Review: Moving On by H.J. Holt

Rating: 3 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel


At its very heart, Moving On by H.J. Holt is a sweet story of healing and second chances.  Two men, one who has lost his partner of six years to a tragic accident, and the other, a broken man who survived years of foster homes and a demeaning, abusive relationship, find one another in the dark confines of a bar and their lives are irrevocably changed.

“It had been a while since he had felt like this. As if he had found a door that led from the real world into a room where he could just “be.”

When Paul lost his partner, he lost a piece of himself and getting back to the dating world, as a thirty-something schoolteacher is harder than he ever thought.  He is insecure, uncertain of his appeal—particularly to younger men.  So when he comes across the younger, gorgeous Luke in a local nightclub, the last thing he expects is to fall head over heels in lust…and maybe, just maybe…love.

“I want to be with you so much, but I don’t have anything to offer you.  I’m not like you.  I’m not smart and I don’t come from the same kind of place as you.  I know how it would end and I don’t think I could stand it.”

Luke is so very wounded and uses his bravado and quick temper to keep everyone at bay.  Escaping from a sordid and difficult past, he has fled clear across the ocean to England to start over.  But he is hampered not only by his insecurities, but his lack of money, family, and confidence.  He is adrift and lonely and so very vulnerable when he meets this gentle and caring man who offers him just a bit more than a casual one-night stand.

Moving On really had incredible potential.  The two main characters were very believable—and you felt for them, wanted them to succeed and, at times, wanted to shake them both to make them see how much the other one really cared.  The cast of secondary characters added to the overall story line and gave a flavor of tension to the page, causing you to occasionally clench your fists and catch your breath in surprise.

Yes—this story had incredible possibilities.  However, it suffered from inattention to editing and more sex than was ever necessary to really further the plot.  I understood that the mutual attraction between these two men began as a lust driven need to mutually satisfy one another—but after a while, quite frankly, I just wanted the sex to be over so I could get back to the story.  There was so much of it that its alarming frequency began to pull me away from the plot. About half way through the book I found myself wanting to say, “no more–just tell the story please!”

Unfortunately, no one was listening.  And so, much to my sadness, I cannot in good faith rate this story as it could have been rated.  I think that Holt has incredible potential as a storyteller.  She writes with a tenderness and insight that is incredible in its scope and beauty.  But the constant driving sex that quickly took over the plot and became the focal point rather than the characters and their life together, left me unsatisfied and a bit fed up toward the end.

As I said at the start, Moving On is at its very heart a beautiful love story.  Unfortunately that got lost and the novel suffered because of it.

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