Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Something Like Autumn is the third book in Jay Bell’s Seasons series and contains spoilers for the first two books, Something Like Summer and Something Like Winter. It is my opinion that Something Like Autumn can be read as a standalone novel, but to achieve the full effect, I suggest reading the books in order. Something Like Autumn follows the life of Jace Holden from his teenage years, to his first love, his time at college, his job as a flight attendant, and ultimately his marriage.
Moments after hitting the water, Jace Holden regretted his decision to kill himself. Salvation came in the form of Bernie, a local businessman and fisherman who was in the right place at the right time. Counseled by Bernie and offered a part-time job to keep him out of trouble, Jace realizes that life is worth living. The last thing Jace expects while at work is for a werewolf to walk through the door, but once the mask comes off, Jace is captivated by the young man and free spirit that is Victor.
Jace fears losing family and friends, and yet coming out is anti-climactic. His mom’s love and sister’s support is comforting. Even his best friend Greg, for all of his homophobic comments, is OK with Jace being gay. Victor is the only person apart from Jace’s family and Bernie to know he is gay and the two young men forge a bond and soon become intimate.
Jace is desperate to leave Warrensburg for places unknown, and wants Victor to go with him. Victor, on the other hand, wants Jace to stay in town and attend the State college so that they can be together and Victor makes it clear that he will not leave his mother. Angry at Victor for giving up on them, Jace decides on Houston for his post-secondary school.
Houston & Warrensburg 1995
Now in college, Jace is living with boyfriend Adrian, the polar opposite of Victor in every way. Jace has moved on and built a life while Victor is frozen in time, chained to Warrensburg, to his mother, and to his guilt. For Jace and Adrien, the shadow of Victor, the one that got away, haunts their relationship and eventually ends it. Victor has many issues and is falling apart emotionally. As much as he cares for Victor, for his own self-preservation, Jace needs to walk away. Yet the guilt of leaving Victor behind weighs on Jace, especially when things take a devastating turn for his former lover.
On a flight at Christmas, Jace spies a cute passenger asleep on the plane. The drool only increases the young man’s appeal. Convincing Ben to ask him out was the easy part, now Jace needs to let go of the feelings of desperation and drive to have the perfect relationship. Trials and tribulations follow the men for the next five years as they figure out their lives together. With Jace’s work taking him away for days on end and Ben’s schooling and insecurities, things are sometimes a challenge for the men, especially when Ben’s former boyfriend shows back up in their lives. But Jace and Ben finally settle down, and life is really good for the men, and their love is strong. Jace has finally found real happiness, but when his health declines, it may threaten their future together.
What a ride! I was hooked on Something Like Autumn from the first chapter and although it is quite a long novel, the pace and detail was perfect and never left me wanting. Jace was prominent in Something like Summer and had an important part to play in Something Like Winter, but what we did not get from the other books is his driving force, his motivation.
Since Jace always appeared to be bit of a people-pleaser, we finally get to see the “why” behind the man. Why is Jace willing to do what is necessary to please others, setting his own needs aside, time and time again? Ever the optimist, Jace is looking for his happily ever after and will do everything in his power to achieve it. Jace has fears that he will get attached once again, and that he will lose Ben, just like he lost Victor. Ben, strong, confident Ben, appears to be the one for Jace, the one to banish Victor’s ghost from Jace’s life. Ben is far from perfect, with similar insecurities. Due to his disastrous teenage relationship with Tim Wyman, Ben continuously tests the limits of Jace’s commitment to him.
Speaking of Tim, what is the story of Jace and Ben without our old friend Tim attempting to woo Ben away from Jace by any means necessary? Jace’s behavior during this tumultuous time demonstrates Jace’s hidden insecurity and how he deals with it rearing its head time and time again.
Considering we are intimately familiar with most of the secondary characters, assuming we have read the books in order, the introduction of Greg, Jace’s best friend was a welcome addition to the gang. Greg’s character had a few purposes, such as being the primary anchor to Jace’s hometown of Warrensburg, and as a final tie to his lost love, Victor. Greg also provided a sense of continuity to the story and was a very well crafted, multi-dimensional individual, reminiscent of Ben’s best friend, Allison. That is not to say that the other secondary characters were not well formed, far from it! Bell made every character unique and believable, and wove their appearances into the book seamlessly.
Bell is seriously brilliant at re-telling a story from the opposite POV. Each time I read a Seasons book, I am given additional information about events and individuals that increase the detail and realism of the world we are visiting. That being said, even though we are experiencing the same scenes from a different POV, the added information, perspective, and emotion make it feel fresh every time. Also, the writing is witty, funny, and flows beautifully. This made Jace’s story captivating, making it hard to put the book down at times, especially at the end. This is my favorite book of the series by far and I highly recommend Something Like Autumn. Heck, I highly recommend the entire Seasons series.