I had a feeling this particular Lindsey title would be chock full of angst, and I was absolutely right. This is not a complaint. Every bit of the pain these characters undergoes is directly relevant to the plot and affects their hard-fought and deserved happily ever after. It’s just the getting there that involved a whole lot of tears on my part.
Lindsey doesn’t skimp on the beginning of this relationship, despite the time gap that occurs in the middle of the novel. We get much more than the brief glimpse of Regan and Isaac in their teen years that I expected, and Regan’s discovery of his imminent hearing loss is just as tragic as him and Isaac losing each other. I’m not a huge fan of the “for your own good” school of relationship conflicts, but I do make allowances for youthful mistakes. Especially since both of these men pay for it many times over during their separation.
Isaac did not get the perfect life Regan envisioned when he sacrificed his happiness for Isaac’s future. And while neither of them has ever found a worthy match to live up to their first loves during their 20 years apart, their personalities also did not exist in a vacuum. The love of childhood is a different beast for two adult men who have established patterns and habits that can be difficult to break. I’d call the push and pull between them “idiots in love” in a lighter book, but here the trope is tempered by fear and old habits that instead infuse the reconnection with a more heart-wrenching gravitas.
Even when Lindsey makes it clear that the happily ever after between these men is real, this story doesn’t read like true love fixes all. Regan and Isaac still have plenty of work to do as individuals and as a couple, but I don’t doubt for a moment that they deserve every bit of the current happiness their difficult journey has brought them.