Author: Brad Boney
Narrator: Charlie David
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L C Chase
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 10/13/2013
Length: 06 hours 33 minutes
Genre: M/M Romance
Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?
With the many hundreds of books I read it can be difficult to remember the small nuances of stories and the reasons that got them added to my favourite or definite re-reads shelf. I first read The Nothingness of Ben at the end of 2012 and gave it 5 stars. Sadly I didn’t write a review for it at that time so I can’t compare my thoughts then to how I feel about it now but let me tell you it’s still a clear and worthy 5 Star read for me. Brad Boney certainly knows how to weave a tale and drag you in. He brings you flawed characters and emotional circumstances, he plays on your heartstrings and he makes his men work hard for their HEA.
This story starts out sad but don’t let that deter you. Four boys are left without their parents a week before Christmas. Three of those boys still live at home and are quite a cohesive unit able to offer each support and comfort. The eldest brother Ben left home as soon as he could and has carved out a pretty good life for himself in Manhattan. He has good friends, a relatively new boyfriend and is a well-respected litigator at a top legal firm. His biggest concern is about what he should get his boyfriend for Christmas – until he gets that phone call that pulls him back to Texas and his whole life suddenly shifts direction.
The story doesn’t really dwell on the death of the Walsh boy’s parents. The much trickier stuff comes once they are buried. Ben hasn’t been around for his brother’s much over the years and is a virtual stranger, a man they don’t hold a lot of faith in and have difficulty trusting. The options for the family are stark – either Ben steps up or the boys get split up and sent off to live with other relatives. It’s a tense time for all concerned but when Ben agrees to stay and alters the course of his life to keep his family together they take the first step towards healing.
Travis Atwood is a neighbour who the Walsh family have kind of adopted but Ben only meets for the first time at the funeral. At first he doesn’t understand his familiarity with his brothers, especially the youngest Cade, but it doesn’t take him long to realise the man is a bonus in his life when things between himself and the boys are still so awkward and Travis becomes the voice of reason and explanation in the Walsh household.
Ben has absolutely no idea what to do with 3 teenage boys which I think is why his struggles felt so real. He also doesn’t know what to do with his huge crush on Travis, who for the record is straight, but when things start coming together between them it again feels real and is totally believable as a strong GFY storyline. Initially Ben would give anything to merge his old and new life together and it isn’t until all the boys have an unsuccessful trip to Manhattan with thoughts of moving there permanently that Ben seems to find his comfort zone and accepts that his life has changed and possibly for the better.
This story is so much more than a romance. Even when Ben and Travis sort themselves out – and boy do they make that difficult – the story remains about five men and not just the two of them.
I really enjoyed the narration on this one. An already perfect story was made just a little more perfect by the great narration skills of Charlie David!
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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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