Author: Indra Vaughn
Narrator: Craig Beck
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Story Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 07/14/2016
Length: 06 hours 42 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.
The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.
When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.
This audiobook arrived in my review queue at just the right time. I needed an escape, an opportunity to fall into the world of appealing characters full of life and emotion. Ollie and Thomas did that for me and made me wonder how I have missed Indra Vaughn all this time.
I was immediately pulled into Ollie’s story as his life, loves, and losses wrapped me up in a cocoon of heartbreak, laughter, and tenderness. It is a complete package, made real and tangible through the nature of his grief and the humble, unassuming way he interacts with others. I applaud Ms. Vaughn for creating this sweet, lovable man and allowing him to hurt as much as he does while he grieves his loss. His mourning feels authentic, palpable, and crushing, and I appreciated the process he goes through. His feelings of loss are never simplified or glossed over as the reality of grief and all of its pain and ugliness are given ample time here. It is dealt with in a convincing, genuine way, yet Ollie’s journey through it never drags or feels belabored. The reader mourns right along with him, enduring the darkness as well until he gradually comes out the other side.
His relationship with Thomas is interesting and sweet in the imperfection of its development. Peppered with fits and starts, unrequited feelings, and poor timing, it reflects the reality of life, much like Ollie’s grieving process. Although this story is told in Ollie’s first person voice, Thomas’s character is clearly developed and sympathetic, with a tender and loving personality that only becomes even more endearing when parenthood arrives. The way Ollie and Thomas handle each other and a newborn is precious, filled with laughter, insecurities, and honesty. There is beauty and rawness in the vulnerability they show with each other and with little Milo, etching them further onto the reader’s heart.
Additionally, secondary characters play vital roles within the story, adding layers to the plot, supporting the main characters, and impacting the development of their relationship. There are some unexpected side stories that create interest and intrigue, and the love of family and close friendship is a clear winner here.
Ultimately, Patchwork Paradise is a story about loss, healing, and family love found within the hurt and hope that is life at its worst and its best. I highly recommend it and will be searching out more of Indra Vaughn’s titles not just to enjoy, but to savor.
I can sum up Craig Beck’s reading of Patchwork Paradise in one word: Yum! His voice is delicious, and his ability to bring each character to life is unique and appealing. He is not just a narrator; rather, he is a performer. The range of emotion he is able to capture and impart to his audience is impressive, whether it is two bumbling men trying to change a diaper or a broken shell of a human being clawing his way up through the paralysis of devastating loss. Kudos, Mr. Beck. You’re a new favorite of mine!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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