Why I read it: I loved Training Season by Leta Blake and when I saw she had a new book out, I couldn’t wait to read it! I want to say a huge thank you to Leta who provided me with a free copy for exchange of an honest review, and wrote an amazing guest blog post for us. You can read it HERE.
Memory is everything.
After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.
For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach’s choices may come back to haunt him.
Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.
“Memory is the sum of us, the total, and if it is divided, then we are lost.”
This book moved me so much! It pulled on my heartstrings and I couldn’t resist getting misty eyed on more than one occasion.
Just imagine what it would be like if the person you love, the person you’ve shared your life with for years, suddenly forgets you. That’s what happens to Zach. His partner Leith gets beaten pretty badly at a boxing match with an illegal strike to the back of the head, and goes into comma. Zach doesn’t know if Leith will live or die and spends a few agonising weeks praying that Leith wakes up.
Leith does wake up, eventually, but he doesn’t have any memory of the last three years. He is angry, confused and lost.
“It isn’t just time or memories that I’m missing, I feel like I’ve lost who I am. Like, there’s this feeling that I’m a big, human-shaped lump of clay, and I’m somewhere inside it if I could just dig myself out. But I can’t remember who that person is supposed to be anymore.”
Three years doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but to Leith it is. So much has happened during that time that has shaped him into the person he is, or rather, the person he’s supposed to be, today. He doesn’t even remember he’s bi and identifies himself as straight.
Zach is heartbroken. His partner, the person he loves more than anything, is looking at him as if he’d never seen him before. He doesn’t remember anything about Zach, none of their intimate conversations or silly jokes or quiet moments or promises they’ve made to each other. Leith doesn’t remember why he fell in love with Zach.
“If he loved me enough there would have been nothing – nothing in the whole damn world that could erase me from his mind. But seeing him… the look in his eyes? I’m gone. We’re gone. We’re nothing. Everything I had is dead. I love him so much, and it’s all gone.”
But Zach remembers everything. He badly misses the man Leith used to be, even though Leith himself is standing right before him.
“Some days I feel like he died after all.”
Zach is guilt ridden, conflicted and confused, while at the same time being eaten inside by grief and fear that there’s a very real possibility that Leith might not remember him at all. Ever. When the stress becomes too much, he makes mistakes, but I can’t find it in me to be mad at him.
Despite everything, despite the doubt and the disappointment and the anger, Zach is strong and manages to pull through, even when it seems like his whole world is burning around him. I admire him for that, not many people would have been able to do it.
I love Leta Blake’s writing. It’s so smooth and flowing. The River Leith is told from Leith’s POV, but the reader is able to take an agonising peak in Zach’s mind when he makes these vlog entries. Let me tell you – those are heartbreaking!
The River Leith is a very real book. Don’t expect any magical solutions or convenient plot turns. This is the story of two people who manage to find their way back to each other despite all odds being stacked against them.
I highly recommend this book! Give it a try, and check Leta’s other amazing stand-alone Training Season. You will not be disappointed!
P.S. If everything I said up to here did not convince you to read this book, you’re made of stone! And obviously need another incentive…
“The kiss was hot. He lifted Zach onto the counter dragging his hips forward until the could grind against Zach’s crotch. Leith’s physical reaction was immediate, and he found himself riding the accompanying waves of affection and lust with very little grace at all.”
“It all drove him to want to consume Zach in every way – to please him and penetrate him, and somehow break it all down into the truth that his body knew and his mind denied him.”
There! The sex is HOT! Now go buy it!