Author: A.J. Rose
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Elizabeth Mackey Graphic Designs
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 03/10/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
In the beginning, there was wreckage. Dane Perry’s mother was dead, and the father who always said he’d amount to nothing blamed him. Dane swore he’d become something. He would be someone.
In the middle, there was escape. Rebuilding his life from the ashes of his mother’s memory, Dane found success as a respected surgeon, and love in the form of Craig Dahl, a talented artist who became his everything. But there was also darkness, lies, and a crumbling foundation just waiting for the ground to shift.
In the end, there was a spectacular fall, illusions shattered, and for Dane, nothing more to lose. He was broken, damaged, and left with fierce demons. But from the bottom, the only way left is up. Dane renewed friendships and salvaged his career. The only thing he cannot replace is Craig. But Dane has a plan. Brick by brick, his foundation is rebuilt, and all he needs is for Craig to listen one last time.
In the beginning again, there’s hope and tatters of love. Can Dane repair the damage with Craig? Can he rescue the only thing he amounted to that ever truly mattered?
Content Warning: This book contains vivid descriptions of symptoms of PTSD and events that can cause anxiety. Reader discretion advised.
I was somewhat intrigued as this started, puzzle pieces of Dane Perry’s life randomly revealed. Jumps back and forth between the past and present gave it a dreamlike quality, a nonlinear revelation of those puzzle pieces. It also meant it took a while to get a handle on the intended focus for this story. The more I read, the less important the flashback chapters felt. Events referenced in the present are then explained in great detailed in the past. Unfortunately, for me, it was unnecessary and lessened the impact of those events taking place in the here and now, the built up tension lost.
Dane has been through a lot, his entire life a series of incredible personal challenges. He’s internalized them, like most people do, and they’ve influenced every decision he’s made, especially in regards to personal relationship, no matter the type. How does he work himself back into his own life? How does he try to help the ones he loves in understanding it all? Understanding him? This is where the story was strongest, when focused on the how and when and with whom Dane was struggling to do these very things, in the present.
There was a lot of research that went into writing this story: how hospital admin functions, internships and physical therapy, medical conditions, both physical and mental, and psychiatry. It all helped build the world of this story but it also overwhelmed it. The casualties were the characters and my ability to remain connected to them. Further, emotional gains made became emotional gains lost.
Dane’s story is one of someone working extremely hard at overcoming their fears, especially those embedded by the very people who were supposed to treasure him and did not.
Craig is the man who… well, he just might be the one tool Dane is missing in his mission to change his life, make it better, make it his again. Actually, not again, but finally. I don’t want to give anything away but they’re good together when they’re together. Compassionate. Caring. Forgiving. Truthful, no matter the end result. This is the biggest reason the chapters that take place in present day drew me in when they did. This was the story that was begging to be told, to be the star in the spotlight, not shuffled to the side of the stage, alternating with the past.
Rose’s writing is always smooth, confident, and utterly honest. No exception here. I just wish the well written story had grabbed a hold of me, making it impossible to forget, giving me that feeling of oh my gosh I want to get back to reading this book. For me, that didn’t happen here. I was curious but not compelled. This could truly be a case of it’s not you, it’s me. It feels like that must be the case given the evident research conducted, the depth of pain Dane carries, the excellent writing and all of the rest.
For me, this didn’t punch the ticket but, given Rose’s skills, I’m still glad that I read it.
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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