Rating: 3.75 stars
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Lachlan Donaghue wakes up in a hospital to learn that the plane he was co-piloting has crashed. Lachlan has no memory of the flight or what caused the crash, and the doctors tell him the memories might not return. All Lachlan knows is that the pilot is dead, along with six others, and that he may have been responsible. The media is in a frenzy, the airline seems to be subtly suggesting the pilots were at fault, and Lachlan is horrified that something he did could have caused this disaster.
When Rory Kendrick hears about the crash and that Lachlan was the co-pilot, all he can think of is going to his former lover. The men broke up 18 months before when Lachlan’s desire to travel and Rory’s love of his farm threw a wrench in their relationship. But Rory can’t stand the idea of Lachlan alone in the midst of this chaos and rushes to his side. When the airline thinks it’s best that Lachlan get out of the public eye while they wait for official findings on the crash, Rory brings Lachlan home with him to recover. There the men are forced to face one another again and deal with the aftermath of their relationship and their continued feelings for one another. Rory wants nothing more than to be with Lachlan, but Lachlan is still devastated from the crash and unsure about the future ahead of him. But no matter what happens, Rory is determined to be there for the man he loves.
Retrograde is the first book in what looks to be a really interesting new series centered around the crash of Flight HA1710. Each book is written by a different author and follows a different aspect of the crash. This one focuses on the co-pilot, Lachlan, and his role in the crash. We jump right into the action with Lachlan waking up to this horror he can’t explain. Everyone wants answers from him, and he wants answers for himself. The idea that he might have done something to cause this accident horrifies him, but he can’t even begin to remember what happened. In the meantime, he is injured and scared and alone. That is until Rory comes to claim him, to take him home and take care of him.
As the story develops, it becomes clear to us that Lachlan led the break up between them and that Rory still has feelings for him. They two had been friends their whole lives, and then lovers, but conflicting needs tore them apart. Rory is determined to be there for Lachlan as he deals with recovering from his injuries and waiting to hear the results of the investigation. The question is whether there is any way to rekindle things between them, especially as Lachlan deals with this crisis. We can really feel Rory’s love for Lachlan and his pain at the way things ended between them. There is no question he would love to get back together with Lachlan, to continue the life they have built together, and I felt like I could understand him well. Lachlan was a bit more of a mystery to me, and I am not sure I fully understand why he ended things, or why those reasons are no longer a stumbling block by the end of the story. I think we would have benefited from more time to understand what caused the break up, and subsequently, what will make it work this time around.
I also was expecting a bit more from investigation side of things. We can really feel Lachlan’s pain as he contemplates the idea that he may be responsible for this loss of life, and I think the potential was there to make this really tense and suspenseful as we await the findings. But the investigation happens all off page and we get periodic updates though things like phone calls and news reports. It took away some of the urgency and intensity about Lachlan’s future and what this all means for him that we might have had if we weren’t so removed from the investigation. Also, Lachlan is still recovering, exhausted, and kind of out of it for a lot of book, and that translates into the story. So I never quite felt like I “got” him as we are kind of following along with his chaotic mind for most of the book. I wanted a bit more clarity to the story and to Lachlan’s feelings than I got.
Despite these issues, I enjoyed this one and am really intrigued by the series. This is a great start and I am looking forward to future installments and focusing on the different characters affected by the plane crash.