This is the final book that I have read of JP Barnaby’s Survivors stories. I have enjoyed them all immensely, and it was a pleasure to re-visit the characters from Aaron.
Title: Spencer (audiobook)
Author: JP Barnaby
Narrator: Tyler Stevens
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Story Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
A survivor story
It’s been nearly five years since Aaron woke up in the hospital so broken, he couldn’t stand the sight of his own face. The flashbacks no longer dominate his life, but he’s still unable to find intimacy with his lover, Spencer Thomas. With time, patience, and the support of his family, his therapist, and his loving partner, Aaron has figured out how to live again. The problem is, Spencer hasn’t. His life has been on hold as he waits for the day he and Aaron can have a normal relationship. Hoping to move things forward for them both, he takes a job as a programmer in downtown Chicago, leaving Aaron alone.
Reeling in the wake of Spencer’s absence, Aaron receives another shock when his attackers are caught.
Now, he must testify and verbalize his worst nightmare. Publicly reliving his trauma without Spencer at his side destroys his precarious control. But he finds someone who can understand and empathize in Jordan, who watched his brother cut down in a school shooting. With Spencer gone and the DA knocking at his door, Aaron seeks solace in Jordan, and Spencer will have to risk everything to hold on to Aaron’s love.
My View – Story:
I read Aaron, the first book in JP Barnaby’s Survivor series, last spring and fell in love with Aaron and Spencer. Now, listening to Spencer months later, I was more than happy to fall in love with them all over again. Spencer basically picks up where Aaron’s story leaves off. They are moving on, yet both young men are still trying to overcome pain of the past. Aaron’s PTSD, though improved, continues to interfere with conducting certain everyday activities and in relating to his boyfriend Spencer in a physical way. When Spencer is offered an opportunity to start a life and begin a future with Aaron, it creates a rift between them that is difficult to mend. In addition to the stress of the separation, Aaron is suddenly called upon to testify against the men who attacked him five years earlier. Both men find themselves not only struggling with the changes that have occurred in their lives, but also with the frightening reality of what they must now face.
I can always count on JP Barnaby to bring the pain, but I also know I can depend on her to make it relevant, cathartic, and completely worth any agony I may share with her characters. I expected to have my heart wrung out over these two boys and what they were going through, and it was. Central to the story is the difficulty that Aaron has with intimacy and complete independence and in trying to meet Spencer’s need for that within their relationship. The obstacles this creates and the resulting scenes within the book are heart wrenching, described with vivid, raw authenticity. The individual voices of these characters and the dialogue between them and with secondary personalities ring stunningly true in their emotional range and intensity. There is a commonality in Aaron and Spencer’s mutual desire to see to each other’s happiness, yet the barriers that exist both internally and externally create a consistent struggle throughout the story and a tension that is brutally realistic.
Amidst all this angst, however, are the themes of growth and healing. Both are necessary for these two characters to move forward, and Spencer shows the process in agonizingly beautiful detail. Though heartbreaking, I appreciated the further look into Aaron’s struggle with PTSD and how he has continued to work to overcome its effects. Also, despite the impact it has on his relationship with Aaron, it was satisfying to see the expansion of Spencer’s world beyond the suburbs as he ventures into the corporate arena. JP Barnaby takes us into these two lives and allows us to reside there, experiencing the pain and triumphs of young love and of stepping into adulthood while dealing with the demons of past tragedies.
I wholeheartedly recommend Spencer, as I have all of the JP Barnaby books I have read. Keep the tissues at the ready, but also remember that though the journey is rocky, the destination is breathtaking, gorgeous, and powerful.
My View – Narration:
Tyler Stevens does a wonderful job of bringing Aaron and Spencer to life through his inflections and emotional expression. I did struggle a bit with certain voices and tones he used for a couple of the secondary and peripheral characters; however, his overall presentation of the story was clear, beautifully narrated, and provided a pleasurable listening experience.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook 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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