Melissa reviews What Remains by Garrett Leigh. Published July 4th 2016 by Riptide Publishing, 278 pages
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
I love this book! I loved Jodi. I loved Rupert. I loved Jodi and Rupert together! The beginning of the story is beautiful with Jodi and Rupert already having been together for 4 years. They are a happy couple with Jodi doing everything he can to entice his man to stay home with him versus going to work at the firehouse. It’s a normal day – Rupert has to go off to work his shift, Jodi has plans to meet his BFF/ex-girlfriend, Sophie. And then…”a cruel twist of fate.”
While Jodi is in the hospital, we experience Rupert’s struggles with how to deal with Jodi’s injuries – he’s suffered a severely broken arm, cracked ribs, and brain damage, which the doctor’s don’t know the repercussions of yet. It’s heartbreaking to see Rupert struggling with the possibility of loosing the man he loves. Jodi is in a coma for months, and when he wakes up, he’s different; he doesn’t remember Garrett or anything about their time together. This is something Rupert struggles with, obviously, because not only did Rupert suffer through those months of not knowing Jodi’s fate, but now he has to watch the man he loves look at him as if he were a stranger.
We experience Rupert’s point of view, as well as Jodi’s. Getting both POV’s really helped me understand Jodi’s frustration with his situation, his confusion over what happened, the differences in what he last remembers and what is now reality. The blending of Rupert’s thoughts and then Jodi’s are well timed and I never once questioned whose voice I heard; they are both distinctive and separate from each other.
Garrett Leigh wrote a beautiful story about how these two men found each other, loved and lived, and then survived. I never wanted the story to end and thought the ending was very realistic. There wasn’t as much angst in the story as I thought there might have been; there had been lead ups to potential high level drama that didn’t develop and I was okay with that because what did happen felt authentic and natural.
The cover image is very symbolic of the story; it describes Jodi’s image as well as depicts the fracture of his memory. The black dusting, the shadows behind Jodi represent the fracture of his memory and the dark spot on his brain.
The story is set in Britain and there is a lot of British slang that at times I didn’t understand (at all) what meant, but it didn’t matter. The important parts are all in English.
Where to buy: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.
When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.
Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.