Marcus Townsend is in a holding pattern. He was a solider until an IED took away his career, as well as his vision. Now he is jobless, in pain, and struggling to make a new life for himself. When Marcus learns of a doctor who might be able to help with his vision, he’s ready to take the risk, even if it means crossing the country. Marcus knows he can no longer handle the idea of a plane trip but he can’t drive himself either. That’s when Fate steps in and he crosses paths with Rye Bellamy.
Rye has been a prostitute for as long as he can remember. It isn’t work that he likes, but he is good at it. His pimp has begun pressuring him to compromise his beliefs and, while Rye might be a prostitute, he has morals and he decides to go out on his own.
When Rye and Marcus meet, their connection is immediate and powerful. Rye agrees to be Marcus’ driver and the two men begin the long journey towards Atlanta and the doctor who might save Marcus’ vision. With miles to go, Rye and Marcus learn that second chances in life and love can happen in the midst of the most amazing adventures.
Taking the Long Way is the story of two men who want a new start and end up finding true love along the way. The book is well written and the author does a good job of capturing the exhilaration and exhaustion of a great road trip. I drive wherever I go and loathe flying, so I could really relate to the wanderlust that takes over when you’re on a long road trip and how emotionally freeing it can be. Unfortunately, the book had some pacing issues and tended to drag at times and then ended so quickly as to leave me feeling a bit unsatisfied. A solid thirty to fifty pages could have been condensed or culled and left the story intact and tighter.
Marcus and Rye are intriguing characters and it’s easy to root for both of them. Neither is a coward and each tends to face challenges head on, which is admirable. But neither character is given much depth. They aren’t caricatures, but nor do they seem fully dimensional. They seem to exist in the here and now without casting a wider shadow. So while their actions don’t necessarily read as unrealistic, nor do they seem reflective of the characters and their experiences. They work well together as a couple and their arguments stem from classic problems with communication and situation. So while this was not an especially original couple, they were very relatable and certainly possessed a charming sweetness.
My biggest issue with Taking the Long Way was the timeframe used to both establish and escalate the relationship between Rye and Marcus. Their journey is weeklong and in that time they go from absolute strangers to in love. The depth of their feelings for one another is improbable given the short amount of time they’ve known one another, especially when one considers they spend most of the trip either fighting or giving one another the sex business. Marcus has never self-identified as gay or bisexual, but he seems altogether nonplussed by his sudden attraction to Rye. That he loves Rye I can believe, but that he does so without even an iota of soul searching or surprise at a potentially life changing piece of self realization, strains the limits of credibility. I generally have a hard time buying into the concept of love at first sight or the instant connection that catapults a couple to love. Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I’ve read my fair share of books where the author makes this particular trope work. But in Taking the Long Way, while I liked Marcus and Rye as a couple, I never really believed in the reality of their relationship. It just didn’t tell ring true.
Overall Taking the Long Way is a rather sweet, ordinary romance between two men from different worlds. And that isn’t always a bad thing. While I struggled to embrace the fast forward nature of their love affair, I did appreciate the chemistry that existed between Rye and Marcus and their desire for a second chance. If you enjoy road trips and the evolution of strangers to lovers, then Taking the Long Way might be for you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.