Jake is six months out of the army, stateside again and working as a forest ranger, when a streak of light and a crash in the front yard brings him an angel. His guardian angel, in fact. Borrowing a body, Gabriel has come to earth and Jake can finally see him. Despite the supreme weirdness of the situation, Jake accepts it rather quickly.
Gabriel thinks he’s being punished and that’s why he’s on earth now. He did something very bad, all in the name of his love for Jake, and since he’s not supposed to love his charge, he thinks that he’s having to do penance. As the two men grow closer, Gabriel helps Jake admit things that Jake would rather not acknowledge. He’s gay, though he’d denied it for years. Gabriel’s wide eyed innocence, coupled with his sarcastic sense of humor, awakens a longing in Jake. But Jake doesn’t want to fall in love. He knows Gabriel has to go back to heaven, and that he can’t keep the body he has.
When Jake’s best friend, Jonathan, from the army comes for a visit, it seems like, perhaps, they could act on the attraction that led to Jake’s freak out and bad behavior while they were stationed together. But the truth is that Jake has fallen in love with Gabriel, and though he does act on his feelings with Jono, it’s hollow and empty. What he doesn’t want is for Gabriel to leave, and when it’s time for the angel to return, Jake is left more bereft and lost than he ever was before. There is no way for them to stay together, and Jake knows it. Until an accident just might make it possible.
I’m not sure I can even put into words why I loved this book. Because I really did, from start to finish. The writing was fantastic. It was funny and thoughtful and flowed really well. I loved the characters and the way Jake, our narrator, viewed the world. I loved going on this journey with him. But I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly why I adored it. When I was done, though, I gave that happy sigh of a book well done.
I’m going to start with Gabriel because this guy, oh man you guys, he was awesome. Funny, snarky, sarcastic, and with a wonderful, beautiful heart underneath. He’s an angel, and there was some kind of pull he exerted over me as well. I just loved him and the way he viewed the world, and he had me engaged just as deeply as he did Jake. I loved the way Wiltshire portrayed him. We got an awesome sense of who he was and his motivation. And truly, he was just a sweetheart.
And Jake? My heart ached for him, and for the way he was denying his true self. We get the entire story from his POV and we get to be privy to his thoughts as he works out what he feels and what he wants. Yes, Gabriel awakens something in him, but he works it out on his own, accepting himself in the process. I didn’t know how the author was going to work it out in the end. How does one end up with an angel? But I have to say that I was satisfied with the conclusion, even if it seemed a little pat.
This book is written as if Jake is telling the story directly to the reader, and I think it worked really well here. It had me grinning and it had my emotions swirling. I felt like I was there, following along as Jake recounted the tale, seeing it so clearly in my head. I even liked how, occasionally, a statement showed that Jake was reflecting back on what had happened.
Guys, this is a sweet tale of self-acceptance with humor, emotion, and some heartbreak all worked in. I really enjoyed this book and absolutely recommend it to you.