This Same Flower' by Augusta Li, sequel to ‘On Tinsel Wings’, picks up two years after the first story ends. Through trial and error, Patrick and Yu have learned to understand each other's very different personalities; they have learned when to be close and when to give each other space. They can read each other's moods without any words being spoken. Their lovemaking, whether slow and tender or fast and rough, is always accompanied by the sensual blending of their souls. They are each other's touchstone, their safe place, their sanctuary, yet, their trials are not over. Now that Yu has finished school, they are at a crossroads, about to choose which path to take; but, right now, they seem to be facing in different directions. As their ideologies clash, staying together becomes much more difficult than they'd ever anticipated.
Patrick has come into his own in the last few years and with this security comes spiritual and emotional growth. Gone is the shy, dejected young man starving for love and attention, wanting desperately to belong. Patrick's friends have become his family and he couldn't be happier. Patrick wants to share his knowledge with other LGBT youth as a way of paying back those who have helped him; he's there to listen and share the benefit of his experience. One young man, in particular, Evan, attaches himself to Patrick who wants to help but in doing so, becomes too emotionally involved with him. When it comes to a choice, Patrick knows he can't leave the vulnerable young man when he needs him most. This puts Patrick in an extremely touchy situation, which challenges his values and causes serious conflict between him and Yu.
Yu is anxious to graduate and get on with his life. His artwork is gaining in popularity and is being sought after by promoters in the art world, one being his ex-lover, James. James wants a life-sized sculpture with Yu as the model. Yu has come a long way since he and Patrick first met; it may seem as if Patrick gives Yu more than he gets back, but it's not so. Yu expresses his love in broader gestures, as contrasted to Patrick's everyday, overt ones, Yu's gestures are more private, but just as meaningful and solidifying. Yu doesn't always agree with Patrick's reasoning, but he understands that Patrick's sense of responsibility and loving nature are a huge part of the person he is and a big part of why Yu loves him. Yu is disappointed that Patrick isn't as excited as Yu about moving to Japan; yet he understands how it would be hard for him to leave the people who have nurtured and cared for him for years. Yu may not like Patrick's decision to stay behind and help Evan get on his feet, but he does realize why Patrick feels the need to do so.
Although the main focus of this story is Yu and Patrick's journey to happiness, there are lots of other stories woven in which make the book even more special. The magic of the Renaissance Faire setting continues to play a large part in bringing the elements and people together; joining old and new; friends and families; and, of course, encouraging lovers. Fans of Yu and Patrick will most certainly enjoy this continuation of their inspiring love story. To those new to the series, I'd like to recommend reading the first book in the series, 'On Tinsel Wings' before reading this story in order to get the most out of the experience. Thanks, Gus, for showing me that real love does exist and is achievable with enough dedication and determination.