Erryn reviews Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews, published September 27, 2018 by KA Books, 288 pages. The audiobook was released on May 7, 2019, is 9hrs and 33mins and is narrated by Joel Leslie. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I loved Valor on the Move so wanted to try something different by this author. Oh, and Joel Leslie is a massive bonus.
Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.
Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried; his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.
Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.
Contains mature themes.
What happens when you have devastating news the day before you’re supposed to get married? What if that betrayal cuts so deep that leaving is the only alternative? Ethan had every right to walk away from his impending nuptials, and I give him credit for opting to go on the honeymoon solo. It’s doubly brave because Ethan is hard of hearing. Things that most of us take for granted are challenging for him. He’s learned to deal but it doesn’t make things easier for him and without his fiancé, he struggles. He’s from New York City, although Buffalo originally. He’s been through some tough things, to be sure, but going on a solo trip to Australia ranks up with one of the biggest challenges.
The tour he chose turns out to mostly be older people, couples in particular. He believes they are feeling sorry for him and perhaps at first some of them are. Others recognize the bravery it takes. The tour guide Shiv is friendly, but it’s the bus driver Clay who really makes an effort to help. He takes the time to get to know Ethan, way above and beyond any call of the job. But Clay sees Ethan in a way most people don’t. He sees beyond the hard of hearing aspect and into the lost soul Ethan is. He sees a bit of a kindred spirit. Clay’s twenty-something-year marriage ended recently and he also experienced loss, although it was gentler – if that kind of betrayal can be. He’s remained on good terms with his ex and has two children he adores. Children who are almost Ethan’s age. Something Clay reminds himself of as he gets to know this younger man.
I love age gap books when they’re done well. Neither man is expecting to find someone on this trip. Clay’s driven the route dozens of times without encountering anyone who has intrigued him. Ethan is still nursing a broken and betrayed heart. I think those are sometimes the most precious relationships – the ones we don’t see coming. The ones that, on paper, make no sense and yet are perfect nonetheless. Not that there aren’t obstacles. – the age thing is minor compared to the fact they live on opposite sides of the globe. America and Australia are a long way apart and long-distance relationships are challenging.
Yet as the book progressed, I began to believe in Clay and Ethan. Clay’s attention to Ethan and his accommodation of Ethan’s situation was touching. He was patient, understanding, and considerate. Ethan has faced enough challenges dealing with his progressive loss of hearing, but to find someone who respects and helps without being condescending is a blessing. And Clay? He figured he’d be alone, living in Sydney with his daughter and their dog, but meeting Ethan gives him hope. He’s never been into blokes before, but there’s just something about this young American. So much hope.
There are little things I enjoyed about the book. Clay’s classic Australian slang as Ethan struggles with the weird words. The truth that Die Hard is one of the best Christmas movies ever. Crowded House, a Melbourne band. I was startled to realize Clay and I are contemporaries (I feel much younger, FYI). Oh, and Gilley. Gotta love Gilley. And Adam Gilchrist, cricket, Crocodile Dundee, and dozens of other little things that made the book enjoyable and educational.
The book is narrated by Joel Leslie and he’s such a perfect choice. He can do American, of course, but he’s also brilliant in Australian. He moves seamlessly between the two and so the book flowed beautifully. He’s one of my favorite narrators and this book is a perfect example of why. Needless to say I enjoyed the book and was thrilled the men found their way to a happy ending.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars