Author: Ashavan Doyon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: M/M Romance
Gerald Tanner lost the piece of his life he loved most, his husband Adam. When faced with the prospect of another Christmas with a family who thinks he’s better off now that Adam is gone, Gerry decides instead to revisit the memory of when they met, and boards a Christmas cruise on the Sunrise. He’s not expecting to meet Leo Ystrabov. He certainly never imagined the courageous young man would challenge him into feelings of desire and the possibility of a love that isn’t his precious Adam.
Leo Ystrabov doesn’t quite know how to handle the shattered heart Gerry presents so hesitantly. But the offer is precious, and Leo can’t resist. However, with two families none too eager to accept them and a lot of baggage on both sides, their relationship faces an uphill battle. Leo will have to find his courage to be the lion Gerry sees in him.
This was quite a difficult book to read and not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
Gerry is grieving and his grief his all-encompassing and very ugly. Not only did he lose his partner, he had to sit by and watch him slowly fade away. He had no support from his own family who dismissed his dead partner Adam for years, blaming him for Gerry being gay. He is still very close to Adam’s family but doesn’t want to further their sadness with his own. His outlet was and still is his painting, his latest canvasses bring to life the death and his sorrow for everyone to see and leave him with a constant reminder.
In a move meant for him to start living again he books himself onto a cruise over Christmas, something he did with Adam for over a decade and from the minute he steps on board the ship the reminders are almost like flashbacks of their lives together. When he is approached by Leo and asked out to dinner he grabs the invitation like a life raft, anything to keep his thoughts in the present.
Leo is vivacious and fun but lives with own personal grief and is severely lacking in self-confidence. Their relationship is curious from the start. They fall for each other very quickly, in fact throughout the book their relationship moves forward at a fast pace, but it is no way easy. There are certainly 3 people involved even if one of them is dead.
Gerry is quite often difficult to like even if you can understand why he does things the way he does. I found myself flipping through emotions with him often. One minute I was sorry for his grief but the next I wanted to shake him for being so selfish. Leo’s patience knows no bounds where Gerry and his ghosts are concerned but it felt like he was selling himself short a lot of the time.
This isn’t an easy read but it is a beautiful and compelling story. Gerry’s love is hard and unrelenting for the man that is currently in his life and the one who can no longer be here. The trick is going to be to find a way to nurture both.
There are an abundance of great secondary characters and side stories in this book, mostly family, but really it’s a very sweet love story with a lot of heartbreak but also a lot of hope.
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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