Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Skip is trying to find himself…again. After eight years with the man that he loved, that he was married to, Skip is alone. Not just alone, but humiliated, hurt, and broken. Monty left him for a new start with someone younger, who probably didn’t want a home with Monty, a white picket fence, or children. Unable to remain in the place where he built a life with his husband, a place full of memories of the both of them, a place where he may still run into his cheating ex, Skip decides to move back to upstate New York, to his hometown. If anyone can set him on the right path it’s his mother.
After a month or so in his hometown, Skip finds a job teaching history at his old high school. Only over the past decade, his high school has changed. Boasting a gay straight alliance, gay children throughout the school, a local chapter of PFLAG to support them, and the new openly gay physics teacher, Skip looks forward to returning to his old alma mater. His only nervousness lies with the new physics teacher, Paul Miller, the one boy that Skip almost kissed in high school. Skip’s biggest high school crush was now his co-worker.
An easy friendship and attraction turns into a date and then another and eventually a tentative relationship with the help of their meddling mothers and nosy friends. But Skip has been hurt before and is afraid of being abandoned again, or worse, hurting Paul in any way. As they spend more and more time together and feelings continue to grow, Skip is forced to figure out what he really wants out of their relationship before he pushes Paul away for good.
A Simple Romance is the first book I’ve read from J.H. Knight and I have to say that I’m pleased with this work. It’s the story of a man who is broken by the one to whom he’d given all of his love and trust. It’s the story of Skip’s way back, of picking up the pieces and trying to find himself again. It’s the story of a man so broken that he finds it hard to trust anybody, much less himself, especially in matters of the heart. But most of all, it’s a story of hope, trust, and finding love when least expected.
I love the characters in this story. This is Skip’s story so we learn the most about him. And his journey of healing in this story is something to behold. He’s vulnerable and broken, but he’s not weak, he’s afraid. He wants to move on, but doesn’t really know how. His hope comes in the form of Paul, who has this carefree air about him. Paul has the patience of a saint. He’s caring and emotionally stable. He’s a subtle healing influence. But most of all, I like his strength. He won’t be used. He’s the perfect balance for Skip if only Skip can realize it.
And where the main characters are fabulous, my favorites are the secondary characters. Skip’s and Paul’s meddling mothers are sneaky and conniving and hilarious. Skip’s best friends Faith and Johnny are the best, most supportive friends anyone can ask for. Johnny cracked me up in just about every scene he was a part of. And finally, Skip’s younger sister, Katie. She is bold and brash and loving and completely, one hundred percent on Skip’s side. The entire cast is amazing.
I enjoyed the plot and subject matter. Delving into the mind and heart of the damage that such a painful betrayal can cause, Skip walked through various stages of grief in his journey of trying to find peace and happiness. And he wasn’t perfect by any means. He sabotaged his own happiness and pushed away the one person who he could find happiness with because he was scared. But the journey to trusting himself is probably my favorite part of this book. Because of Monty’s betrayal, he began to doubt himself. The story is slower paced, but full of emotion and feeling and lots of comic relief when Johnny enters the story. It’s really a great story all around.
I was pleasantly surprised to find such charming, endearing story here, if only because it’s from an author I haven’t read before. If this is the kind of story I have to look forward to from this author, I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
Cover: I love this simple, yet intimate and beautiful cover by Paul Richmond. It’s absolutely perfect for the story within.