Arriving home after work one evening, Jørgen sees a young man who looks adrift and out of place—and who promptly has a seizure on the sidewalk. Jørgen takes care of him until the seizure passes and then, not knowing who to contact, takes care of him for the night. After giving the kid, Geir, a ride home the next morning, he expects that to be the end of it. He doesn’t expect Geir to be a student at the vocational school where Jørgen works as an electrician. He definitely does not expect to be drawn to Geir time and again, to want things that will never be possible for two people with more obstacles between them than can ever be overcome.
I liked one of your books in the past, and therefore when I briefly tried Netgalley your book was one of the two books I requested. I usually (with some exceptions of course) try to read two books by a new- to- me author before I decide whether the author is for me or not. I am still undecided, because while I liked a lot of things about this story, what I disliked seemed to be a theme which I have grown to dislike over the years I’ve been reading m/m.
I liked that the story takes place *not in the USA or even Britain*. It takes place in Norway and I’m always happy when the setting is different from the usual. I cannot say that I found the setting to be very vividly portrayed and memorable, but at least we have the characters, named Geir and Jorgen (I cannot figure out how to do a crossed O on my keyboard therefore his name is going to be consistently misspelled throughout my review. Apologies.) and other names which sound Norwegian. And we have the names of Norwegian cities and some mention of a different school system. So even if it was not very detailed, I liked it. Besides, the story was very character driven, so not too much detail in the setting made sense to a degree.
When the story begins Geir is 16 (he turns 17 about a month later) and Jorgen is 22. 16 is apparently the legal age of consent in Norway, but the age difference may still bother you. In addition, they are not having sex anyway till Geir is 18. I am not sure if I was comfortable with it, to be honest. I am a reader who is very much okay with a story that has no sex scenes (or as many as the story requires, if there is a story), but this felt like an attempt to appease American readers, to be honest, and I am not sure if I liked it. I mean, the story gives perfectly good reasons why they are not having sex until almost the end of the book, and the reasons are based on the characters’ circumstances, so maybe I am completely off base with my speculation.
Moreover, the story is a very nice slow-burn romance and when every other book I am reading seems to have a Insta!Love/Lust I feel even more weird that I am complaining. I want more slow burn romances, not less, and I really wanted to love this book more than I did.
The blurb mentions Geir’s epilepsy. He is on medication but still has seizures sometimes, especially when he forgets to take his medication. After Jorgen takes care of him, Geir understandably thinks he is special, but there is nothing along the lines of “I am going to be with you forever and ever.” Instead, the characters are slowly but surely become friends. They spend time together, going shopping and doing other stuff that “mates do”. It was really nice. I am probably going into spoiler territory here, because there is nothing about Jorgen’s circumstances in the blurb, but I definitely need to discuss them, so SPOILER TAGS here we go:
I liked Jorgen and I think I would have liked him even if he did not have so many horrors in his past. He is a kind, generous soul; I just was not sure how he was actually able to function for years after all he had been through.
As I said, I liked how slowly the characters went about their relationship. I liked that they separate at some point in the story and deal with their issues separately, and they are not being “redeemed by true love”. The reason for their separation seemed reasonable to me, I liked how Geir learned to be more sociable and dealt with how to better manage his seizures, and to find better medication for himself. I liked that Jorgen went back to therapy. I just felt too much resentment over what I thought was emotional manipulation to make the characters more sympathetic.