Oh boy, how I have struggled to rate this book, I always do with this type of story – the ones bursting with moral humanitarianism that make me weep like a big soppy cry baby. It’s not usually my thing (weeping), but this book was a gift from a special friend; and as I felt the tears spill over and my heart burned, I realised it was a gift in more ways than one. There is a message here - but it’s personal, and you get to take away whatever you want from it.
T.A Webb has poured his heart, his passion, his love and bone deep heart ache into these pages, and it is a solid empathy that seeped into my soul. I clutched my husband in the middle of the night – ‘hold me’ I whimpered. God! I never want him to leave me – EVER!
It’s impossible to remain detached from Mark’s first person narration (not my fave PoV btw).
But his character such an extremely admirable one, his moral code is exemplary, and his loyalty is unquestionably fierce. He loves with everything that he is, and gives all he’s got. I recall the teachings of Kahlil Gibran when I think of Mark and the kindness, compassion and forgiveness he demonstrates.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. “ - Kahlil Gibran
Okay, that’s enough glowing commendation, the guy is not totally infallible and he swears worse than a Yankee truck driver. I would also characterise the shared massage sessions as cheating! Tut-tut, naughty Mark!
But his heart is golden and you get to take a lot away from his story up until a point – the 60% point.
Up until that moment this was a 5 Star read: remarkable and thought provoking. I absolutely cherished the first 60 % of this book. This is powerful stuff and you’ll need to arm your heart in Kevlar to stay immune.
The last 40% is a downhill slide and the plot line gets WAY to sappy and fluffy for my taste. The story spans many years and there are great big gaps of nothing between chapters, which left me bemused and questioning. Please do not open this tag if you are planing to read this book. MASSIVE SPOILERS HIDDEN Marks relationship with Antonio develops slower than a snail’s pace – to ensure credibility, I’m sure. I never believed that the straight Antonio would be happy being the bottom in the relationship. It doesn’t suit him, I struggled to wrap my head around his submission, and he seemed too dominant in his own right. Was Antonio celibate for all those years waiting for Mark to realise he loved him like that? I don’t believe he could be how could any hot blooded man?
The Robbie/ Jason relationship was too manufactured and only served to set an example of gay acceptance. The ending was just too neatly contrived with every single thing perfectly tied up in a big expensive bow. Yuck. The epilogue was positively cringe worthy - a double wedding!*shudders*
This is my personal aversion to overly cheesy happy sappy endings. I’m all for a HEA but this one was over the top. Especially when you consider that we are dealing with real life situations here – love, loss, healing, trust and acceptance. The ending was just too fantastical and unbelievable. I wanted to kick and scream ... you ruined it! You made it not special anymore, you made it like all the other schmoozy romance stuff - Gahhh!
I'm disappointed that this won't end up on my all time favorite shelf, it should have. T.A Webb is still an automatic buy for me and I have absolutely no regrets in reading this story. The first 60% was a gift. ***My conscience is killing me, this is NOT a three Star book. So because GR won't give me half stars I'm rounding up ***