Author: MJ O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/25/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.
Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.
Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.
I really enjoyed this road trip, friends-to-lovers m/m romance. Open Road has so much heart, celebrating faithful companionship and the healing that occurs when those we love don’t give up on us, even when we’re at our worst.
When Angus’s boyfriend of ten years dumps him on his thirtieth birthday, then promptly announces his engagement to a younger man, Angus goes into a tailspin. Having the stability of a long-term relationship yanked out from under him, no matter how much of a controlling douche Brad is, turns his world upside down. It isn’t long before he loses his job and his apartment, and it’s only through his best friend Reece’s intervention that he rouses himself out of his stupor enough to accompany Reece on a road trip that will change their lives forever.
Angus and Reece are just so good together. Their lifelong friendship is fun, loyal, and an enormous aspect of their adult lives. It also provides an excellent foundation for the romance that develops throughout the book. I particularly liked Reece’s fierce protectiveness of Angus and his tenacity in getting Angus out of town and on the road (so to speak) back to health. Both of these characters are engaging, sweet, and sympathetic, and their scenes together—the comic, the tragic, and the romantic—are a joy to read. Additionally, their family members are supportive and positive, delightfully free from drama and angst in their obvious love and concern for the main characters.
I also enjoyed the road trip itself. The descriptions of the sites and the characters’ lively activities make for a wonderful escape, and the journey Angus and Reece take, both literally and figuratively, provides the opportunity for healing and a deepening of the relationship in order for them to make the move towards one another as more than friends. As a reader, I felt I was riding right along with the characters, experiencing the sights and sounds of their various and varied stops. Their reactions to their surroundings and the atmosphere of romance and wonder that was created were well-crafted backdrops to the change in the characters’ feelings towards one another.
I did have just a couple of issues with the story. First, I felt there was too much ambiguity and confusion regarding Reece’s lifelong feelings towards Angus and about his sexuality. Though I wouldn’t call this a gay-for-you romance, it wasn’t clear if Reece considered himself bi-sexual and if he had simply been denying his feelings for Angus, or if this was a revelation. Secondly, there was a final conflict added to the story that was predictable and unnecessary. I felt it flattened the ending and made the HEA a bit less satisfying.
Overall, however, I highly recommend Open Road. With its endearing romantic leads, its fun and spontaneous road trip, and its sweet friends-to-lovers story, it is a wonderful way to get away from it all and embrace the romantic, adventurous side of life.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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