Other Reviewers: Goodreads
This is an advance reader copy given to me by the author for an honest review. As with all of my review, these are my own opinions.
I have never read a novel from Jacob Z. Flores, so this was an opportunity to find new works for my library.
Santi Herrera has everything in his life, a track into partnership at his law firm, great friends, and a fiancé that was going to walk down the aisle in weeks. But what happens when Hank is ripped out of his arms by an accident and now there is nothing in common between them. Will they be able to find that spark again?
Our perspective comes from Santi 99% of the book. He is a workaholic, spending most of his time trying to make partner. His motivation is to make his parents’ proud of him. Yet, his social life really is only advanced when his “fag hag” friend Jill gets him out of the house and down to the club.
“Santi, are you sure you’re gay?” She asked as she rose from the bed and crossed over to me. Her black boots clicked against the hardwood floor of the five-star hotel room she’d made me book. “I ask because you dress like a Republican.” She sighed in exasperation.
“Can it, smartass,” she said as she spun me around. “Look at yourself in the mirror. You’ve got good muscle definition in your arms, which the muscle shirt shows off nicely. Plus the ribbed material makes your flat stomach look even tighter. And with those tight jeans displaying your bulge and tight ass, you’ll definitely be getting some play tonight.”
I stared at myself in the mirror. Was she serious? I couldn’t look any more ridiculous if I tried.
I think this is the portion of the novel where I thought, “I can relate to this guy.” Even this man, who obviously is attractive, smart, and rich is self-conscious.
Hank is a mystery to us, one as a plot device, but also because we must rely on Santi’s perspective on his actions. The beginning of the relationship is set to us as flash backs, so we jump/skip into important events in their courtship. Hank seems to be a great guy, his roommates/friends Darren and Mitch have become a family because Hank’s family kicked him out as a youth because of his sexuality. Here we see a conversation later in the book about Hank and Santi:
“I’ve got to ask,” Darren said. “When did all this happen?”
“I’m not really sure,” Hank answered. He stared down at me instead of looking at Darren. “It’s been gradual. I guess I’ve been hurt so many times in my life that I didn’t want to hurt someone who obviously cared so much for me. What else but love makes someone take care of someone else the way Santi has taken care of me? “
Here we get a look into Hank’s post-accident mind as he tries to assimilate into his life. He sees Santi’s actions and is overwhelmed with how much Santi must really love him. The problem here is that we don’t know if Hank feels the same way because he does or if he “should”. How can anyone fall in love without having memories of getting to know each other?
Finding a theme can be difficult sometimes within romance novels I review. It often determines what number of stars I assign. But there was a passage that spoke to me here:
But don’t focus too much on that. We all make mistakes. Look at his actions now and what he’s trying to tell you today. I know sometimes cutting our losses is what we need to do to get over the pain, but I don’t think that’s the case here. He’s trying and he’s the only father you’ve got.”
The entire relationship (post accident) is about not giving up. Santi is forced to hold back his actions toward Hank while he struggles to just learn how to be again, let alone remember their past. That we need to move forward no matter what roadblocks impede us comes through as a theme for me here.
I enjoyed the humor in this book. Jill, the secondary character gives us a break throughout the novel as it gets too deep.
What could be better?
Here is where I get picky. First person drives me crazy. I had a difficult time attaining immersion level with this novel. Also, not getting Hank’s perspective as he struggles to remember his past limited my enjoyment. That being said, it certainly did give us that “blank” feel about him, because the only way we learn about him is through Santi’s flashbacks.
The last thing I did not like was the flashbacks themselves. For me, the concept itself annoys and comprehension challenging. It wasn’t Memento level flashy, but it did jar.
I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book. I now have a new author to check out all of his other works. I think the biggest challenges I faced with this book were in writing mechanics, rather than quality of writing or plot line. Perhaps, someone who enjoys those aspects would give this a four or five-star.
I did enjoy how the author treated the amnesia in a realistic perspective. Life does not just magically get better and everyone (friends and family included) have to adjust.
It is the best amnesia romances I have read in a while, so if you are looking for a sweet and angsty read with a happy ending, this book is for you.