Erryn reviews Memory Lane (Pine Cove Book 5) by H.J. Welch (Published by the author on March 12, 2021, 278 pages). The audiobook was released on May 5, 2021, was narrated by Nick J. Russo and is 8hr and 21mins.
Ever since Jay Coal’s best friend saved his life in high school, he’s harbored a secret love. But Angel is straight, and his thrilling work as a movie stuntman takes him all over the world, while Jay has never left Pine Cove. When Angel finally comes back to town, a suspicious work accident leaves him in the dark, and only Jay can light the way.
It’s a second chance for Angel Shields. Trustworthy Jay helps him recover from the accident, and Angel starts to see him in a different light. But are these feelings of attraction new? Or has he always had a secret crush on his best friend? Thanks to the accident, Angel can’t trust his own memories to tell him. Maybe all that matters is how he feels now?
Their life-long friendship is at risk if they make a move, but this chemistry is unforgettable. With more dangers ahead than answers, will they even get the chance to explore this love that’s waiting for them down the end of memory lane?
Book five of Pine Cove, Memory Lane is a steamy, stand-alone MM romance novel with a guaranteed HEA and absolutely no cliff-hanger.
I have enjoyed all the Pine Cove books so I was expecting to like this one – and I did. Jay was an easily relatable character – in love with his straight best friend since said friend saved his life. But Angel left Pine Cove to become a stuntman while Jay stayed home to become the drama teacher at the local high school. Two divergent paths, to be sure. But neither man forgot the other. They stayed in touch although Angel never found the time to come home. There were heartbreaking reasons for that.
When he does return, he’s in a serious accident. Jay pretends to be his fiancé to get access, and for a moment Angel believes it might be true. Pretty quickly Jay owns up to the ruse, but he does convince Angel to stay with him as the other man recovers.
In the meantime, plenty of Pine Cove residents pop into the story. It was like coming home to see all my favorite characters again. I especially liked Jay’s younger sister Ava (who has always had a great story line and yay, finally got her act together with regard to Peyton).
Angel has been taught that being bisexual is dirty and wrong. As another reviewer said, bierasure is a thing. Bisexuals are painted in an unflattering light. This distresses me, both as a pansexual woman, and as someone who has friends who are bi. Angel’s fight was real, and it broke my heart that those negative voices almost cost him the future he might have with the man who always loved him.
There’s a sort-of mystery in the book, and plenty of drama, but at the heart is a romance. I hope there are more books to come in this series because I love visiting the Pacific Northwest town and because I love seeing all my old friends. Finally I’ll mention Nick J. Russo’s narration. He’s always great, and I enjoyed him in this one as well. A really good book.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
HJ Welch is a contemporary MM romance author living in London with her husband and two balls of fluff that occasionally pretend to be cats. She began writing at an early age, later honing her craft online in the world of fanfiction on sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she sought out original MM novels to read. She never thought she would be any good at romance, but once she turned her hand to it she discovered she in fact adored it. By the end of 2016 she had written her first book of her own, and in 2017 she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a fulltime author.
She also writes contemporary British MM romance as Helen Juliet.