Erryn reviews ‘Galaxies and Oceans’ by N.R. Walker. Self-published on June 23, 2018, 313 pgs. The audio was released August 13, 2019, was narrated by Joel Leslie and is 10hrs and 19mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I read the book and couldn’t wait for the audio.
Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.
Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.
Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.
Aubrey never expected to be happy.
Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.
To read the book review, click here.
When I read this book a year ago, I remember where I was during a pivotal scene. I remember sobbing uncontrollably and being glad the bus was empty. I remember being emotionally drained. And maybe because I was prepared this time I wasn’t sobbing, but I was moved. I often recommend this book because it’s so powerful. I talk about how much the book affected me. I tell people it’s one of Ms. Walker’s best works. Now I can insist people listen to the audio and, I hope, be as moved as I was.
Patrick Carney is a man who lives with a ghost. Four years ago, he lost the love of his life and he’s existed in a vacuum ever since. He’s got his lighthouse, his tabby cat, and the sixty-three inhabitants of Hadley’s Cove to keep him company. He keeps to himself for the most part, although he ventures out for a paper and coffee every day. He’s got a great government job and takes satisfaction from being part of the lighthouse system in southern Australia. His corner of Kangaroo Island is often subject to the whims of the weather, being at the Indian and Southern Oceans. He endures the storms and stays with photos of his dead lover, unable to truly move on and not really wanting to.
Until he meets the newest inhabitant.
Stranger to Hadley’s Cove, Aubrey Hobs is a man without a past. No one can know he used to be someone well-known. He used to be in the papers. He used to be the boyfriend of someone famous. Walking away from the privileged lifestyle cost him everything. With a wildfire moving in, he took a few belongings and made it look like he perished in the fire. He walked away from his life as Ethan Hosking, and took a new name, a new identity. He’s finally away from his violent ex-boyfriend, but he’s not really free. He’s always looking over his shoulder, expecting the abusive SOB to turn up. He’s paranoid about staying under the radar, all the while knowing it will take very little for him to be exposed.
Aubrey’s plan to stay under the radar lasts right up until he meets Patrick. Oh, he tries to hold himself apart. Tries to stay away from the man with stormy eyes. Tries to resist the gentle and kind man. But like the pull of gravity, the two men come together. Patrick is obsessed with the ocean while Aubrey is drawn to the stars. There is a lot about nature in this book, both terrestrial and stellar. I loved the allusions, comparisons, and simple narratives. Nature is woven into the story. I felt like I was right there. I’ve been to the ocean, so I have an idea of the vastness. I’ve lived in the country and looked up at the stars at night and felt my insignificance.
The two men are drawn to each other and it’s far more than physical attraction. As Aubrey says: I wanted to know more but was terrified of finding out. Terrified of getting close to him. To anyone. It wasn’t fair that I wanted to know about him when I couldn’t tell him the truth about me. I dreaded him asking me questions I couldn’t answer. And maybe he somehow knew because he didn’t ask. We just sat there, holding hands, watching the seals until the sun began to set. And the temperature plummeted and the wind soared.
I was there, on the rocky shore with them. Whether they were watching the penguins, the seals, or the Aurora Australis, I was right there, in the moment. There was an immediacy to this book that I loved. This is a book that focuses entirely on the men and their love story. How it is possible to move on, given the right circumstances. For Patrick, it means – to him – letting go of his dead lover. Aubrey sees this dilemma and assures Patrick he doesn’t have to forget. Aubrey is confident enough in their love that he’s not threatened by a dead lover. After all, he has his own problems. And, just as the men are settling in, his past does come calling. A reckoning, so to speak.
I think I love this book even more than before. Joel Leslie narrates this story and his performance is among his best. This is a book of great emotions and he hits every note perfectly. I felt every emotion, every nuance. He took Ms. Walker’s beautiful story and turned it into something magnificent. I will continue to put this book, and now this audio, at the top of my favorites list.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Get in touch with N.R.