I’m sorry, but I must unashamedly gush for just a moment about this latest novel, Their Life As They Live It, the fourth installment in the Perspectives series by A.M. Arthur. I think it is by far one of the best in the group. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fact that the story focuses on an established older couple who are at the place in their lives where every illness could be a fatal one, or if it’s because the way in which these two men, Bear and Richard, so obviously love each other and managed to do so through some horribly hurtful times, but the chemistry that the author creates between her two men is undeniable and simply marvelous.
This novel focuses on the two Dads of Gabriel, one of the men featured in the second Perspectives story, The World as He Sees It. Richard is HIV positive and has been since their college days, back when Bear was dating girls and met the original she-devil, Debbie, Gabriel’s horrid drunken mother. The story traces their lives together and all they endured to become the family they are today. The action is poignant, compelling, and moves fluidly from past to present and had me on the edge of my seat and tearing through the material like a madwoman.
Told from Bear’s perspective, he recalls the highlights and dark times, from the time he and Richard met until the present day. Richard has contracted not one, but two virulent strains of pneumonia and for an HIV person this could prove to be deadly. As Bear tries to remain positive, he finds himself remembering their lives together while he sits by Richard’s hospital bed, praying that his husband survives. At times, this story is brutal to read for Bear endures much as he clings to the fact that one day he will be able to have Richard by his side and Gabriel with them if only he can endure the time he must spend with Debbie in order to build a case against her so he can get custody of their little son, Gabriel. From enduring physical abuse by a drunken wife, to being blackmailed into having sex with her, Bear tries to stay afloat in dangerous waters and keep little Gabriel safe as well. Through it all, Richard stands by Bear, loving and supporting him and waiting for him to be free from a vile, lifeless marriage that is threatening to consume him.
These two men together were simply magical. They made me smile—warmed my heart and had me wanting to leap into the page and slap Debbie silly more than once. I was hooked from the get go of this story and can honestly say that I could not put it down until I read the last page. I just loved this book. If you have never read A.M. Arthur’s Perspective series I would encourage you to do so; while this one could be read as a standalone, it really is so much better as part of the series. Either way, I highly recommend it to you.