Title: Living Again
Author: Brynn Stein
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Daniel Larson has walled himself off from any possibility of romance since his lover died violently five years ago in Afghanistan. The same bomb that ended his partner’s life took the lower part of Daniel’s left leg. The only support Daniel has, his Uncle Lawrence, is dead-set against anything homosexual, including Daniel.
Now, a popular language teacher at the local university, Daniel’s suffering from a car accident that broke his one good leg. His uncle, who is much better at throwing money at things than offering emotional support, provides a rented power chair and a private in-home nurse. Unbeknownst to his uncle, the nurse comes in the form of a man named Jonah Thacker.
Instantly attracted, Daniel and Jonah fight their mutual feelings in favor of professionalism. They become friends anyway, and Jonah shares his life with Daniel, including his handicapped son, Ethan. As Jonah and Daniel grow closer, Daniel becomes more involved in Jonah and his son’s lives, even being there for Ethan when his medical conditions worsen. But when Daniel’s uncle finds out the nurse he’s hired is male, he uses all of his resources to keep Jonah and Daniel apart.
Living Again is a very emotional story of two wounded men and a very sick child. You can tell from the blurb that this was not going to be a lighthearted romp. From the very first page, Ms. Stein effectively plays with the reader’s heartstrings to build a connection to the characters.
I will not talk much about the plot as the blurb essentially covers it from start to finish. This story is not so much about the plot anyways. It is about character growth and building a lasting relationship despite outside influences. These two men have many obstacles to overcome, none of them being easy. Daniel’s uncle is a homophobic bastard using his vast riches to try to control Daniel’s life. Jonah has had bad relationships in the past that color his view of the future with Daniel. The story mainly focuses on the men getting to know one another, and in the end, they work through their issues and live HFN for the promise of a HEA.
What is most evident in this novel, is Ms. Stein’s ability to build a heartwrenching story. There was pain and loss from the very beginning and things did not get any better. I spent the majority of the novel on the edge of my seat waiting for another bomb to drop. What would go wrong next? It was almost too much and by the end of the novel, I was just as emotionally exhausted as the characters. However, I do want to say that while I would have liked the hurting to stop, it was very well written.
While the majority of this story was on the sad side, there was one huge bright spot that redeemed this story for me. That would be Ethan, the wonderfully upbeat handicapped child that believes he is perfect and that normal people should be jealous of his “plastic legs”. Ethan was such a wonderful character. I could easily visualize him and imagine how his exuberance would be contagious in a real life setting. Ethan provided laughter and happiness in the midst of Jonah and Daniel’s pain and relationship issues. I would read this again just for Ethan. I would love another short story or even a sequel that shows Ethan’s future since this novel left it a bit open ended.
Overall, this novel was well written and a good read. I was a bit wrung out over the amount of sorrow present, but the story ended on a happy and hopeful note that left me feeling pleased.
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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