My rating: 4 of 5 stars
That was hard work, but in a completely satisfying way rather than an annoying one.
Felice used the narrative well to show how the actions which affect us in our childhood and youth can have lasting consequences into adult life with this slow burn, and sometimes pretty angsty, romance between two more mature men.
Walker is in his 30s, his high achieving baseball career brought short by an injury, the cause of which probably had a lot to do with him being an open gay player.
This is hinted at rather than outright stated but the impression you get from Walker is that he decided to take this career changing event and turn it into a positive.
He owns a bar, he raises money for LGBTQ charities and for kids who come from less privileged backgrounds, and he’s a loud and active advocate of “doing better”.
But he’s also hiding a deep wound, caused by those who should have been his biggest protectors and this slowly becomes apparent as the book moves along.
The other MC is Colin and oh boy did he make it hard to like him, while also having immense sympathy for how much he’d been shaped by his life experiences. He’s sharp, spikey, judgemental, quick to opinion and stubborn.
But he’s hiding a soft centre and his walls are there to protect a heart that’s already known too much pain, which is why I ultimately fell for him as hard as Walker does.
Theirs is a long journey to happiness but it’s worth every bit of the fight, the misunderstandings aren’t ridiculous ones, they’re the tenuous steps each man takes towards opening themselves up to being hurt again and there’s obviously some stumbles along the way.
Throw in a fabulous set of secondary characters, Felice’s wonderful drawing on Jewish heritage and traditions, and you ultimately end up with a believable and fulfilling romance between two men who should never work on paper but simply do.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review