Title: A Careful Heart
Author: Ralph Josiah Bardsley
My Rating: B
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: Travis and Stephen
Release Date: March 2017
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: g-rated
Story Overview:Travis Gaines and Stephen Davis are as close as two best friends can be. Born less than a month apart, they grew up as neighbors in a small northern New Hampshire town. After college, they make their way together to Boston, craving the excitement and fast pace of New England’s biggest city.
As they get their bearings in Boston, Travis falls hard for Benson, a senior executive at the financial services firm where he works. Benson is wealthy, handsome, and well connected among Boston’s well heeled. At first it seems like Benson is everything a guy could ever want, but behind that glossy veneer is a dark side that threatens to tear Travis and Stephen’s friendship apart and change their lives for ever.My Review:
I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. With that being said, though, I don't think that everyone is going to enjoy this author's style of writing. The book covers over a decade of time. As such, there are huge swaths of time that's explained in a very passive manner. I know that drives some people nuts. Normally that bothers me as a reader, but when I read this book, I was sick and in no hurry at all. It was nice to go through the story at a leisurely pace.
And that brings us to the story. The focus of the story is the best friends, Travis and Stephen. In fact, Stephen is the true focus of the story...as is explained by the title of the book. But I think that got lost a bit in the telling of the story. In fact, when the book ended, I sat back and questioned the purpose of the whole book. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I'm not sure what the true plot was...it was really just a series of events following these two friends as they navigate their relationships. While that's somewhat entertaining, it read as a bit of meandering prose.
I understand that Stephen was the focus, but I hate that Travis' story was left open-ended. I'd like to guess where he goes from the end of the book, but knowing his personality, it's hard to believe in that because he didn't have any character growth actually on the page.
So, a bit of a mixed review. But don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading the book. I liked both Travis and Stephen and adored Gabe. It's a grand, epic, sweeping story of two friends that does take a meandering path to telling the story. If you like that style, or want a story that moves a bit slower, you'll probably like this one. Also, all the heat in the story takes place off the page, so there's that, too.
While not to everyone's style, there is a distinct group that I think will really love it. I enjoyed reading it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.