Rating: 4 stars
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Josh Donald is headed for a week-long trip to a camp retreat with his best friends, Mario and Greg. After losing his sight eight months before in a kayaking accident, Josh still hasn’t totally recovered emotionally, especially when combined with his boyfriend dumping him after the accident. Some time away at a camp with others who are blind or with sight impairments seems like a great chance to have some fun, rejuvenate, and get some perspective.
At the camp Josh meets Charlie Cooper, the camp director. Charlie is losing his sight due to recurring cataracts, and he too is still emotionally raw from a bad breakup. Dealing with the reality that he might lose his sight for good is hard for Charlie, despite working with other people who are blind, and he is not sure he is good relationship material. But he and Josh are drawn to each other right away, and they get a lot of help along the way from friends and family who would love to see both men happy. But Charlie isn’t sure he is strong enough to be there for Josh and worries he is not going to be enough for him, especially if he loses his sight fully. And just as the men are starting to build something together, an accident throws even more problems between them. The men must trust in each other and share their feelings to make a relationship work.
So this was sort of a sweet, mushy story with two likable characters who you really want to root for. Both men are dealing with physical challenges, and both are still wounded emotionally from past boyfriends who treated them badly upon their loss of sight. At the same time, they are both strong and independent guys who are warm and friendly. This is especially true of Josh, who is just months into a tragic accident and a life changing ordeal. It has taken him a long time to get out of his funk, but he is now fun and open and doesn’t back down from what he wants. I found him really likeable and enjoyed the guys’ love and mushiness.
That said, be prepared for some instalove and a bit of over the top romance. I mean, the guys know each other days before they are in love. For some reason this didn’t bother me though. I guess sometimes you are in the mood for sweet and sappy and this one hit just the right spot for me. So if instalove makes you crazy, this might bug you, but for me it worked just fine.
This book did hit two of my pet peeves though. The first is the meddling friends and family. So from minute one, the second they see a hot, age appropriate gay man at the camp, Charlie’s friends and family are matchmaking. Like overtly and clearly trying to set these guys up. I mean, even Charlie’s mother gets in on the act, trying to sell Josh on how wonderful her son is. This is how she describes him:
“Well, I know I’m his mother, so I’m a little biased, but he’s real pretty.” Sharon’s small hand warmed Josh’s skin through his thin shirt as she cozied up next to him. “Big green eyes, eyelashes to die for, blond hair, and he has these freckles… everywhere.” The last word was a stage whisper with extra emphasis.
Um, ok. Gross. I am sorry, but no mother should be alluding to all the secret sexy places her son has freckles. She is not his pimp. Not to mention Josh is a paying client and they are all basically sexually harassing him. It all just seemed so weird and over the top that these people are so pushy and invested in getting Charlie laid. We also get that major best friend pushiness, the “because I am your friend you need to tell me every intimate thought or action that happens in your life” stuff that makes me a little nuts. I could sort of get the hyper-protectiveness from Mario and Greg given that Josh is still recovering physically and emotionally and they are the ones who have been nursing him along. But Charlie’s friends and family, especially his best friend Maggie, just annoyed me with their pushiness and meddling.
My other problem is a common one in romance novels but still bugs me. It is when one character unilaterally makes a decision that is supposedly for the good of both of them, without talking to or discussing it with his partner. And of course, it is always a terrible decision that leads to a devastating conflict, before the characters finally talk to each other and work things out. And the one here was a doozy and I just wanted to shake Charlie for being such an idiot.
My issues aside, I did like this one quite a lot. And if these aren’t your issues, you will probably enjoy it even more. Not perfect, but there is a lot that works here. When you want something warm and sweet and a little inspiring, this is an enjoyable story and one I really liked.
Cover Note: I really like this one. It captures the setting and feel of the book well, and sort of evokes one of the key scenes. Plus, it is awfully pretty looking.