Author: Kate McMurray
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
A Spin-off of The Stars that Tremble
Sandy Sullivan has gotten so good at covering up his emotions, he’s waiting for someone to hand him an Oscar. On the outside, he’s a cheerful, funny guy, but his good humor is the only thing keeping awful memories from his army tours in Afghanistan at bay. Worse, Sandy is now adrift after breaking up with the only man who ever understood him, but who also wanted to fix him the way Sandy’s been fixing up his new house in Brooklyn.
Everett Blake seems to have everything: good looks, money, and talent to spare. He parlayed a successful career as a violinist into a teaching job at Manhattan’s elite Olcott School and until four months ago, he even had the perfect boyfriend. Now he’s on his own, trying to give his new apartment some personality, even if it is unkempt compared to the perfect home he shared with his ex. When hiring a contractor to renovate his kitchen sends Sandy barreling into his life, Everett is only too happy to accept the chaos… until he realizes he’s in over his head
The Silence of the Stars by Kate McMurray is a sweet and gentle story that hides a bit of a punch as it explores the effect of PTSD in a relationship.
Sandy Sullivan is a veteran. Fourteen years in the army, two tours of Afghanistan and a medical discharge have left him emotional shuttered, unable to come to terms with what he saw and felt. Sandy hides his emotions underneath a cavalier, come what may attitude. It’s been seven years since he left the army and he’s had relationships since then, a few casual and one long term, to James, but James wanted to change him, wanted him to seek help, and in the end that fell apart because there’s nothing wrong with Sandy that needs mending, at least that’s what he’s been telling himself. That is until he meets Everett Blake and realises that maybe, just maybe Everett is worth exploring his issues for.
Everett is shy and reserved, a gentle soul, a violinist who used to perform with the New York Metropolitan Orchestra. Now though he teaches students as the orchestra director at the Olcott School. Everett is on the rebound from a long term relationship with a narcissistic overbearing TV chef called Pierre and Everett and Sandy meet when Sandy’s firm is hired to renovate the kitchen in Everett’s new home. Both men are immediately attracted to each other, both finding the other hot and sexy and it’s not long before the two men are seeing each other but can they make it work long term? Do they both want the same thing, and has Everett got the strength to hang in when things get rough? As Sandy turns to professional help he begins to delve deeper into his fears and tries to come to terms with what he thinks he’s lost, but has he really lost his dreams or is Everett willing to come along for the ride?
Sandy comes over at first as superficial, just out for a good time, but that’s an illusion, he’s good at hiding his emotions deep down, it’s what he’s learnt to do most of his life, and especially since leaving the army. Sandy is suffering nightmares, flashbacks; and he’s hiding them from everyone, even his best friend former solder Mike, the only one who knew was James. It’s why he’s reluctant to spend the night with Everett at first; he doesn’t want him to find out. It takes time for Everett to get through to him, to make him understand he doesn’t have to hide anything. PTSD is usually a silent illness, and it is so for Sandy, it only manifests itself in his nightmares and flashbacks. He has no outward physical injury apart from the scars on his back from the injury that caused his medical discharge, and his large eagle tattoo covers most of that up, but his scars run deep, far deeper than he initially realises.
Everett is scared of what he’s taking on, wonders if he can build a future with Sandy but he wants so much to try. Everett is a one man person and he desperately wants that man to be Sandy, but he finds himself floundering unsure of what to do or what to say. It takes patience and gentle determination by Everett to show Sandy that he doesn’t have to suffer alone, Everett can help, take up part of the burden, support Sandy as any true partner and lover would.
I found The Silence of the Stars easy to read, it was sweet and gentle, and flowed well. Even though the subject matter was a difficult one Kate McMurray dealt with it sympathetically and with understanding. The PTSD became just a part of the story of their budding relationship, it didn’t take over. The story didn’t become the angst ridden tale I had expected. It was told with alternate POVs which I liked; they helped me understand both men and the ending was perfect, all wrapped up with an Epilogue, just how I like them.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book, I’ve never read anything by Kate McMurray before but I found the story very enjoyable and a pleasure to read, a real gem. I’ll definitely pick up more by Kate in the future.
I would like to thank Kate McMurray and Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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