My rating: 5 of 5 stars
While book two still just shades it as my favourite in this series, I have to say, Kane and Abe ran them close to take over at the top.
This book is nothing like I thought it would be.
Kane is nothing like the image we’ve been given of him in the previous stories, although he is also the first to tell people that he does not deserve their pity, or their friendship.
His one act of violence while still a schoolboy has had a lasting effect on Judah, Leroy and the rest of the Madden clan but as he slowly opens up to Abe, you find out more about the life Kane was living at that time.
While it never excuses what happened, it explains it. There was so much more going on than just a bully hitting out at an easy target.
I think Jay dealt with the whole journey, from the tentative friendship which arises between Judah’s choreographer friend Abe, through to the final ending, with supreme skill.
There are some very painful elements which tug at the heartstrings, but also a whole lot of hope and thoughts for a renewed life.
Heed the trigger warnings, there’s plenty to go at with this book, Kane has had a life that really wasn’t pleasant and he’s affected by his experiences in a multitude of ways.
But also, take joy from someone finding out that mistakes made, and one act of impulse, doesn’t have to be the thing that defines the rest of your life.
As someone who used to dance, that element of this book worked so beautifully for me. Jay uses the vehicle of the Argentine Tango in which to express the changes that Kane goes through as he opens up to Abe and then to the wider Madden family.
It’s a dance of passion, of emotion, it’s intimate and connected, it mimics the acts of both sex and love, and it draws you into a world in which two men can dance together and no-one blinks (AT’s roots are as a same sex dance in the ghettos of Buenos Aires where men would dance together to attract the attention of the local prostitutes).
I utterly adored everything about the dance elements which anchor this book, from the work Judah and Abe are doing with the young kids to show them that life with a disability doesn’t have to be limiting, to the growing love between Abe and Kane.
So, while Leroy and Fox still take first place in my heart, I will also have a space for Abe and Kane, and a relationship they worked so hard to reach.
There’s no ridiculous dramady in this one, the angst isn’t from misunderstanding or miscommunication, tensions arise from outside plot events and there is never a sense that things are being played out for plot’s sake.
It’s a beautifully organic romance that develops through two people finding a connection and then working at it when it becomes clear there’s far more than just a lustful attraction involved.
Kane is a complex and vulnerable man, and in Abe he finds someone who can help shoulder his load, for Abe, Kane is somewhere to come home to. I adored everything about this book.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.