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Hearts On Fire Reviews

We read and review for the love and joy of books.

Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney – Leaving Flowers

Leaving Flowers - Debbie McGowan, Raine O'Tierney

Reviewer: Diane

Genre: MM Contemporary


Review: Aidan Degas lost his twin sister, Nadia, three years ago and he's been lost in his own way, ever since. While his age is not specified, I believe he is in his late 20's since it is suggested he is older than Patrick, but he has the innocence of someone barely out of his teens.

Patrick Williams lost his Dad not long after his family moved to America from Ireland. His Mom passed away seven years ago when he was 19, leaving just him and his older brother Seamus as their family.

While Aidan struggles to find a place in the world, dealing with guilt that may or may not belong to him, Patrick is an optimist, philosophical about life and death and living.
The story is told from the alternating points of view of Aidan and Patrick.


While this could be considered a depressing premise, and there are some authors that would have taken that direction, these authors instead chose to write a hopeful story of dealing with grief, forgiveness, learning to be who you are and opening yourself to having a life.

I loved the characters - Aidan was written in such a way that you just wanted to climb into the book and give him a hug. There are so many things he is carrying in his head that is weighing him down – how he felt about his twin finding love, his guilt over not visiting Babyland, his experiences with the Tenants in his building and his disconnection with real people, like his sister in-law, Lily. In contrast, Patrick leaps out of the page of being someone who sees the beauty and peace that can be found in a graveyard and seems to have a never ending positive outlook on life. In that regard, he is also easy to like.


Despite being seemingly opposite, the two characters click, Patrick feels drawn to Aidan when he sees him in the cemetery and when they do speak, Aidan feels he may have found someone who is a friend that was not part of his life with Nadia, so it's easier to share things. While Lily would like to be closer to him since she lost her wife, his sister, and feels they should have become closer, she’s not sure how and Patrick helps them find a connection again.


While both characters have experienced tragedy in their past, Aidan's challenges do not end with the loss of his sister, he has been taken advantage of in a few ways with his innocence. His coping mechanism is keeping people at a distance, while he buys flowers to take to Nadia's grave and talk to her rather than people who can give him feedback, that part is definitely heartbreaking. However, I found the bit of hope Aidan seems to hold on to when Patrick speaks to him, the steps he starts to take, really drew me in and made the book hard to put down.


I would definitely recommend this book to those who like dramatic romance – I enjoyed how the main characters were written, the secondary characters and thought it had a very smooth pace to the development of the story. There are some passionate scenes with Aidan and Patrick as their friendship progresses, but they are also key to Aidan’s growth. If you've experienced grief of losing a loved one, you will definitely recognize patterns in here, it is dealt with in a very real and compassionate way while the romance and sex is written in a very beautiful way. I loved it, it was the first I've read of either of these authors, but I'll be looking for more now!

Source: http://heartsonfirereviews.com/arc-review-debbie-mcgowan-and-raine-otierney-leaving-flowers