Publisher: Intaglio Publications
Collide is about loss and rediscovery. Versions of this theme combine to create the plot of this book.
Renee Cardone and Anna Maria Castrovinci were best friends from the time they were small children until high school. Together they discovered their attraction went beyond mere friendship, but Renee couldn't deal with the implications of that. She was afraid of losing her family and being an outcast in her own town, so she turned her back on Anna, married Tom Del Fino, and prepared to live the rest of her life with him. When she is left a widow, Renee's life seems out of control until she meets author Dana Renato, who lost her partner a few years before. As they ignite feelings that each one thinks she has forgotten, Renee tries to bring all of the aspects of her life into sync, not very successfully. When Annie shows up again, everything around Renee begins to unravel and she has to decide what she wants to save and what to let go.
This book asks the reader to consider the consequences of a number of different losses. Renee has to deal with the loss of Annie's friendship which is spurred by her fear of another potential loss, that of her family and friends. Then there is the interesting juxtaposition of what a legal widow goes through with the loss of her husband and how that is different from what gay couples, who lack that legal status, have to endure. While Renee experiences adjustments, she has the support of her community to help her. Dana however not only lacks that community support, but finds herself attacked through a legal system that is not required to uphold the "normal" standards.
The losses are counter balanced by what the characters find. It is possible to rediscover love and passion with a new person while remembering the partner who is gone. Friendships that are based on honesty can be reclaimed years later despite the emotional pain that has to be overcome. Finally, although society is changing, there are still limitations that have to be dealt with and can be overcome by being willing to adapt.
The strength of Collide is that it has a good story and personable characters while it gives you issues to consider. The issues don't override the plot, but are woven into it so well that you can't help being aware of them. Ciletti has provided a thoughtful yet enjoyable book.