After a horrific act of violence took his parents and destroyed his innocence, Blake retreated from the world. Now an adult, Blake lives behind locked doors and interacts only with his bodyguard, a housekeeper, and his uncle. He life is regimented and, with the help of his medications and his online therapist, he is able to cope. As long as he doesn’t have to leave his house or manage any meaningful human interaction.
When his bodyguard retires, a trio of guards takes over protecting Blake and they just happen to be in a relationship. CJ, Rex, and Malcolm are committed to keeping Blake safe, but they can’t help wanting a better life for him, one free of fear and loneliness. As the men draw Blake out of his shell, the nature of their relationship begins to change. The professional lines are blurring and Blake will have to decide if he is willing to risk his fragile existence for the love of three good men.
So the first thing you have to do with Safe Haven is suspend disbelief. So much of what happens in this book is beyond absurd and if you focus too hard, you won’t be able to find much enjoyment. Once I just accepted that the plot and the relationship aspects were utterly ridiculous, I could find a bit of fun. The most unbelievable aspect of the book is Blake’s rapid recovery once he meets his new bodyguards. While love can do wonders, Blake, CJ, Malcolm, and Rex fall in love almost immediately. Blake goes from agoraphobic and unable to sustain touch to being ready to dump his meds and commit to a long-term polyamorous relationship in the blink of an eye.
I found this aspect of speedy healing to be particularly frustrating because until this point, Blake felt like a very believable character. Trapped by fear, he has lived his life almost entirely alone. His isolation and desperate misery really translate and you can’t help connecting with him. We see how broken he is and there are moments when it seems shocking that he has survived as long as he has. So when he gets his happily ever after, no matter how silly it seems, we’re happy for him. He is a deeply layered and complex character and the author did an excellent job of portraying the breadth of his isolation.
Unfortunately CJ, Rex, and Malcolm were just the opposite. They were utterly flat and uninvolved characters. Given their importance to the story, they barely exist on the page. They have no individuality and almost no depth. Like Blake, they seem to jump into the idea of a relationship almost immediately and, as a result, I never really believable the romantic aspects of Safe Haven. As a group, they seem to exist only construct and never develop more fully beyond this.
This was a book with definite potential, but with flat characters and a plot line that moved far too rapidly for realism, Safe Haven falls flat. Blake is engaging and emotive, but CJ, Rex, and Malcolm never even come close to being fully formed characters. Blake is certainly interesting enough to draw most readers in, but he’s pretty much the only thing propping Safe Haven up.