Endings and beginnings are the overreaching theme for Jay Northcote’s latest novel, Passing Through. But lying beneath this seeming simple narrative is the real caution to live life to it’s fullest rather than chasing an empty dream or career that leaves you barely alive.
Leo has come home to the seaside in Cornwall to see his beloved Uncle Edwin one last time. Edwin is terminally ill with cancer and has very little time left. Living on the premises in the badly dilapidated barn cottage property is a landscape designer, Tris. Tris has a failed marriage under his belt after living for years as a closeted man. While still not fully out to either his young son or his parents, Tris is close to making that decision when he meets Leo. Sparks fly and a slow building relationship takes root. But Leo is bound to return to London and a job that barely leaves him enough time to breathe. Can he take the risk and leave all that has made him successful for a life of financial uncertainty and a possible future with Tris?
The sensuous and passionate love affair between Tris and Leo is the key point in this swift moving novella. While there was not a great deal of expansion on who either of these men were in their pasts, one still got a good sense of what motivated each of them and how they were ready to potentially plunge head first into a love affair that could leave them either lost and alone or happily together in the end. Passing Through focused a great deal on past regret and risky futures. With Edwin viewing the building emotions between Leo and Tris, his own personal reveal about his past was both poignant and cautionary. This tender sharing of a bygone era would prove to be the impetus Leo could use to finally break free of a life that held little joy for him and exchange it for one that could possibly afford him the happiness he had so often craved.
Jay Northcote takes a simple love story and builds it into a gorgeous promise of hope and tenderness. Perhaps my only negative comment is not really a negative at all, but a desire for more development of both Leo and Tris. I felt we really got so much about Edwin and his past that it made me hungry to know that and more about Tris and Leo. In this regard, the novella felt a bit unfinished and lacking. However, overall this was a most tender love story and a gorgeous relationship set in an almost idyllic setting and well worth the read.