Necessary Restorations, Kate Canterbary
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Well, Kate is fast becoming one of my favourite romance authors. I love this sort of romance read, not light and fluffy, impractical and unlikely, but stories that are full of real people with genuine problems. No dippy bimbos or very young billionaires, but characters that are in their twenties/thirties and work – very hard – at what they do. This is the third book I’ve read and whereas in book one I was a bit confused by the back story, how everyone connects and what went on before, each book reveals a little more and its so complex, that I can see now that it’s best revealed a bit at a time, drip by drip, so the reader has time to understand what happened and exactly how it affected each of the siblings, but in very different ways.
Sam – oh Sam…we met him in earlier books as a secondary character, but now he’s number one. I’ve always though he’d be fun, he’s a rep as a manwhore, and yet was constantly berated by his father for being gay – and yet we really don’t know exactly what’s true, or his reasons. Well, finally we learn more about him and he’s an incredibly complex character. He’s a number of genuine health issues, serious problems that connect to what sometimes seems his odd behaviour. Add in that he saw his mother bleed to death giving birth while he was very young, along with his siblings, and that from then on his father hated them all and went from loving to awful, vituperative, cruel mentally and physically, and its easy to see how they became such a tight knit unit, although each have their own oddities.
I love Sam in this book, we see his illnesses properly, severe type one diabetes, which, along with his bullying by peers in earlier years, has led to his penchant for quick BJ’s in clubs, back rooms etc. where he can hide his medical needs, never taking ladies home, never getting into a relationship, his food oddities connect to his severe allergies and the OCD about germs – well I guess that’s something from his past too. All this means he’s a complex person, very talented and passionate about his work, as are all the siblings, very close to them and yet he’s always that bit apart, a solo character. Getting trapped in a lift for hours is his worst nightmare – germs from the floor, the small space, the noise and fidgeting of Tiel, trapped with him. Somehow though she wears him down and he finds himself out with her afterwards, and then back to her flat. Not for sex, but they become friends and spend extraordinary amounts of time together. The Friends tag keeps cropping up and each is scared it seems to me, they want more but what they have works so well they don’t want to risk it in case the other doesn’t want more….so it goes in until finally – well, read it and see Tiel is lovely, but not without her own issues hiding beneath that cheery, happy front she displays, and when they do get together its hard for them both, they love what they have but are uncertain of the future, of labels, of their own pasts and of letting others know they are together. For a while they’re in a kind of bubble of isolation. And of course Sam’s family is intimidating for anyone, but for someone whose own family have all but abandoned her – well, Tiel has some serious problems to come.
The downside – this is what makes or breaks a romance for me. Kate gives us fabulous characters, real people and genuine and interesting work situations. Throw in some very sensual and erotic sex and the upsides are perfect, but its when it falls apart that keeps me gripped. I have to feel that there is real risk to them, that maybe they won’t get back from this – even though of course we know they will. This once again is perfect and that part really worked so well, taking a big chunk of the book, not just a few rushed pages. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out – had a number of possible scenarios but I was wrong…very wrong, and Kate’s put it all together perfectly, to make it feel as though it really could have happened this way. Beautiful writing in this part too that really moved me.
I’m so happy to read more of this family – I still want to know just what happened between Erin and Shannon, then there’s Nick, close family friend, honoury brother…from something that’s said I thought I’d got a glimpse of something, but then at the end I see I’m wrong. Again! I actually like that though, to be kept guessing, keeps it interesting. We see more of Riley here too and how he’s grown since the first book. He’s a great character, plays the fool well, but underneath the slightly clumsy, coffee stained and immature front he presents, there’s a young man that’s got a very shrewd, astute intellect. He’ll be a fun read – I hope we get a book from all of the family, I’ve loved what’s gone so far. Kate writes for me the perfect fiction to escape with for a few hours, a blend of seamless romance and reality, sex and sensuality and stories that could be found in a genuine family.
Stars: Five, a fabulous read .
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers
Necessary Restorations, Kate Canterbary