Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Jake grew up with his three best friends, Kyle, Brendan, and Adam. The guys were close all through high school and college, until the day Adam left town without a word. Adam’s leaving was hard enough on Kyle and Brendan, but it was devastating to Jake. Jake had been in love with Adam since they were teenagers, although he never worked up the courage to tell him. But just when Jake thought things might actually work out between them, Adam disappears and is out of their lives completely.
Five years later, Adam returns to town hoping to rekindle his relationship with Jake. Part of Jake is ready to jump into his arms. Adam has been the guy for him for his entire life. Every other relationship has just been a place holder, something to do while his heart waited for Adam. Jake knows Adam is the man he truly wants, but he also knows that giving his heart to Adam is risky. Even though Adam has mostly come to terms with being gay and lives his life fairly openly, he still has a lot of emotional baggage surrounding the issue. Although he swears to Jake he is ready and eager for a relationship between them, Jake must decide if he can open himself up fully to being with Adam and take a chance on the man he has always loved.
I could really feel for Jake as someone who has never been able to move on after the loss of Adam from his life, a part of him always waiting and hoping. When Adam actually returns, part of Jake can’t really believe it. I can understand his wariness and his fear about accepting Adam back into his life and trusting his heart once again. I can also understand Adam’s reasons for leaving, even though it is so heartbreaking to hear about how it affected poor Jake. Adam’s parents are just so unsupportive, making him doubt whether they will ever really accept him and worrying that he will be abandoned for living his life the way he really wants. And this really puts them at an impasse, as Jake and Adam can’t go back to the way things were when they were young, but neither man has quite figured out how to go forward.
McMurray gives us an interesting comparison between the two. Jake is out and proud and comfortable with his sexuality. Being gay is part of his identity, he sees it as integral to who he is. Jake is out at work, lives in a mostly gay neighborhood, and is really comfortable with himself. Adam is much more reserved and very clearly feels that who he sleeps with does not define him. He has come to terms with being gay, but doesn’t see why that needs to be a part of the rest of his life. Jake struggles to accept Adam’s views, worrying it is a sign of not accepting Jake or his feeelings for him. But over the course of the story we see Adam really stretch himself to get past his own fears and slowly Jake comes to see that.
My favorite thing about this book was the relationship between the four men. The title, Four Corners, refers to the four bases on the baseball diamond. The guys become friends in high school as members of the same baseball team and form a really close bond. As teammates they learned to work and interact as a group, and that really affects their friendship as well. We see so clearly how Adam leaving hurt all of them, not just individually, but as a group. Once he is gone, nothing is ever completely the same for the other three. And even when Adam returns, they can never quite get that dynamic back. We really see that illustrated most with Brendan, the one who has the hardest time getting past Adam’s betrayal. I thought this part of the story was so well done and I liked seeing the romantic relationship between Jake and Adam framed by the larger friendship between the four men. I think the story really rings true to those childhood friendships and the way the bonds you form growing up can really affect you throughout your life. I loved to see the guys interacting together and the way Jake, Kyle, and Brendan are really there for each other, looking out for one another even as each moves on with his own life.
I’d describe this as a quiet book. The two men get back together pretty quickly; Jake just loves Adam way too much to not be with him. The real question is whether they can work it into something real and lasting, and whether they can find a place where they work together as adults, and not just as memories from the past. The guy have to trust their hearts to one another and be willing to put themselves out there for each other. I thought the book was really well done. Sweet and romantic with a lot of unique issues mixed in to keep things interesting. I enjoyed it a lot and would definitely recommend it.
P.S. Be sure to check out Kate’s guest post, Let’s Talk a Little About Angst. The giveaway is over but it is still worth reading her great post!