Title: What Remains
Author: Garrett Leigh
My Rating: A+
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: Jodi and Rupert
Release Date: July 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
Whoa, this book was so, so good. The book switches back and forth in time because these two guys have been in a committed relationship now for 4 years.
When they met 4 years before, Rupert was just starting to accept the fact that he was gay, but he had zero experience with guys. Jodi was bisexual and just coming off a serious relationship turned really close friendship with a girl. I love that the book showed how their sexual relationship developed because that is so key with how Rupert deals with Jodi later. It served as an amazing and creative character arc. I loved that unexpected twist of circumstance.
And then the worst thing in the world happens (except death)...Jodi is in a horrible accident that steals the last 5 years from his memory. As far as he remembers, he's still in love with the girl and he has 0 memories of his roommate, Rupert, or even being bisexual. It's an incredibly slow recovery and a relapse for Jodi's injured brain is a real danger so they are very careful about sharing too much that might be shocking or stressful with Jodi. As a result, no one shares with him that he's bi-sexual. He has NO IDEA what the true nature of his relationship with Rupert is. He thinks Rupert is just his strangely intense roommate.
It's a heartbreaking book.
Rupert's trying to just be thankful that Jodi's still alive, even if he's not the same man he was before the accident. Jodi is so confused and angry. His brain is completely scrambled and that's left him floundering. As it heals, it gets better, but it's still damaged. He has memory issues...short term as well as the long term. He has to be told things over and over again which is hard for everyone involved. He gets angry really quickly just because everything is so out of his control. Eventually he begins to have reactions to Rupert that he doesn't understand.
I adored Rupert who is simply trying to keep both their heads above-water. He's not only having to deal with the long-term stress of having his partner so close to death, but he's dealing with all the financial issues that come from Jodi not working (Jodi is self-employed at his own business), and dealing with a witch of an ex-wife.
There's a tiny side story with Rupert's daughter adopting a cat. *heart breaking* Serious, I could have sobbed throughout this entire scene and Jodi's take on it. So, so good!
This is the kind of story line that I adore. There's so much heartbreak and angst, but despite the immeasurable odds, there is also hope and love within that hope. I adored both these characters and NEEDED them to find their happy...eventually. This book is full of emotion from the highs of first falling in lust and eventually love to the lows of expecting to never see the love of your life look you in the eye again and all those difficult places in between.
I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. It's emotional, but it's a great one!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.