The birth of his daughter utterly changed Gavin Wells’ life and all for the good. But when his wife commits suicide while trapped in the grip of post partum depression, everything falls apart. Suddenly Gavin is a single parent struggling with immeasurable grief and trying to raise his little girl the best way he can. But he’s drowning in exhaustion and sadness and feels utterly adrift. Until he meets a desperately ill homeless man called Jared.
Dying of pneumonia on the street isn’t the life Jared planned for himself. He came south to get work and raise some money so he and his son could start over after a house fire destroyed everything they owned. Then the work fell through and after one piece of bad luck followed another, Jared was left without hope. Yet the kindness of Gavin, a stranger, leads him to a warm bed and puts him on the road to recovery. By leaning on one another, both men find the strength to start rebuilding their lives. But finding a happily ever after is never easy and Gavin and Jared will be forced to fight for the people who mean the most to them.
Submerged was a beautifully written, though occasionally uneven story of grief and the power of kindness. The plot is fairly predictable and there are no great surprises. Yet the writing is strong and flows easily. The author has a natural voice that really shines and comes through in a big way. Because the story is so straightforward, there are times when the action loses a bit of its pacing and feels slightly draggy, but these periods don’t last very long.
Gavin and Jared are both strong characters whose pain and grief never feels overwrought or exaggerated. You believe the challenges they’ve endured and you absolutely want them to succeed. They’re such sweet guys and your heart really goes out to them. Both characters are well developed and there is an evenness to their separate evolutions that feels natural. That said, there is a measure of insta-love, but it isn’t over the top and it’s done in such a way to be a great deal more believable than most. As a result, it really doesn’t factor in too heavily and the course of Gavin and Jared’s romance ultimately feels realistic.
The secondary cast is less spectacular. They tend to come off as caricatures — the witchy mother in law, the dangerous boyfriend, and so on. The only secondary character that comes off with any depth is Gavin’s best friend, Heath, but only enough to tell us he’s desperate for love. A fuller development of the additional players would have been appreciated and could have added another layer to the story.
Submerged was a poignant and painful look at trying to pick up the pieces after losing everything. Gavin and Jared are believable and sympathetic characters that really carry every aspect of the story. The writing is strong and adds smooth flowing prose to the overall positives of the books. The story is rather predictable and drags occasionally, but overall Submerged is well done and a must for anyone who has struggled through the hardships of grief and come out stronger on the other side.