My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is, hands down, my favourite out of seven – yes seven! – superb books in this fabulous series from Vicki.
I’ve rated all but two of them at 5* and the other two were 4.5* stars so it was almost a clean sweep but in this one, I think Vicki just got the balance between the serious subjects under examination in the narrative and the wonderful romance at its heart.
I’m not sure if there is a trigger warning on the book, Vicki is usually good with those, but I will say it covers the deaths of two characters who were important to the MCs, one through cancer, one through an accident caused by the MC’s drug addition, as well as continuing discussions of both those events. There is also parental rejection and mild homophobia referenced in the past.
Greg is such a wonderfully realised character, he’s solid and I felt like he could just walk off the page at any moment. He’s grieving his wife’s death and facing bringing up their almost five-year-old twin girls alone when he’s forced to take a break in the Catskill Mountains over his break from professional ice hockey with the Buffalo Surge.
There he meets Aiden, who has a flock of geese and two goats and who lives a very simple life away from most people. His leg injury and scars speak of a tumultuous past which, as it is revealed, broke my heart so many times.
But this is not a depressing book by any stretch of the imagination because the spark which lights between the two of them, and the new family life they stumble into with the girls feeding the goats, building fences for ducks, and generally just taking things day by day, is beautiful.
Greg’s always known he was bisexual, but having fallen in love with his late wife at college, he’s not thought about it for years until Aiden stumbles along and wakes up all his feelings.
This book has such huge emotional kicks throughout, both of sadness and happiness, and it’s full of joy and interfering sisters who do it out of love, wonderful English brothers-in-law who write books about Presidents and offer up support, best friends who will have your back no matter what, and parents who offer a cautious hand and an apology and try and heal some of the earlier hurt.
The twins provide enough comic relief that the tone of the book never becomes overshadowed by either grief or sexual confusion. The intimacy between Greg and Aiden is beautifully realised, the interracial elements of the relationship subtly revealed rather than shouted out loud.
There is no stupid miscommunication, no manipulation, just two men who meet and fall in love at the perfect time.
Not sure if this is the final book in the series but if it is, what a high to go out on.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review