Erryn and Dana review ‘Ben’s Rainbow’ (Rainbow Key Book Three) by Victoria Sue. The ebook was self-published April 29, 2018, 242 pages. The audiobook was released February 12, 2019. It is narrated by Darcy Stark and is 7h and 7min.
Why I chose this book (Erryn) – I loved Joshua’s and Charlie’s Rainbows so I had to see Ben get his happy ending.
Why I chose this book (Dana) – Each character that lives on this island has been hurt in some way and I just have to see them get their happy ever afters.
Benedict Keeler was one of America’s most popular models. Hot body, hot career, and super-hot boyfriend, until a devastating house fire destroyed his face and his dreams. After being told all his life that a pretty face is the measure of his worth, he can’t face another rejection and runs from his lover, eventually hiding out on Rainbow Key.
Zachary Jones, a highly sought after photographer – even if he would rather shoot the homeless in Manhattan than a fashion spread – is now facing the real possibility that a genetic disease will render him blind and his days behind a camera may be over.
Two devastated men, one haunted by his past and one convinced he has no future. Will they both hide from the world, or will they give love, and each other, a second chance?
Welcome to Rainbow Key – held together by love, family, and sticky tape.
Ben was injured in a tragic fire four years ago and he ran. Ran from his life as a famous model. Ran from his expensive and lavish lifestyle in New York. Ran from the only man he’d ever loved.
Zach searched for Ben for more than two years before giving up and returning to his high-intensity, adrenaline-fueled job. He’s neglected everything, including his health, in a vain attempt to outrun his pain. Eventually his neglect caught up with him. His stupidity came back and it bit him in the ass. Life is like that sometimes. His brother the doctor orders him to Rainbow Key to recover. Rest and low stress are critical but his blood pressure spikes when he realizes Ben – his Ben – has been hiding out on the island for two years.
I have loved all the books in the Rainbow Key series and this book was no exception. Ben was a secondary character in the previous books and his insistence on being alone haunted me. A few details were sprinkled in the stories, but I never got a true sense of the man. Of course that changed in this book. His insistence of solitude is brought in stark contrast when faced with the one and only man he’s ever loved. Ben had always viewed his worth as how much money he could make with his modelling career and he worked himself to the bone, often forgoing food, in order to maintain that success. He understood he had a limited shelf life and his goal was to make as much as possible before he ceased being the ‘it’ boy. One devastating night changed all that and he had to face the reality he would never be ‘beautiful’ again.
Zach loved Ben for who he was, not his good looks. Upon hearing about the fire that left Ben badly injured, he raced back to offer his support and love. I could understand Ben not wanting to face the man he loved, partly because he felt responsible for the death of someone, and partly because he knew he would never physically be the man he was. It was also clear from the beginning that Zach wasn’t someone superficial who cared about looks. His dedication to photographing the suffering in the world should have been proof to Ben that if Zach stayed, it wouldn’t be out of pity. But Ben’s self-esteem had taken too hard of a hit for him to accept that.
The odds of them both winding up on Paradise Island and the gay-friendly resort of Rainbow Key was a little trite, but I didn’t care because I wanted Ben to get his happy ending and it was clear from the beginning that Zach was the man he loved. He was as devastated as Zach was when he heard of Zach losing his sight. And as for Zach – he’s become angry and bitter because it was his own carelessness that has caused his current predicament and he’s ready to lash out because he’s hurting and, frankly, terrified. And who wouldn’t be, facing a life of blindness?
I love books where the heroes have to go through a lot to get their happy endings and this book fit the bill perfectly. Even after all these years, there is still love there. But there are also a lot of hurt feelings and anger to be dealt with. I didn’t blame the men their feelings, but I was happy when they appeared to be moving forward toward resolving their relationship and creating a new life with each other.
But it wouldn’t be a Victoria Sue book if there weren’t a few twists thrown in and those twists worked effectively to challenge the men and their beliefs. I liked both character arcs and found it believable how the men worked through their assumptions to find a new understanding both of themselves and of the relationship.
I would recommend not only this book but the entire series. As for the narrator, I think Darcy Stark was the perfect choice. He was able to give each character a distinct voice as well as handling all the secondary characters well. I especially loved his portrayal of the beloved May-Belle. Quite a character, that one.
I believe this is the last book of the series, but I would like to beg the author to reconsider. Matt has been a solid and loyal secondary character with a painful backstory and I desperately want him to get his happy ending. So please reconsider and give me one final book. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed my visits to Rainbow Key.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I’m gonna have to say that this book in the series is my favorite so far because it has my absolute favorite trope. Rainbow Key is all about second chances, and for Ben and Zach it is their second chance to find happiness together. I love when couples who don’t make it for whatever reason find each other a little later in life, and proving that their feelings were the real deal, they get back together.
Ben is the most reclusive guest on the island. We get hints of who he is and the friendships he made on the island, but he really tries to stay out of the limelight. The scars on his face and his past notoriety have him shying away whenever there are guests. For Ben, its not just not wanting to be seen not looking as perfect as he once did, but there is also a sense of guilt he carries about the accident that caused his burns. And a sense of guilt about the relationship he couldn’t or wouldn’t make work.
Zach has never let Ben go, even though he hasn’t been able to find him for the past few years. To distract himself, he shot a lot of photos in poverty-stricken and war-torn countries. He ignored his pain until a brand new problem took over. For a man who used his eyes to capture the beauty and desperation in the world, losing his vision is devastating.
I found Ben and Zach on their own to be interesting characters, but they were sad and incomplete. When they reconnect, Zach can’t see but runs into Ben and his dog on the beach, he knows him by voice and neither can just walk away without clearing the air. Their feelings for each other flare to life and they become something entirely different. They push each other to rise above their physical flaws. They help each other shoulder emotional burdens, too. The moment they come together, they are so beautiful. I could really feel the point the story is trying to tell, that beauty is about so much more than being the right weight, having a beautiful face, having no disabilities. Of course, it’s not exactly easy for each of them, acknowledgement is different than acceptance, but the two do get there eventually.
I can’t get enough of this series, truly. In the beginning, I expected to get stories about Josh, Ben, Charlie, and I’m waiting for Matt, the boat driver and ex-con’s, story. There are also new characters on the island as Josh and his husband Daniel make their dream more of a reality and young LGBT adults come on as staff. I hope the author keeps this series going and I would definitely recommend checking it out. Stories can be read as a stand-alone, but I have a feeling that once you start, you will want to read or listen to them all. Darcy Stark does a great job narrating.
9.5/10 Points of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but when she ran out of library books she decided to write her own. Loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—especially with a paranormal twist—but always with a happy ending. Is an English northern lass currently serving twenty to life in Florida—unfortunately, she spends more time chained to her computer than on a beach.
Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.