Reviewed by Helyce
Favorite Quote: “I’m not perfect. I don’t want you out of generosity. Or because I’m some kind of angel or savior. I want you because something inside you vibrates just so with something inside me.”
I only recently found Roan Parrish and I’m so glad I did. I read her Middle of Somewhere series and fell in love with the characters there. I didn’t even know she’d done a spin-off; so I jumped at the chance to read this book.
Jude is a man in his 30s who suffers from depression and anxiety. I’m not a professional but I would say his case would be deemed severe. The one thing that he loved and could always count on is his passion for playing the piano-and he’d made a career out of it, playing for the symphony in Boston. He’d been in a relationship for 5 years with a man who wasn’t really good for or to him but who had appeared to care for him through his down times over the years. It just became a relationship of convenience, until Jude fell into a dark place and attempted suicide. While in recovery, he comes to many realizations. He makes the decision to leave Boston and return to his parent’s home in Philadelphia-which he does so without any word to his ex.
Faron is an artist who works at Small Change doing gorgeous tattoos. However, his true love is painting and he’s extremely talented. Hoping for a fresh start he’s moved to Philadelphia too. He’s met Jude only a few times, and in each instance he feels a connection he can’t explain, but knows he wants to explore; if only he can get past Jude’s protective walls first.
In spite of the subject matter, this is a really beautiful story of how love can conquer all. Though focus is mostly on Jude and everything he’s going through, I found myself extremely attracted to Faron based on Jude inner musings…
“From one of the private rooms came Faron Locklear. He moved like he was gliding an inch above the floor. He made no sound and hardly even seemed to disturb the air around him.”
“He was tall and taut, with broad shoulders and an elegant neck. His tawny brown skin was flawless and he had dreamy, gray-brown eyes that always seemed to focus on something in a plane beyond this one. His riot of corkscrew curls was sometimes loose, but today was caught up in a topknot. It had been bleached nearly white when I first met him and was now growing out. His cheekbones were high and broad, casting shadows that made him look like was candlelit from every angle. His mouth was lush and full, and his rare smiles turned his chiseled beauty to a warmth so engaging that you didn’t ever want him to look away from you.”
I highlighted so many of these passages that describe Faron….sigh
Faron is the calm to all the noise in Jude’s head. They start hanging out and it’s like Faron has some sort of instinct about how to be or how to respond to Jude whenever they are together. He moves and speaks slowly, and quietly, he initiates touch–but lightly–a hand on a shoulder or knee providing a connection that Jude craved. All these little things seem to help balance out Jude. As they spend more time together, their relationship turns physical and they just click. But Jude can’t believe in it. He second guesses everything. He has this ongoing dialogue in his head to talk himself out of what is so clearly good.
“What can ever balance the scales if you’re a black hole of misery that sucks in every scrap of light and turns it to your own material? You can’t climb out of a black hole if you are the hole.”
There are so many beautiful passages in this book to draw us in to help the reader experience what Jude feels and how every waking minute is so difficult for him to just be. Even when things are good, he falls into his head and is always trying to justify or talk himself out the relationship. He has some strange issues with food, both eating and/or touching. He knows he needs to make money, so begins giving piano lessons, but hates it. Jude is truly a mess and the author successfully brings that feeling to the page. Jude will always be a work in progress and Faron proves that he is up to the challenge.
Characters from the Middle of Somewhere series make cameos and bring some light and humor to the darkness that we experience while in Jude’s head. The writing is really beautiful. I highlighted so many passages and couldn’t decide what to include then thought it would make more of an impact to let readers discover them on their own. Though sad and really heartbreaking at times, the story does end with Faron and Jude in a relationship.