On the surface, the two heroes of this book have little in common. Though neither of them has ever had a true long-term relationship, that is more a result of facets of their characterization: Greg’s asexuality and Holden hiding his sexual orientation for so much of his life. The theme that ties them together is their entirely different but equally painful backgrounds of not being accepted for who they are. Finding that acceptance in each other made for a sweet and compelling story.
Greg and Holden’s first meeting is entirely realistic. The second-chance encounter that follows is simultaneously romance-novel ridiculous while also remaining entirely plausible, a delicate balance that Sinclair hits nicely. Every character (and person) is different, but I thoroughly enjoyed the lovely, individualized portrayal of what being asexual but sex-positive means for Greg. Sinclair creates his perfect match in Holden by also portraying excellent characterization to develop the context for Holden’s acceptance of Greg. No moment in this book lacks emotion, but following them as they grow closer is delightfully low angst, and sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the slow burn for the sake of the slow burn. I appreciated that Sinclair maintains the low-angst tone by staying away from the obvious dark moment this story could have featured and instead allowing Holden to evolve and reprioritize elements of his life on his own terms.
I applaud Sinclair’s depiction of Greg’s HIV status as a detail of his life, not an element of his character other than how it affects how he navigates potential relationships. As a reader well-versed in HIV transmission, treatment, and prevention, I can also note that Sinclair does excellent research in each of these elements to portray a realistic view of Greg’s health needs. That being said, Sinclair doesn’t leave Holden out in how much she obviously prepared for this book—I also loved the nods to the obvious research into the history of being gay in the American military and how this has influenced Holden’s character.
I highly recommend this book for readers interested in an excellent age-gap romance featuring characters who don’t often get their stories told. Since Sinclair also includes some fun secondary characters in this book, I hope I get a glimpse of more of this world soon.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.