This is a tricky scenario for me, but there was something about it that made me want to take the gamble and read it. So glad I did. Even if I teared up several times; I smiled, too. Heartwarming read about a man who has the long road through grief and another chance at love.
The story opens with Oliver set to marry the love of his life when it is all snatched away in tragedy. Ollie is buried in his grief and struggles even with his circle of close friends and mother being there for him. He goes through giving up, anger, guilt, and attempts to re-start his life. Sam was his everything and now he must pick up and move on. His closest friends help, but even their lives aren’t absent of pain. And then Ollie learns to late that he was blind to something special when he loses it.
Ollie now has to work to gain something precious even while helping out a friend leading to the final step toward healing and happiness.
This is a story about everyday people who are touched by a tragedy. Ollie is the main character and narrator, but he is surrounded by a close cast of friends and family. The story is set in Antwerp and is a gently-paced, emotional, character-driven piece. The author writes Ollie with flaws and strengths. He is a sweet guy, but oblivious, too. I wish the blurb had been written differently so the twist and surprise for Ollie would have been a surprise for the reader, too. Or, maybe it shouldn’t since it gives clear direction of where the story will go.
The part that was a gamble for me was that this was a romance that takes place on the heels of a guy losing his first love and grieving. I wasn’t sure if I could buy into the second romance. But because of the way it happened and the type of people involved, I did. Ollie isn’t one who does well alone and needs to love and be loved. I think that’s why it worked for me. Also, it’s not like he jumped right into a new relationship. It was almost a year later and it wasn’t a stranger- far from it. There is a soap opera quality to the story, but not overdone at least.
On a side note, I have to thank the author for not making Thomas’ bi-sexual nature an issue. There was already plenty of conflict with them getting past Ollie’s grief and trying a new relationship with a long-time friend. Thomas was a character that I was rooting for even if he was sending Ollie mixed signals while he was still waiting for Ollie to work through his grief. Personally, I can see why Ollie wouldn’t figure out about Thomas’ interest since Thomas tended to Tom Cat around. And then in the end, I could see why Thomas was treading so carefully and wanting to take things slowly when Ollie was full-steam ahead. They definitely had to work to get on the same page.
All in all, this was an emotional, heartwarming, and gently paced m/m contemporary romance that I would recommend to those who like to read about healing and second chances at love.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #145 LGBT
New to Me #60 author