I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have to admit I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The maturity, and sensitivity that the author brought to the characters, and their story was a refreshing change from so many other romance novels. The author's understanding of the complex nature of the grieving process was nice. I didn't feel that Ollie's loss was glossed over, but it didn't feel like it was drowning in melancholy, overwrought angst either. The writing really drew me into the story, and I had a hard time putting it down.
I found the characters to be well drawn, and relatable. I really liked Ollie, and his journey. I felt like he grew to understand himself, and his friends so much over the course of the story. I loved his relationship with Sam, and I appreciated that the author didn't feel the need to vilify Sam to legitimize Ollie's new relationship with Thomas. A nice change of pace from a lot of other romance novels I have read. Thomas was an interesting character, and I appreciated getting to know all sides of him, and that it wasn't just Ollie that had relationship issues. I really appreciated that Milo's mother was presented in a positive light, and her issues were treated with the gravity they deserved. I liked that those issues didn't prevent her from caring for Milo, and that she was a part of the story, and not just a throw away antagonist. I appreciated that the secondary cast was well drawn, and had their own issues and plot lines. They didn't just exist to drive the story, or act on the main characters. Baby Milo was a highlight for me as well, and it was nice to see a baby in a romance novel act like a baby, and not a fluffy bit of plot driver.
The plot was well drawn, and I enjoyed the slow build between Thomas and Ollie. Considering the issues, and the events facing both men it made sense for things to move at the pace that they did. I also could feel for Ollie, and his problems with Sam's parents. Death does not always bring out the best in people, and this problem felt very true to life. I also like how Simon's parents felt like two different people, and had a backstory of their own that I felt added to the problem with Ollie.
Overall this was a really well written story, about love, friendship, and family. About responsibility, fear, and change, and I look forward to reading more from this author.