable reason, I got it into my head that if I didn't act like everyone else, I'd be sent there too. After fifty plus years, the thought of Eastern State Mental Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia, still frightens me. This being the case, I can only imagine how Griffin Flaherty, of 'Stormhaven' by Jordan L. Hawk, felt having to set foot in one after having experienced their horrors firsthand; yet, he willingly returns to such a place, to save someone falsely accused and committed showing great fortitude and bravery.
The story picks up with Wyborne and Griffin who, after saving the world from certain destruction once again, further their relationship by moving in together. Still uncertain as to why Griffin would want someone like him, Wyborne is eternally grateful that he does. Wyborne loves Griffin with every fiber of his body and, although he doesn't like to think about the future, can't help but dream that it will be one which will last forever. Whyborne no longer denies his feelings as he did in the past, particularly where Griffin is concerned. He's more assertive than ever before. He often surprises himself by acting in ways that he never would have in the past, i.e., standing up to his father. Whyborne no longer holds back and merely observes, but, when necessary, jumps right in and takes charge. When Griffin's parents come to visit, he puts Wyborne in an uncomfortable position in order to hide the real nature of their relationship. Griffin weaves a complicated plot to throw them off; but, as happens so many times when lying is involved, the consequences of being dishonest are often worse than they would have been in the first place. Wyborne also shows the depth of emotion which he has previously hidden even from himself as he faces the possibility of losing Griffin and the idea of life without him is unbearable; however, he won't stand between Griffin and his family and would never ask him to make a choice.
Griffin cherishes Wyborne too, even more than he knows. In the beginning, Griffin was the assertive one, seeming sure of himself, calm and collected, where Wyborne was shy, introverted, and tried to avoid attention at all cost; but as the series continues, Wyborne is coming more and more into his own. Their partnership is becoming more equal. His latest investigation leads Griffin down a road he never thought he'd have to travel ever again, to an insane asylum. The stress he endures from being in that environment again, even if only for a short time, causes his night terrors and bad dreams to assault him more than ever and it takes a heavy toll on his self-confidence. He shows a great deal of character as he struggles with his demons which he'd rather put behind him rather than having to confront them; but when it comes to preventing another person from suffering like he did, then that is what he must do.
This story has more emphasis on the relationship between Griffin and Wyborne, watching their love blossom and grow, and being able to see the things they do for each other which reflects real compassion and nurturing. I love the way they take care of each other especially in the smaller, but not less important, day to day things as well as the larger life occurrences. I continue to love Christine who is absolutely delightful in her ongoing challenge of archaic ways of thinking and, even more so for her affection and support for Griffin and Wyborne. She's an amazing character who adds a lot of color into the plot whether she's defending the guys either emotionally or physically. The historical information about asylums during that time was both horrifying and educational. It shows us just how far mental health practices have come since the days where mentally ill people were controlled, or even thrown in cells and forgotten rather than cured. I recommend this story to fans of the 'Wyborne and Griffin' series and those new to it as well. If you enjoy intense, scary stories with elements of horror and the unknown, then you will like this one. Thanks, Jordan, for another delightful story about two of my favorite guys. I'm looking forward to the next sequel. Originally published at Rainbow Book Reviews.