Henry teaches a high school history class at the museum. His teaching style is unique and always draws his students’ interest. Henry loves his job, but this year, a charismatic young man is in his class and Henry finds himself drawn to him.
Ruben is that young man. He feels himself drawn to Henry as well, but he knows nothing can happen between them because he’s not of age. However, on graduation day, Ruben lets Henry know he’ll be back to see him after the summer…and after his birthday.
Return he does, and Ruben and Henry spend a life changing weekend together. It’s intense, and they’re both overwhelmed by it. Ruben, though, is particularly frightened by the deep feelings it creates.
What follows is an odyssey of sorts for both men. Ruben is off to college where he makes friends, meets, dates (and other things) other men until he finally has an epiphany about Henry and what he has to do about it. Henry begins to write a series of articles for a magazine about the weekend, not mentioning Ruben by name. He shares his joy and pain with the world by becoming famous.
Ruben takes it upon himself to find Henry and reunite with him. He knows they share a deep and true love, no matter the age difference. There are a lot of obstacles in the way, but that isn’t going to stop him from holding his Henry in his arms again.
The first thing I’m going to tell you is, when you sit down to read Everyday History, bring a box of tissues. This amazing story is chock full of emotion. In fact, every now and then, I was overcome and had to back away for a few minutes. I always came back, though, because I was so in love with Ruben and Henry, and I had to be with them when their Happily Every After finally happened.
I’ve never read anything like this book. Sure, I’ve read tons of student/teacher stories, but they have all been lighter fare. This was a beautifully written journey. Alice Archer created a world I got lost in. Everything was perfectly detailed. I could see EVERYTHING…from Henry’s apartment, to the snow on the ground, and all the places in between.
I wasn’t expecting something so…heavy, but I was not disappointed. I mentioned I fell in love with Ruben and Henry. That is not an exaggeration. From page one, I was emotionally invested. In fact, I have been sitting here trying to find the words to describe what was going on in my head and heart as I read. These men took my breath away.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Truly, you have to read this book to fully appreciate it. I’ll say Ruben, Henry, and all the other characters were well fleshed out. We get their back stories in a satisfying fashion. Of course, the main focus is the men and their relationship. However, everyone involved in their lives have a specific role to play. They’re not intrusive, though. Each player fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, from Ruben’s friends and family, to Henry’s smarmy agent.
So much happens to Ruben and Henry while they’re on the road to love and happiness. Henry travels the world writing his articles and hosting a television show. He’s famous, but he’s not feeing the joy he should be. He feels incomplete, and I understood that. I sympathized and ached with/for him. Ruben, being young, needed to explore his sexuality and personality. In fact, both men were doing some sexual exploring. I was a little uncomfortable with that. He and Henry weren’t a couple per se, but it felt like Ruben was cheating on him. It’s a personal quirk. Once I know two characters will be a couple, especially after a sexual encounter, I want them to remain faithful. I understand what Archer was trying to convey, and that made it a little easier to deal with.
I was so impressed with Ruben’s tenacity. Once it dawned on him he loved and needed Henry, he didn’t let go, even when things appeared bleak. One email shakes him to the core, but he pressed on. Meanwhile, I really plunged into Henry’s despair along with him. His loneliness touched me because I know lonely. It can completely incapacitate a person, and that radiated from Henry.
At times, the angst was overwhelming. I found myself sobbing…damn near wailing. There was just so much pain! I’d been sending messages to another woman who’d already read the story, and she encouraged me to press on…that it was worth the agony. She was so right! My miserable sobs turned into joyous ones. Relief overtook me, and I felt as if 500 pounds had been lifted from my shoulders.
Now…a little about the sex. It was beautiful. Hot? Yes! But even the first time with Ruben and Henry, there was something else there. It was also sweet, romantic, and tender. There was almost a desperation about it. Archer has a way with words, and with sex. I was impressed, aroused, and inspired.
I don’t through five stars around very easily. I can almost always find something that just doesn’t propel me to call a book perfect. Everyday History is absolutely perfect. I mean that with all my heart, and I insist you read it. You won’t be sorry.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.