We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
This was an amazing story. Was it a typical M/M romance? No, at least, it wasn’t in my opinion. However, it was all about love—both the deep, abiding, passionate love of one man for another, and the love of a friend, a friend who knows you in the moments when your soul is exposed.
Paul Turner is on a weekend vacation so that he can have hot, decadent sex and mind-blowing experiences. But, in a fit of anger, he storms out of the resort he’s staying at with his friends, and his car loses traction on the slick mountain roads, landing him in a ditch on the side of the mountain in the midst of a raging blizzard.
He’s rescued by Caleb Maguire, a quiet and reclusive man who lives in the Victorian high country in the home he shared with his partner until Mike’s death a year ago. Caleb prefers the solitude but when asked to go out to rescue the stranger, he and his dog Molly set off on foot to rescue the fool whom he dubs, “Snowman”. Once rescued, Paul is stuck with Caleb until it’s clear for him to return to his friends and to his life as a waiter in a suburb of Melbourne.
Paul is a carefree guy, living in the moment, out for a quickie in a back room or a one-night stand, whichever the mood of the moment calls for. He and his roommate, Stewart, are happy to live that way, but when Paul returns from his weekend with “the mountain man”, he starts to subtly change. It seems he fell a little in love with Caleb on that mountain—Caleb who was so quiet, so sturdy, so supportive. And Caleb gave him more than physical support and comfort when he rescued Paul— he gave him hope that he could be more and have more in life than the simple social whirl he currently chooses to live in.
Caleb doesn’t want to let go of his memories of Mike and isn’t willing to jump into a relationship with a young man who will likely leave when a new whim strikes him. So, although Paul texts him every day, Caleb doesn’t respond. When Stewart finally sees the impact that the weekend had on Paul, he encourages him to go back up there or to call Caleb and set up a date. He does, but before he has a chance to leave, a disaster occurs in Stewart’s life, and Paul is needed to help support his best friend.
I really loved the exploration of all of the emotional issues in this story. Caleb’s grieving for Mike, his inability to let go of the past, his isolation, and finally the emotional depths of despair he reaches when fire threatens his home and his life. All were expertly portrayed, and I just wanted to reach out and give that man comfort. At the same time, Paul’s friendship with Stewart, the love they shared for each other as best friends and the support they gave each other through tough emotional times were all expertly expressed as well
What I wanted more of was face to face time with the MCs. Although they had some contact by phone or text, it was mostly one-sided on Paul’s part. Caleb stayed isolated and ignored every olive branch offered by Paul. It’s hard to believe that Paul was able to remain on track with his new goals and stay positive toward his relationship with Caleb, considering where Paul was emotionally at the beginning of the story and how emotionally remote Caleb kept himself.
But it was a story that evoked emotion, and I totally enjoyed every moment of reading it. In fact, I found it difficult to put it down and stayed awake late to finish. I’d recommend it to those who like a very emotional story with lots of angst, grief and recovery from the death of a partner, and an ending that provides hope for a brighter future.