It takes strong characterization to create two characters in a single scene and have me believe they’re meant to be together forever—and then split them up for 20 years. It takes even stronger characterization for me to stick with the point-of-view character over those 20 years when he’s kind of a jerk for many of them. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to someone in the military, but Noah’s strong negative reaction to Ian enlisting came very close to turning me off from the book. However, I’m so happy that I stuck with it.
The reunion between Ian and Noah is just as simultaneously sweet and awkward as I could have hoped. Remembered love is very different from the real thing, and people change. I appreciate that the spark between the two men is still there but that they don’t immediately jump into a (new) relationship with each other. Luckily, Noah has friends who are more than happy to play matchmaker for the one that got away.
In the time they’ve been apart, Noah has also discovered certain things about himself that Ian completely upends. It works out in the end but certainly makes Noah reconsider his needs and desires. Unfortunately, it also contributes to a certain lack of communication that creates the book’s dark moment. This is another case of Noah being a bit of a jerk, but I’m still pleased that everything works out.
I’d almost love to see certain scenes in this book from Ian’s point of view. Denning also sets up so much potential with side characters and a new hotspot in town—I certainly wouldn’t be upset to revisit Silver Springs sometime in the future.