Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.
Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….
There is so much I loved about Blink that I struggle to write this review. Sometimes that happens with a book that strikes a personal chord on a variety of levels because it is just that: a very personal read. Despite the notes I took and the positive reactions I had, it is difficult to convey just how much I connected with this story. Nearly everything resonated with me: the tone, the character voices and ages, and the nostalgic references all struck me as incredibly personal and relatable.
I love how this tale of second chances is drawn with honesty and directness as Andy and Carlos each tell the story from alternating points of view. The result is an incredibly intimate portrait of them as 20-somethings just embarking upon their lives and again as more mature men in their 50s, having both lived through heartache and personal growth over the past 30 years. The conversational tone and sincerity of their voices are compelling, whether the characters are sharing the excitement of instant attraction, the gamut of emotions when struggling with sexual orientation and commitment, or the variety of ups and downs associated with pursuing happiness later in life.
I cannot express how much I appreciated seeing characters in my age bracket searching for romance. It is incredibly validating to see more mature personalities take center stage, right along with their insecurities and doubts, as well as their successes and wisdom of experience. The growth that Andy and Carlos make over the thirty years is clearly evident and gratifying, and though the small details of that time period are not there, they aren’t necessary. The reader is treated to enough of the history to understand how these men have become who they are now as they each continue to overcome their own personal obstacles in order to move forward. Mostly, however, I loved the brutal honesty and passion of these two older men who simply want to share their lives with someone.
Finally, I must speak about the numerous and unapologetic nods to 80’s music and classic television in this book. It felt as though Mr. Reed pulled out a drawer from my personal memory file cabinet, plucked out folders of some of my most nostalgic memories, and spilled the contents out onto the pages. Talk about personal connection! I smiled at references to such childhood shows as Maude and All in the Family, but when the characters started talking about the irrepressible Hermione Gingold and running home after school every day to watch Dark Shadows, I actually shouted with delight! These are my people!
I still don’t think I have accurately conveyed how much I enjoyed this story, though I hope my enthusiasm about this title has come through. Blink is a warm, touching story about the choices we make in life, the importance of understanding how our past shapes our present, and the opportunities for all kinds of second chances that exist for those who seek them. It speaks to the romantic heart, ageless and timeless, in all of us. Well done, Mr. Reed.
I would like to thank the publisher 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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