This story struck all the right chords with me and in the right order. A heartfelt story written with great tenderness and feeling.
Michael returns from Iraq to his hometown with PTSD and a kitbag full of anxieties, emotional issues and problems to overcome. At first it this seems to be an insurmountable task, but with the love, support, patience and caring from his family and newly found love he is nurtured onto the path of recovery.
My favourite bits / characters; I loved Angie, Michael's sister, who introduces him to her best friend Jay. After some mutual miscommunication it is obvious that Michael and Jay are destined for each other. Angie's upbeat nature provides the positive spin on the story, while never giving up her intuitive grasp on knowing what's going on a keeping, in a protective way, her brother's best interests at heart. Micheal's mum may at first to appear to be a little chaotic, but later in the story we realise she also had her own issues to deal with after a string of abusive and failed relationships. This in the end only strengthens the mother and son bond.
I loved unit 11 where Angie comes for an unexpected visit on Sunday morning whilst Jay has spent his first night with Michael and is lying in the bedroom. Michael's awkwardness about whether to say something or not suddenly disappears when Jay comes out of the bedroom naked. Clichéd maybe, but still entertaing at least when you find out that all of Angie's fishing is to only confirm what she already know anyway.
Unit 13 was really beautiful where Michael comes out to his Gramps. Heartfelt and realistic with Gramps promising that he will never stop loving and supporting Michael and seeing the good in Jay, even though he admitted he would still have problems trying to understand the "gay" aspect. This showed a very warming close family relationship
The units with Michael visiting his counsellor, Raff, we're quite harrowing, especially where Michael confronts his grief and finally lets go, collapsing in a heap of tears like a child in Raff's office. Had a lump in my front at this point to.
In found the love scenes were written sensitively but also realistically as gay sex is. So many books try to portray sexual triathletes which in the worst cases can make things unbelievable and laughable. Not with this author, well done!
I think the flashbacks were important and well written in order to give the reader an idea of what Michael is going through. I spent ten years in the military myself and know through friends, thank goodness not personally, how harrowing, traumatic and life destroying PTSD can be.
This is a story about healing and trying to get a life back which is possible when we have the aforementioned facts in place and then there is no stopping the HEA!