Why I read it: The title of this book is initially what drew me in and as I read the blurb, I really wanted to read it. I thought it had an air of hopelessness about the title which was unexpected and intriguing.
Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?
Publication Date: November 22, 2012
It tells us the story of Ben a high-flying lawyer, who is very happy, thank you very much, with his high-powered job, his pilot boyfriend and his super-rich friends, a far cry from his roots in Austin, Texas. As he is busily planning his New Year celebrations with his boyfriend he gets a message from home that changes his life forever.
His parents have been killed in a car accident and he is now responsible for his three younger brothers whom he hasn’t seen recently. Suddenly he is thrown into the role of parent with no experience as such and his whole world is turned on its head. Gone is his safe, single life to be replaced by school runs, grocery shopping, parents’ evenings and teenage angst.
Amidst the chaos, Travis offers a quietly supportive presence, helping out with the practical tasks and initially, developing a friendship with Ben that offers him brief respites from the constancy of grief. Soon Travis admits to Ben that he is developing deeper feelings for him but is afraid to explore them until Ben encourages him to. What follows is the exploration of their feelings for each other while caring for the three brothers, whom they put before everything. However Travis and Ben are from completely different backgrounds and Travis especially, must find a way to reconcile his feelings about that if he and Ben are to have a chance at happiness together.
Many things in this book resonated for me possibly because it deals with bereavement where close family members are involved and I have some personal experience of that. Brad deals with it sensitively and honestly which is one of the great strengths of the book. I fell in love with Ben’s character and the brave way he steps in to the void left by his parents, increasingly determined to do right by his brothers. He doesn’t always get it right and sometimes he makes some monumental mistakes but the love he has for his brothers always shines through.
My initial impressions of the book in relation to the feeling of hopelessness gleaned from the title, were proved wrong. Quite the opposite, it is a story of hope for the future in the most unimaginable of situations.
10/10 pots of gold