At the young ages of five and six, Nathan and Sean bonded over ice cream and have been inseparable ever since. As their teen years approached, they fell in love and then bought their first house together. Life was perfect until tragedy struck and Sean was left alone as only half a person without Nathan.
Jesse has been sick all of his life due to congenital heart disease. When Nathan’s death gives him a chance at life with a new heart, it also brings Sean into his life and a chance at love. But Sean is not ready to move on and may never be. While Nathan’s heart beats in Jesse’s chest, he will never be Nathan and Sean may never be able to move on to give them a real chance.
When Fate Falls Short is part of Dreamspinner’s Bittersweet Dreams series where a HEA is not guaranteed. I chose this book because of that and I’m good with that aspect as some stories are simply tragic. However, this story is mostly all bitter with very little sweet.
The story is told in third person, which for a supposed emotional story left me feeling far removed from the characters. The story spans 20 years in rapid succession from when Nathan and Sean are children until they are in their twenties. Every few pages moves the story along in time jumps and little is actually shown of them falling in love. At one point, when the guys are in high school and Nathan is making hot cocoa in a manner that was not characteristic of a high school boy, and this was what I was focused on, I knew I was in trouble with the storyline.
We get to know Nathan better through his death than through his life and while those scenes were the most emotional of the book, I was not emotionally connected to him at all. We had only been given a list of specific incidents throughout the years and it was all logical and not emotional. We then get Jesse’s story. He gets Nathan’s heart, which puts him in Sean’s orbit and which had all the makings of a great story. But sadly that was not to be.
Sean and Jesse become friends and while there is attraction, Sean cannot get over Nathan. Given their relationship, this made sense, but there was no part of his life that he could move on with. So much so that while attempting to have a relationship with Jesse he’s not even nice to him and I could not figure out why Jesse was staying around. Again, it was all far removed and lacked emotion.
There was also an emphasis on two side characters that may have been having a relationship, but it wasn’t defined or explored at all, which left me wondering why it was there at all.
The ending does what this imprint states that it will and does not offer a happy ending for the couple, but no one is left happy and there was only grief and that grief lacked impact. I don’t know who to recommend this book to. It’s definitely not for those that want a traditional happy ending and it also wouldn’t be my recommendation for an emotional tragedy either.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.