Buy Link: Wintergreen
Author: Jane Davitt
Publisher: Torquere Press
Wintergreen is the sequel to Wild Raspberries, and continues the story of Dan Seaton and Tyler Edwards. It picks up several months from the end of the previous book as Dan and Tyler wrap up winter in their cabin and prepare to leave and travel together. Things have settled into a quiet rhythm for the men, with long days spent alone together now that Dan’s part-time seasonal jobs have slowed down. Things seem idyllic, if a little slow, until Tyler is contacted by his former boss.
Cole isn’t looking to recruit Tyler back into his old job, and Tyler is clear from the start that this wouldn’t even be an option. But there is serious problem that requires Tyler’s background and unique research skills and Tyler agrees to take on the assignment because he knows how badly he is needed. Unfortunately, security issues and a need to protect Dan’s safety prevent him from sharing the assignment with Dan or letting him know just how critical the task is. And as the weeks drag on and on, Dan becomes more restless and resentful of Tyler’s single-minded focus on his project.
Dan has come a long way in terms of maturity since the first book, but he still has to fight his instinct to flee when he feels he has become invisible to Tyler and is being completely shut out of his life. Fortunately, the two of them work through their issues and Tyler is finally able to wrap up the project. However, just when things seem settled, trouble comes calling. Neither man is really able to see the situation from the other’s perspective and they struggle to move past the crisis. Both Dan and Tyler must face up to some of their worst fears and deal with the fallout if they are going to make it together.
I really liked Wintergreen and thought it was a great follow up to Wild Raspberries. One of the things I look for in a sequel is to see some continuity between the stories. I appreciated that while we definitely see the men have grown in the past few months, there is no dramatic personality change. Tyler is still bristly and protective and in need of some independence and space. He loves Dan but he can’t shake his loyalty to his old boss or former coworkers and still can’t completely open himself up to Dan. And Dan has gained some maturity, but still leans toward running whenever things become challenging. Yet it is clear that he is a lot more of a grown up partner now.
Wintergreen opens up Dan and Tyler’s world more than the insular life they had in the first book and I really enjoyed seeing them interact with others and deal with problems outside of their own little world. The book has more adventure and excitement as well, as the men get dragged into Tyler’s past and the threats that come along with it. I also really enjoyed seeing some resolution and closure for Dan with his father, again a place where I could see Dan’s increased maturity.
The pacing of Wintergreen was interesting for me. Rather than the typical third act crisis, most of the action takes place in the middle of the book. On the plus side, this allowed time for the resolution to really develop and feel realistic, rather than a quick miracle cure that often occurs at the end of a book. On the other hand, I found myself wanting a faster resolution and for things to settle down a bit more quickly (ok, so I am fickle!). It seemed to give each man more time to make bad decisions before finally resolving the problem.
Overall I really enjoyed this story and think it was a great companion to Wild Raspberries. You could probably read it as a standalone but I don’t think you can appreciate Dan and Tyler’s background and relationship nearly as well without seeing them develop from the first book. This was a really good series and I would recommend it.