This author has fast become a 'one-click buy for me! All their books are well written, have amazing characters who have depth, heart and soul, and storylines that are unique and keep me turning page after page. That they have that bit of grit thrown in just keeps them interesting - these aren't all sunshine and rainbow romances, but they're not dark, and don't have cheating or huge love triangles either, which I love!
Garret and Blair's story is no exception. It takes them a while (well Garret really) to sort through their issues, and that was actually a bit heartbreaking to go through. The chemistry between them was palpable from the start, but it definitely wasn't the right time for them when they first hooked up - that both of them grew and realised that over time was beautiful to read.
The alternating POVs and chapters set at various intervals over the 5 year period really help you understand the issues they're facing. I especially love that the timeline was a true representation of the changes and turmoil in Australian laws surrounding same-sex adoption, marriage and other key laws that have been changed for the better in recent years.
The supporting characters well written and definitely left me wanting to read their stories to find out how all of their relationships came to be. I look forward to more from this author, and would recommend anything published under this pseudonym.
This book is part of a series. However, while reading them would probably provide more depth, I read it as a stand alone without feeling I was missing anything. The author has done a superb job with a bisexual character, addressing biphobia and treating the bisexuality with utmost respect. The timeline of the book is well done, starting in the present, then jumping back 5 years and working towards the present again. It works well for the book, as we get to experience the full five years of the rocky on and off again clandestine relationship between Garrett and Blair (Whose surname is Rhodes, and Garrett calls him Rhodes, hence the title).
It’s worth noting, the main characters are not together for all of the book, and we do see them with other people. However, they don’t cheat on each other. And it all serves as part of the rough road they walk towards their HEA. The story has elements of several tropes, however one of the things I love about it is that it doesn’t feel like it was trying to conform to a trope, this is just how the story developed.
Garrett has issues with a capital I. So many issues, so much to work through. This book is angst driven and full of feels. I was honestly impressed with Blair’s maturity from the outset, though it edges into self sacrifice. This is not a light fluffy read, but it’s a wonderfully written, deep feeling book that has you really wanting things to work out, even though it’s painful.
I found Blair’s job stuff a bit weak and cheesy, but it didn’t detract from the main story.
*I received a free copy of this in exchange for reviewing, but I'll still give my honest thoughts*
As you can see from my rating, I'd probably give a standing ovation if this was a performance. The characters are incredibly well fleshed out; they're complex with likeable traits as well as flaws, leading to believable, realistic-feel characterisations. The same can be said for the relationship development between Blair and Garrett, as well as how they perceive their surroundings. Emphasis on 'flawed' because even though I gave a high rating, this doesn't mean the characters were perfect. They both made some questionable decisions that lead to other people being hurt and damaging each other, and that can't be excused; it's one of those situations where you can see they're doing wrong but you can also understand WHY they act that way. They both have hang ups and mutually acknowledge the toxic nature of their relationship. The thing is, this is what makes them feel far more real and believable. And while I normally wouldn't root for a toxic relationship, the problems this toxicity is rooted in are tackled and solved over time. Will Blair and Garrett ever be healthy and 100% 'cured'? Probably not - but so is barely anyone in real life either. So despite them not being good for each other at the start, I think their willingness to work through their problems and personal hang ups, for each other but ALSO for themselves, speaks for their potential as a couple. They also encourage and support the best versions of each other despite meeting when they're both more or less messed up heck.
What I appreciated was just how deeply their issues were explored. This is a story of two men coming to terms with their fears and worries concerning their sexuality, one bisexual and the other homosexual. It dives deep into internalised homophobia and how it can control one's life, but also what happens when you can find the courage to overcome it. This is Garrett. He's so deeply disturbed by his past actions that denying his true orientation is a response to fearing what could be done to him if he's out, as well as a form of self punishment. It takes him nearly half his life to come to terms with his actions as a scared teenager and his subsequent actions clashing with his feelings and thoughts. After suppressing his true self for years, it takes him another half decade of running from his feelings for Blair before he feels comfortable and safe enough to admit who he is to himself and others. What I find important to mention is the equally insistent emphasis on bisexuality. As someone who identifies as bisexual, it gave me a lot connect with. Blair, the bisexual character, continuously has to deal with people's perception of his sexuality from family, significant others and friends (though as is revealed later on, his own fears caused a distortion of reality). There's a boyfriend who, among other reasons, breaks up with Blair because he doesn't accept bisexuality as a legitimate orientation and instead calls him a straight guy in denial. Then there's a girlfriend who continuously expresses worry that he'll cheat on her with another guy even though he hasn't given her any indication that he'd be disloyal (SPOILER: despite him having feelings for someone else at the time as well). There's also his parents, mostly his mother, who perceives Blair's future partners to be a choice rather than accepting that he has no control over who he falls in love with. After his relationship with the boyfriend is over, she frequently brings up 'having hope' that she can still have grandchildren. This scenario of casual/passive-aggressive homophobia is more hurtful to hear than outright hate, and my heart broke for Blair. I understand that bi/pansexuality can be difficult to understand for anyone who isn't so I'm really glad to have read a story where this exact problem is so deeply analysed. Not just in response to the outside world but also internally; Blair's fear of not being accepted caused him to misunderstand his friends' attitudes towards his orientation for years before he realised it was him and not them he was holding back for. Eden Finley has really managed to go into these issues deeply without resorting to tragedy or glossing over them. It's touched a deep part of me and I'd strongly encourage anyone to read this.
This is the story of two guys so in denial that they are drowning. Blair is out and doesnt feel supported by his friends. Garrett is Blair's best friends older brother and super straight- or so he wants people to believe. After a nasty break up Blair goes to his best friend for comfort but instead finds Garrett. This begins a 6 year hook up relationship, both men want more but Garrett is so far in the closet and so scared of coming out that he runs away and breaks Blairs heart when he moves in with another man. There journey to their HEA is long and full of hurt and super hot man on man loving, but in the end it is so worth it. This story is a part of a series and the other relationships (all m/f) play out over the course of this story so now I need to go back and read their stories. A well written story with great characters and supporting characters. I received an ARC of this story and am voluntarily leaving an unbiased and honest review