Return to Me, James Oliver French
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’m struggling to review this. It’s a romance and then again its not….I do love my happy endings and this doesn’t have one…or does it? There’s a glimpse of something positive on the way for poor Todd. Overall this has a beautiful romanctic theme that ends far too soon, along with some nifty, interesting futuristic possibilities.
Kyle and Todd, the perfect couple in college, very tender and sweet, and it’s a first time complete romance for both. Todd’s family are supportive of him but Kyle’s – they were typical bigots, and kicked the poor kid out. Sadly it happens, seems Christianity is only for selected groups…
The two lads are at college and getting on really well, getting closer and closer, and finally deeply in love when suddenly Kyle disappears. The police aren’t interested, his parents don’t care, and it seems like only Todd is worried but he can do nothing. It looks like Kyle has got cold feet and just moved on, and yet Todd can’t believe that and is finding it hard to move forward.
Fast-forward fifteen years and Todd is a fully fledged Psychiatrist. He’s never got over the loss of his first love, never really got into a full relationship again. He’s so many unanswered questions. Then he gets a new patient that forces him to look back at the past ,and he makes further investigations into what happened and is shocked and horrified by what he finds. ( So was I, and sadly I have no problem believing this could and does happen)
At times this was a really emotional read, and mixes current medical practice with some interesting futuristic possibilities, to move the story to where James wants it to be. Just when I thought things were looking up though he throws in more drama, and more angst and it takes away all the hope I had. TBH that spoiled it for me, I need my happy endings, and though Todd gets a peek at a happy future it isn’t the one I wanted for him. I’m just one reader though, and not everyone wants the HEA, some would rather the story take a more intriguing direction, and for them this will be a perfect read.
Stars: Four, there were parts I loved, parts I felt a bit slow, parts where I was glad some people got just what they deserved however long it took, and then a part that just wanted a different ending 😦 Ah well….you can’t please everyone. Its really well written and if you can go without the HEA it may be the perfect read for you.
ARC supplied by author
Premiere, A Love Story, Tracy Ewen
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I thought this sounded fun, I do love a good romance, one with lots of emotion and was hoping that’s what I’d get here. Well, there was lots of angst by way of looking back at their lives, and regrets, but though I’m always championing longer reads I wished this one was shorter, as I felt that they just pored over, drew out every last nuance of each little action or sentence spoken. I even found myself skimming parts….
Sam, lifelong best friend to Peter and Grady and daughter of a well off and loving family. She’s long loved Peter, but in secret, content to support him and Grady and be their friend. That’s the way it went all through school and college, and when Peters dad killed himself and his mum descended into alcoholism he needed their support. Then they moved on, graduated drama school, and life forced them to look at the future. Sam has her heart broken by Peter, but after a while picks herself up, puts aside her dreams, and comes home to work in the local theatre. She’s good at her job, has dated but keeps her heart closed it seems to me. She’s just kind of marking time, passing the days and inside she still yearns for her lost dreams of Peter, even though she believes she’s over him, and hasn’t seen or spoken to him for four years.
Then he brings his latest play back to her theatre, being as successful as he has means its going to be the thing needed to save the theatre financially. Poor Sam, I felt for her, she thought it was all under control until she saw him…then she sees the new play and – wow – what a horrible thing. I couldn’t believe he could be so crass and I guess that’s where the problems I had with this book came in. Peter – the Great Love in Sam’s life, he was so selfish!! Every time he comes out with excuses its all about what he needs, regardless of others, and in his mind that’s all the reason he requires. Even the play shows him as he sees himself but the others? The friends that supported him – oh Sam is portrayed as a shallow, debutante, small town queen type, and Grady a rich, lightweight playboy, with both their lives being problem free and so easy compared to his traumas. Did he really see his friends like that? Miss all the problems they had, the times when they were unhappy, feeling frustrated and suffocated by the restrictions placed on them. Had he really forgotten all the things they did together, the fun they had, the times when they were there to help him? He seems determined to hate his past and reshape memories to fit his wishes. Poor Sam is distraught – he broke her heart, and now with that scene in the play he’s stomping all over it. And yet she still loves him. All I could think is Why? What on earth did she see in him? Still, the emotions we have aren’t always rational, and even though I felt she deserved more it was Peter she wanted, warts and all….but dare she let him in again though?
The later part of the book, where things began to happen, had for me more depth, and lots of emotion but that first half, two thirds even, felt so slow to me, so full of “what if” conversations and reminiscing that it palled. I was bored, though I like to look at the past and of course it was relevant, I just felt I wanted a bit more of something happening now. Peter had become a famous playwright, but it seemed to me the two we were given were both from his past, written to portray him in the best light and once again it was nothing original and all about what he wanted, felt he needed, regardless of anyone else emotions. I needed to like him more – and I just couldn’t.
As ever though this is just how it affected me, and lots of readers like that slow, drawn out reveal, the way the reader needs to look between the lines. It was well written and if that’s what you like I’m sure it’ll be a higher rate than mine.
Stars: Three, there were some very emotional scenes in that last third that were great, but that slow, prolonged, going nowhere beginning spoiled it for me.
ARC supplied by publishers and Netgalley.