Dear Ms. Flint.
One day I’ll read something that’s not a novella, right? One day I’ll have the mental energy for it. Until I do, I’m glutting on novellas and (mostly) really enjoying them. Quick enough for a satisfying read, not too long that I stress about not having time to read.
Dylan’s sister calls him up and asks him to come back home to the ranch in Montana. He’s been running for 14 months from the grief of losing his (adopted) brother in a car accident while he walked away unscathed. And he’s been running from his feelings for his brother’s lover, Wade. Wade owns the ranch that Dylan works on (I never really figured out who owned what, when, and why Dylan worked there, but it didn’t really matter, I don’t think) but he’s given up in his own grief and is letting it go to hell. In a short 50 pages or so, these two men both come out of their grief and find each other.
More than anything else, this story is about the loss of Simon and how both Dylan and Wade have to give themselves permission and time to get over it, to find their way to the other side, to find happiness and contentment and joy again. It felt incredibly poignant to me, very true to life and what I know of grief (although I’ve not yet lost anyone close to me ::touchwood::). And you give them enough time to do that. They don’t get it on as soon as Dylan shows up and everything’s hunky-dorey. They work through their issues over months, which makes me trust it.
The one thing that made me question it, though, was that the story is first person POV from Dylan’s perspective. And while I could feel Wade’s wrenching grief and got the impression that his feelings for Dylan were as deeply felt as Dylan’s for him, the men didn’t discuss their feelings for each other at all. They had some heart-to-heart talks about Simon and how and why each other them was running from his death, but they never talked about their own relationship except to say that they weren’t going to talk about it at various points. And while the ending was satisfying and felt real, I would have liked an opportunity to figure out when and how and why Wade wanted a relationship with his dead lover’s brother.
Conversely, while I (somewhat perversely) trusted in Wade’s commitment to the relationship, I didn’t trust Dylan not to go running again, either physically or emotionally, the next time something was difficult. Because that was what he kept doing all the way through the book, avoiding Wade when he didn’t understand what was going on. Hopefully they’ll both learn a little more communication skills, but I couldn’t count on it.
That aside, this story was angsty but with reason and purpose. It was a satisfying and heart-warming glimpse into a devastating time in the lives of two men and how they got over it. The relationship was almost a bonus to the beautifully-done story of loss and recovery. So don’t look for the romance so much as just the human interaction.
This book can be purchased from Samhain.