The show must go on is a saying that everyone has heard, but that only performers truly understand. Julian from 'Spoken from the Heart' by Jane Davitt attempts to explain this to his friend, Alex: “The play, the performance, the audience going home satisfied -- that is what counts. It's all that counts. You'll learn that, you'll live and breathe the truth of it, or you'll never fit in.” Julian may live and breathe theatre, but when he's faced with a real life situation, he has to reevaluate its importance.
Julian is a bit of a rogue with a heart of gold. He's flamboyant, vain, and affected. Julian frequently recites lines from plays to help him mask what he feels, using their words instead of having to find his own. Even in his thoughts, Julian constantly weighs his decisions by how others will react, feeling as if he has a certain image to portray. Julian is also generous to a fault even giving to those who he knows will take advantage of him and never pay him back. He's also considerate and nurturing. He not only goes way out of his comfort zone to help rescue Alex, but also refuses to simply dump him back into a situation he's obviously not prepared to deal with. Instead, Julian generously takes Alex under his wing and invites him to live with him. Julian and Alex butt heads all the time, but their hearts are in agreement, even if their words can't express it.
Alex is an absolute delight—young, unassuming, honest, and, unless provoked, extremely polite. Unlike Julian, he's quick to act on his feelings and doesn't care what people think. To Alex, if it's how he feels, he says so, sometimes loudly and with great fervor. Alex may have been raised with country wisdom, but he is not a fool. He sees what's going on around him, although he may not always understand it. He knows Julian loves him even before Julian can admit it to himself. Alex and Julian are so different that sometimes they just have to agree to disagree. Yet, in essence, what they both need is someone they can love with a passion which matches their conviction.
The world building in this story is imaginative and well thought out. Even though it feels like we're in Elizabethan England, the Realm is actually a world of its own with different speech, customs, religion, and inventions. The elements of this alternative world are close enough to feel familiar, while different enough to be entertaining. It may be a fantasy without castles or dragons, but the story has a magic all of its own. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone with a romantic spirit who may be captivated by an alternate time and place. A world different from ours in many respects, but also the same as ours, where love is always spoken from the heart. Thanks, Jane, for the great reading adventure.