We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Review: When Luka Krachec arrives in the United States after fleeing his native Serbia, he finds his cousin Josif, his immigration sponsor, is dead and his wife Bella is hospitalized after a terrible accident. Thankfully, a friend of their family meets him at the airport since he knows very little English and would be lost without help.Apparently, he’s arrived on the day of the funeral, and he finds comfort in the fact that he can say goodbye to Josif as well as meet others at the funeral who are friends and neighbors and mostly Serbian like he is.
At the funeral he also meets Peter Montgomery, a young man who is not Serbian but speaks the language fluently. Peter tells Luka that he helps people who want to learn English as their second language, and after spending some time getting to know each other, Peter offers to help Luka.
Peter is a social worker who spends most of his time helping others.He seeshis role in life as needing to bring happiness to others to atone for a terrible incident in his past. He thinks he doesn’t deserve love or happiness because he shot and killed his father when he was six years old.He and his brother were playing with a gun they found in his father’s shed, and when the gun went off, Peter found it in his lap.His family reinforces his belief that he is guilty and not worthy of love by their words and actions. Peter tells Luka his mother turned away from him, refusing to show him love or affection, ever since the shooting incident.
Once Peter finally shares the story with Luka, Luka sees more than Peter does. He suspects that Peter doesn’t recall everything and that maybe he’s not as guilty as he seems to think.He also tries to tell Peter that he shouldn’t take blame for something that happened when he was six, but Peter is adamant about his guilt.Luka speaks to the head of the psychology department at the university where he is working as a research scientist and learns that Peter may benefit from counseling.Convincing Peter of that is difficult, but Peter eventually capitulates and seeks out the professor who offers to help him in exchange for using the data anonymously in his research.
In the meantime, Peter learns more about Luka and his past life in Serbia.Luka’s past included a lover who passed away a few years ago, and an important job working for the government in the field of genetic research.Peter’s suspicions about a man who has been lurking near Luka’s apartment is confirmed when they learn that the Serbian government wants Luka back.The US Customs and Immigration Service gets involved and Luka begins the process of providing as much information about his work and personal life as they require in the hope of becoming a permanentUS resident.
There’s a lot going on in this story, and I really enjoyed it.In fact, I discovered that I had previously read the e-book, but I have to admit that the narrator, Michael Ferraiuolo, did such an excellent job in this audiobook that I was totally engrossed in the story from beginning to end,and it felt brand new.His range of character voices was amazing, including very believable female voices. There were several scenes that brought me to tears, including one scene in which Peter is speaking in his child’s voice as he remembers the details of the incident that killed his father.Michael Ferraiuolo gave an excellent performance in this scene and in several others that I found equally heartwarming.
I definitely recommend the audiobook over the e-book for this story and have given this audiobook a higher rating than I did previously. The story is complex and heartwarming, with two very endearing MCs, both of whom overcome intolerable situations to find their way to their HEA. It’s one of Andrew Grey’s best works, and if you’re a fan, don’t miss a chance to pick this up.