Over five years ago, Henry Miller-Greene’s plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, throwing wide open the gates to hell for both him and his husband, Sam. Every day was a challenge for survival for Henry; for Sam, it was a fight to stay emotionally afloat. A rookie droid operator lead to a reunion, but it was bittersweet because Sam had finally come to terms with the alleged death of his husband and thought he was ready to move on.
Now, a few months later, things have calmed down somewhat. The couple is still in the news as they fight to adopt Buddy, a baby Henry saved when the plane crashed and who grew up on that tiny deserted island with Henry. Questions abound as to the nature of the relationship between foster father and foster son—questions exacerbated by the uninformed who cannot fathom the dire circumstances Henry and the others had to endure. Both Henry and Sam are dismayed to discover Buddy’s surviving extended biological family are also sympathetic to the headlines, albeit for the right reasons—trying to protect an innocent little boy from the vicious rumor mill that may follow him all his life.
On a separate front, Sam has been stewing over some information his father gave him—namely that Henry had been the one to propose to Sam and Sam had “wavered” before replying. In light of the fact that it had been Sam who proposed to his second partner, Sam has to find a way to prove that his first love is still his true love, despite appearances.
With the public eye scrutinizing the couple, their every action and non-action blown out of proportion by the media, and the emotional questions that niggle despite clear choices having been made, the Miller-Greene reunion has been tough. Yet Sam manages to find the perfect way to reinforce his relationship with both Henry and Buddy, leaving their family even stronger than before.
So this little blurb of a story (Amazon lists 50 pages, but it felt shorter) doesn’t feel like much of a sequel to ‘Til Death Do Us Part to me, but rather more like the epilogue that should have closed the original book. With that in mind, please note this is not going to be very fulfilling if anyone tries to read it as a stand-alone. I remember one of my biggest gripes about the main story is how haphazard the resolution is between the accidental love triangle, so I definitely liked how this follow-up touches on Henry’s insecurities about his proposal to Sam versus Sam’s proposal to Nash. The actual words-on-page angst that stems from this is light, which is a bit of a disappointment, but the last several pages are dedicated to the Grand Gesture meant to reinforce Henry and Sam’s relationship, so that was good.
While normally I get very into social issues, not the least of which are gender-related ones, I will say that I wasn’t very impressed with the right-wing nut job that stirs shit up in the book. It’s not a very personal account, just some blowhard mansplainer who obviously knows everything about anything because he is a Man, but in his hyper-heteronormative Maniverse, this means he can fight Henry for custody because Reasons. I cannot roll my eyes hard enough at that tripe. And of course likeminded talking heads/media outlets start raising Cain over the whole scenario. While I completely sympathize with this facet of the story, it kind fell a bit flat for me. Better I liked the scenes that showed how completely Henry, Sam, and Buddy had developed into a family unit and how the addition to the family hadn’t come between the two husbands, but brought them more together. I thought there would be more to explore on that front, but it didn’t come in this story.
Given the timing of the events—just a few months after the main story closed—this does feel more like an epilogue than a true side story, like I commented above. Nevertheless, it does address some significant questions I felt got left open. Sam was the one who wanted a child and Henry comes miraculously home with a child, but would they really be able to form a family unit? Same sex couples adopting a child isn’t unusual, but what kind of fall-out would there be from such a high-profile person trying to adopt? Sam and Henry are OTP up one side and down the other…but you never quite forget that Sam had said his goodbyes because he thought Henry was dead, so how are they able to reaffirm their OTP-ness? If you’ve read the main story, this will tie up a few loose ends and give you a mostly sweet look into the Miller-Greene’s lives post-catastrophe.