Victor and Oliver may come from thoroughly different walks of life, and exist in vastly different current lives, but this isn’t an opposites-attract romance. Instead, this is a story about love arriving when it’s least expected (and possibly even least wanted) for two people who don’t believe they deserve it but are still able to hope for it all the same.
These men quickly found a way into my heart from the very first pages. Neither is perfect, and both are carting around a significant amount of trauma, but while they have let it affect and influence their characters, they haven’t let it define them completely. The intense and emotional beginning sets up Victor as a sympathetic character but not as the cliched hero who has been wronged unjustly. His continued pragmatism in the face of constant disappointment makes him stronger than any cliché could ever be. Lindsey also doesn’t sugarcoat Oliver’s current profession or childhood experiences, laying out his trauma while simultaneously crafting a character who is an absolute delight. Together, these characters are explosive both before and after certain secrets are revealed.
Both of these men are also at or near a major hinge point in their lives. The way they fall for each other is very real, but though they stand on a precipice together, barriers exist between them that are both very real and completely imagined based on flawed assumptions. The inevitable dark moment is poignant and painful on all sides, but just like they could not have gotten together if Victor had not been momentarily outside of his “real” life, they could not have committed to a future together until Oliver reached his own transition point. The character development that occurs during both sections of the book is incredibly important and worthwhile. I especially appreciated the theme regarding how wrongs done to a person need to be processed for a person to move on with their life, but that the wrongs don’t necessarily need to be forgiven as part of that process. That theme ties back into how powerful both of these men are, even if they don’t see it themselves. They have too many jagged edges, but those edges soothe each other rather than causing more wounds, resulting in the incredibly swoony romance promised by the author.
This is a completely stand-alone novel separate from any of Lindsey’s existing work, and it is an amazing representation of her storytelling and writing ability. Loyal fans will find everything they anticipate when reading a book by this author. New readers who have been curious but a bit intimidated by Lindsey’s catalog should consider this a perfect place to start for a taste of this wonderful writer.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.