Landon just wanted to go get gyros with his fiancé, Dylan. The guys always have the best time together and although Landon is hesitant, Dylan convinces him to take a shortcut through an alley. But in the alley is a group of hostile men, an ambush, a pipe, and when Landon goes down, he doesn’t get back up.
Dylan is coming apart. Seeing Landon in the hospital bandaged and not moving is too much for him as he blames himself. The guys have a strong network of family and friends, but life will never be the same. Their love is strong, but it has to be strong enough to withstand the physical scars, emotional trauma, and lengthy recovery to move forward and reclaim their life.
This book hurts. That is really the only way to describe it and author Becca Burton weaves a moving tale of love, tragedy, loss, and hope. The story opens with Landon in the hospital and it is immediate and intense. Dylan can’t process anything and he desperately clings to the basics of what he knows:
Landon is in the hospital.
Landon’s brain is swelling.
Landon’s skull is in his abdomen.
Landon’s blood pressure isn’t regulating itself as it should be.
Landon can’t even breathe on his own.
Landon might die.
This book is all about Landon’s injury and attempts at recovery. We are offered a few flashbacks along the way that detail how the men met and we are able to see them interact prior to the attack. They have a strong and loving relationship and Dylan sees Landon as, “happy and adorable and free,” and while life isn’t perfect, it’s perfect for them as being together is all they need.
For the first portion, Landon is in a coma and the author provides us with a brief point of view for just about every character that appears on page. For the first portion, this went a long way to getting into every characters’ take on the situation from siblings, parents, and Landon’s eventual therapist. The shifts in points of view were clear and concise, but further into the book I would have liked to have seen more of Dylan and Landon. There are only glimpses offered of Dylan and Landon in better days and I would have liked to have seen more of that to balance out the detail of the trauma and recovery to get a better sense of them as a day to day couple.
The book deals with Dylan’s guilt over the attack and Landon feeling that he will never be good enough again for Dylan, but it was not gone into too much detail and I would have again liked to have seen them interact in more depth somewhere along the way.
The writing is soft and descriptive and there is only a glimpse of on page violence. When we see the guys in flashbacks, the scenes are emotional and loving, without any on page intimacy, and illustrate the wonder they felt even after having been together for years.
Burton’s craft as a talented writer is clearly on display throughout the book. The book is also appropriately titled and the story does offer a true love song, a love story of never giving up and standing by the one you love.