Rating: 3.75 stars
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When Joshua Golden received word that his mother was having surgery and he was needed to help run the family restaurant, of course he went. His family needed him. Two weeks in NYC to take care of the business while his mother is recovering can’t be that bad. Then he can fly back to his life in Paris. But he hasn’t been home in a decade, running and hiding from ghosts of his past. One in particular – Micah Soloman.
Micah was Josh’s childhood best friend, and eventually the lover that broke his heart. Essentially, Micah was the reason Josh left home for Europe, only to return when there’s an emergency. For the past ten years, Josh has done everything in his power to forget about the man that broke his heart. And he was fairly certain he’d succeeded until he walked into his parent’s house and came face to face with Micah.
Micah’s past is riddled with mistakes, the biggest being prison for drug possession, but he’s now raising his ten year-old son and helping take care of Josh’s parents. And worst of all he’ll be working with Josh as an assistant at the restaurant while Josh is in town. Josh has a hard time reconciling the Micah he knew ten years ago with the changed man before him. And as they work together to keep the family restaurant running and taking care of his ailing parents, Josh finds it hard to hate Micah as much as he wants to.
As the end of his time at home looms nearer and Josh learns more about Micah and his past, Josh begins to question the choices he made. Now he has to decide whether to keep running away from his pain, or to hope for the best and run towards the man who hurt him in the first place.
Lighting the Way Home is part of the Delectable series and a collaborative effort of both E.M. Lynley and Shira Anthony, and judging from this book, these authors mesh very well. While this book is part of a series, it is written as a standalone novel, so the books can be read in any order.
I really liked this book. I had a couple issues with the story, but overall it was a good read. It’s a friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers type of story. It’s a story of misunderstandings and reconciliation. It’s full of conflict and confusion and longing that takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster ride. But it’s worth it.
I didn’t really like Josh at the beginning. He played the victim well and took it out on everybody around him, including his parents. He let his past hurts dictate what he became, and he became a self-absorbed arrogant jerk. Honestly, I didn’t really start liking Josh until I was well over halfway through the book. He had his moments; he wasn’t all bad, but he’s easier to handle towards the end of the book. This story is Josh’s journey of maturing and forgiveness. He is an immature, self-serving character, but that only adds conflict to this story that was well worth the brattiness. And in the end, he becomes a better man, more humble (not completely humble), more understanding, more supportive. I really liked him by the completion of this book.
Micah is one of the highlights of this tale. I’m disappointed that the story was only written in Josh’s viewpoint. I think it would have made a world of difference to combine both Josh and Micah’s points of view. Alas, that did not happen. But I still love Micah. He’s patient and kind and caring. He’s incredibly nurturing, forgiving, and self-sacrificing. He’s a great friend, a wonderful father, and an incredible person all around. He doesn’t let his past mistakes (and he has plenty) define him. He’s the imperfect, yet perfect hero of this story.
The religious aspect of this book is beautiful. I don’t know a lot about Jewish culture and traditions, but the way the authors brought it to the forefront was amazing. Chanukah, mitzvah, the shul, Mi Sheberach, the Jewish community – it’s all so well written, respectful and awe-inspiring. I really enjoyed the inclusion of religion and tradition in this story.
I found this collaboration refreshing. These authors have similar writing styles and write well together. I enjoyed the plot, as emotional and frustrating as it could be at times. The story itself is entertaining. There are ups and downs – luckily no crying with this one – twists and turns. And everything in Josh and Micah’s life is not always as it seems, it’s heartbreaking and exhilarating and frustrating and sweet all at the same time.
My biggest complaint is the ending. It just ended. Could I at least get a verdict? Please? There’s this build up leading to the final scene, but it just ends. No answers, no closure to that part of the plot, nothing. After such an emotional rollercoaster, I really wanted some sort of completion, some redemption, but…nothing? It was very frustrating.
In the end, even with the abrupt ending, I really liked this book. What can I say? I’m a sucker for emotional stories with imperfect characters. I also have pretty much loved everything I’ve read by both of these authors in the past. This is a series that I am really enjoying. I recommend this book to lovers of reconciliation stories, enemies-to-lovers stories, lovers of family focused tales, and lovers of imperfect heroes.
Note: As a bonus, the authors have included several recipes mentioned in the story at the end of the book. I’m going to make the heck out of some latkes. *grins*