Thea Landen
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Decadent Publishing
Release Date
March 2015
Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Science Fiction/Futuristic

Two years have passed since April Patterson's husband was shot and killed in the line of duty, and she's trapped in a haze of grief and uncertainty. Having grown frustrated by all other efforts to engage her in activities where she could meet new people, her cousin pays for a date via 1Night Stand. Not thrilled with the idea, April nevertheless contacts Madame Eve and requests the impossible: a date with her deceased husband.

Brilliant software engineer Drew Monroe created his company, Elysium, to help give closure to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one, through the use of virtual reality. Though passionate about his work, being constantly surrounded by heartache and death has taken a toll on his mental health. When he accepts the case of a young widow referred to him by Madame Eve, her tragic tale depresses him further, but he commits himself to programming April the romantic date she desires.

April arrives at Elysium and prepares to enter Drew's virtual realm. Will she find the solace she seeks within? Or will she discover she doesn't need a fantasy world to discover happiness again?

Book Review by Elizabeth Ramsay (reviewer)
Jul 07, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
63 people found the following review helpful
How do we know what is real?

Drew Monroe has developed a new way to use virtual reality. The worlds he creates are so real that those immersed in them feel the grass under their feet and smell the flowers around them. Using this technology Drew has created Elysium. Elysium is where those who has lost a loved one can enter a virtual world and say goodbye.

Two years ago April Patterson's husband Kevin was killed in a liquor store robbery. April's world collapsed that day and she buried her hopes and dreams with Kevin. Now she lives day to day. Her friend Janie is terribly worried about her and bought her a date with an online service that claims to be able to make your dreams come true. April asks Madame Eve at 1night Stand for a date with her husband. Madame Eve sends her to Drew, who just happens to be a client of hers. As the lines at Elysium blur between fantasy and reality, April is left wondering if her date was with Kevin or Drew. Can April let go of the past and learn to love again?

Elysium presents the fascinating idea of virtual technology as a therapeutic aid. Therapists often have clients write letters to the deceased to express their feelings. Would it be better to pour those feelings out to a representation of the lost loved one or would it extend the grieving process? In the novel, it forces April to accept Kevin's loss and allows her to move on. This seems too simplistic, though the time April takes for herself after her revelation does make the process more believable.

The main problem is that the technology is so interesting it completely overshadows the actual story of April and Drew. The backdrop raises up and takes over the story. As science fiction, this book has potential if the technology in it were further developed; as it stands the story feels surreal and alienates the reader.
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